Group claims win over ASDA

PUBLISHED: 13:00 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:31 10 June 2010

CAMPAIGN group Exmouth Citizens' Forum is celebrating after Asda's shock announcement last week to withdraw plans to develop the sportscentre and lorry park on Imperial Road - and build a superstore. They have attrbuted the withdrawal to a four-year camp

CAMPAIGN group Exmouth Citizens' Forum is celebrating after Asda's shock announcement last week to withdraw plans to develop the sportscentre and lorry park on Imperial Road - and build a superstore.They have attrbuted the withdrawal to a four-year campaign they had waged - and not because of worsening 'economic conditions' cited by Asda and East Devon District Council.They now want to 'promote' a new, 'community-led' planning process to determine the future of the site.Three weeks ago, before the decision to withdraw, they published their arguments as to why a superstore on the estuary should not be built.ASDA/ASM were soon expected to submit plans for the 40,000 square feet supermarket; but last Monday the district council heard ASDA's development team say they were 'unwilling' to satisfy the council's requirements.It had been hoped that the development would include a new sports centre and swimming pool, a Jurassic Coast visitor centre and a new library.Megan Armstrong, Forum instigator and chairman, said that ECF supporters were expressing 'their delight' with the success of the campaign.The Forum had fought for more than four years to stop the development and held public meetings and demonstrations, as well as a 10,970 signature petition which was presented to the House of Commons.They also initiated a town referendum in which 94 per cent of respdondents said they were against the plans.The Forum also carried out a public survey, 'Vision for Exmouth', to gauge people's views about how the town should be developed, including the estuary side.However, attempts two years ago to get member Heather Lane elected to the district and town council failed, putting in doubt the extent of the support of residents.Now they feel vindicated and Megan Armstrong said: "This is marvellous news for all those thousands of people whose views have constantly been ignored by most local politicians. "Now it is time for people to become involved in a new, community-led planning process for the estuary site which the Forum would like to promote as part of a quality vision for Exmouth.

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