D-Day for ASDA deal

PUBLISHED: 01:01 31 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 June 2010

EAST Devon District Council s ruling group will next week be asked to recommend that the council gives developers up to 15 months to draw up detailed proposals to build an ASDA supermarket on the bus station and lorry park site at Exmouth. A report from C

EAST Devon District Council's ruling group will next week be asked to recommend that the council gives developers up to 15 months to draw up detailed proposals to build an ASDA supermarket on the bus station and lorry park site at Exmouth.A report from Councillor Peter Halse, portfolio holder economy, will suggest to a meeting of the executive board that council land-owners should enter into an "exclusivity agreement" to work with ASM Properties to develop the store and associated community facilities on the site. A council spokesman said this would give the developers the confidence to invest in the expensive process of preparation and submission of a planning application, negotiations with other landowners and those with other legal interests in the site, commissioning of various reports, surveys and so on.Agreement would give the green light for the first phase of the town's long-awaited regeneration to move forward, he said. Among the additional facilities that Exmouth stands to gain from this partnership are:l A new retail store in or near the town centrel A new sports centre and swimming pool - built before the supermarketl A new 12,500 square foot libraryl A possible interpretation centre as the forerunner to the proposed visitor centrel A greatly improved public transport facilityl Housing in the form of 27 two-bedroom flatsl Two retail units for shopping or cafe use.The report states: "On December 10, 2007, four developers put forward their proposals to a panel of councillors for the delivery of a supermarket scheme in Exmouth. "All district council members for Exmouth were invited, together with three Exmouth town councillors, officers from Devon County Council, Exmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council. "The aim of the meeting was to give the portfolio holder a steer on how the council, in its capacity as majority land owner, would like its officers to proceed in bringing forward a scheme that would feed into a new blueprint for the town."The members spent two days examining four sets of proposals from different development companies; four different sites were considered and, after rigorous debate, the members confirmed their desire to provide for a retail offer in the town centre that can compete effectively against out-of-town centre retail stores. "It was unanimously agreed that they wished for a supermarket to be delivered on the bus station/lorry park site as the first stage in a wider programme of improving the town centre. "The bus station is owned by Devon County Council and leased to Stagecoach. It is understood that ASDA own the benefit of an option agreement on this lease and therefore have a controlling interest in the site."The report continues: "The members were impressed with the overall package presented by ASM Properties Limited (ASM) and ASDA, and a clear steer has been given to the economy portfolio holder that members wish the council to work with ASM as the preferred development partner."It is proposed that EDDC enter into a simple exclusivity agreement with ASM, acknowledging that EDDC has appointed ASM as its preferred development partner for the site. "The agreement period would be for a term of 15 months, during which time the parties would be in continuing discussions with the intention of achieving an acceptable planning consent and entering into relevant development/sale agreements. "As part of this process, ASM would incur significant costs in undertaking various actions, including preparation and submission of a planning application, negotiation with other landowners and those with other legal interests in the site, commissioning of various reports, surveys and so on."In consideration of ASM incurring these costs, EDDC would agree that, during the agreement period, it would not enter into any negotiation with any other party relating to the disposal or redevelopment of its interest in the site.

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