Loss of Asda 'a loss to the town' says MP

HUGO Swire, East Devon s MP says that the ASDA s change of heart about developing an estuary-side superstore in Exmouth is regrettable and a loss to the town.

HUGO Swire, East Devon's MP says that the ASDA's change of heart about developing an estuary-side superstore in Exmouth is regrettable and 'a loss to the town.'

Last week ASDA's development team told shocked East Devon councillors they were withdrawing from the project - citing the economic downturn and rising costs.

The development was a key plank of Exmouth's regeneration plans and followed the loss of �3 million of funding from the South West Regional Development Agency for a Jurassic Coast visitor centre.

He said: "I have met with ASDA on a number of occasions and have always made it crystal clear that my support for this project was conditioned on the design being of the highest order and the benefits to the people of Exmouth being clear and defined."

He added that the District Council 'were entirely correct' in insisting on a new sports centre and swimming pool, a Jurassic Coast visitor centre, a new library for the town as well as a new food store and supermarket on the site.

He added that the designs ASDA proposed where in his opinion 'almost satisfactory' and told them at the time that they 'had some way to go.'

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He said: "The siting of the store adjacent to the Estuary caused considerable feeling in the town and whilst I understand that, I believe that ASDA withdrawing is bad news for Exmouth.

"I would ask those critics of any development where are these promised jobs going to come from now?

"Where are we going to find the funding for all the other facilities that would benefit all of the people of Exmouth?

"Perhaps this is first hand evidence of the credit crunch reaching East Devon - of course we were right to insist on these very high standards and facilities but nonetheless it is a set back for all those who are trying to attract new businesses, new jobs and new facilities to Exmouth.