Setback for Tesco Express plans

TWO planning applications related to opening a Tesco Express in Rolle Street - for a cash point and replacement shopfront - have not been backed by town planners.

TWO planning applications related to opening a Tesco Express in Rolle Street - for a cash point and replacement shopfront - have not been backed by town planners.

At the town council's planning committee on Monday, the applications for the old Job Centre were recommended for refusal, writes David Beasley.

As the Job Centre was previously a supermarket, Tesco does not need to seek permission for change of use, which would have subjected the plan to town hall scrutiny.

However, Tesco has had to apply for an alcohol licence and also needs permission to make superficial changes to the shopfront, which includes the cash point.


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Town councillors said they had doubts about the two applications - and were also concerned permission for change of use was not needed.

When the previous supermarket, Gateway, was open, delivery vehicles accessed the store at the rear of the property.

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However, since then, the area has been transformed into the cafe quarter and several disabled parking spaces have been added.

Deputy mayor Sandy Sutton said: "I think things have changed and East Devon District Council should recognise that."

Concerns were also expressed about plans for blue opaque glass on the shopfront, with Cllr Richard Turner saying: "Just because Tesco have a corporate image does not mean the town council has to fall in with that."

Town manager Tony Collins said: "I do believe that, with the investment planned for The Strand in 2010, and the recent updating of the shopfront design guidance, more attention could be paid to the underlying aspirations of the town to uplift the quality of town centre shopfronts.

"I would urge Tesco to take a look at this and ensure they are playing their part in adding as much value as possible to this process. The current proposal could be improved."

Cllr Ian Stewart initially recommended approval for the shopfront, but changed his mind when realising, if they recommended approval and then made suggestions on how to improve the shopfront, they were likely to be ignored.

Cllr Madeline Chapman said: "I do not think there is anything in planning law that says they have to improve on tackiness after approval is given."

Cllr Steve Gazzard also recommended refusing the planned Tesco cashpoint. "We have already five cash points in Rolle Street, why do we need another one?" Cllr Sutton agreed.

The plans will now be considered by district planners.

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