Exmouth's ASDA deal off

PUBLISHED: 09:35 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:28 10 June 2010

ARTIST’S impression of the proposed development – released last October.

ARTIST'S impression of the proposed development – released last October.

PLANS for a new estuary-side superstore are dead in the water after supermarket giant Asda pulled out – citing the economic climate and rising costs.

PLANS for a new estuary-side superstore are dead in the water after supermarket giant Asda pulled out - citing the economic climate and rising costs.

It is the second major blow for the town's regeneration plans in under a month - £3 million of funding for a Jurassic Coast visitor centre from the South West of England Regional Development Agency was withdrawn just two weeks ago.

On Monday, the district council heard ASDA's development team say they were "unwilling" to satisfy the council's 'wish list'.

It had been hoped the ASDA development would include a new sports centre and swimming pool, a Jurassic Coast visitor centre and a new library.

A "deeply disappointed" East Devon District Council said a complete "rethink" was needed -- pinning hopes of Exmouth's regeneration on an injection of private cash.

Councillor Ray Franklin, EDDC's Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: "This is deeply disappointing. We felt we were reaching out for some really ambitious but exciting plans.

"In these difficult times, it is not a complete surprise that any company is cautious about such a massive investment.

"Provision of a new sports centre and swimming pool was the price that had to be paid for developing on the Royal Avenue site... and we would not dream of accepting second best."

Darryl Nicholas, Deputy Mayor and Exmouth Champion at EDDC, said: "We must focus on strengthening the town centre... it is now even more crucial The Strand enhancement and the creation of additional town centre parking are delivered.

"The Strand has real potential to become an even more important focal point... drawing extra people into the town centre, bolstering the income of the shops, but acting as a catalyst for improving and diversifying the weekend and night time economy - which has suffered immensely following the disappearance of Rolle College students from the town.

"If we wish to support and preserve our current retailers and attract future high-quality development, we need to address the real need for additional town centre car parking... as long as parking remains an issue, the retailers in Exmouth town centre suffer from a clear competitive disadvantage."

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