Opinions divided as Budleigh Tesco plan revived

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 February 2017

The former SM Prior and Son shop in Budleigh, announced as the proposed site of a Tesco Express store.

The former SM Prior and Son shop in Budleigh, announced as the proposed site of a Tesco Express store.

Archant

Controversial plans to open a Tesco Express store in Budleigh Salterton have been revived, the supermarket giant has revealed.

Tesco revealed this week it is moving forward with plans to convert the former SM Prior and Son building, in Fore Street, into a new convenience store.

The supermarket had previously announced its intention to convert the former furniture shop in December 2014, before pulling the plug five months later.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We are moving forward with plans to open a new Tesco Express store on Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton.

“We will keep the local community informed as the scheme develops.”

When Tesco originally attempted to open a new food store in Budleigh, a petition against it was signed by more than 600 residents and traders.

Chamber of Commerce chairman Christine Bentley has raised concerns over the impact the revived scheme will have on traders in the town.

She said: “If Tesco is indeed going to open in Fore Street, it is bound to have a knock-on effect on other traders in town. We have so many excellent food providers, both independent as well as the larger Co-op and Spar.”

However, Budleigh in Business chairman Helen Warren supports the idea, which would see a long-time empty shop put back into use.

She said: “I welcome the fact that a premises that has been empty so long is now going to be put to use.

“Hopefully, the extra choice offered by the addition of another supermarket will encourage people to stay in Budleigh to do their shopping and may even encourage residents of the outlying villages to come to Budleigh rather than travel further afield.”

Town mayor Chris Kitson said: “A Tesco food store would be very helpful to the community. It will bring people into the town because the Tesco brand is well known. It would also give an opportunity for future employment in the town.”

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