Determining North Devon’s retail future

Councils have agreed on a new project to outline the future of Northern Devon’s leisure and retail industry.

A TELEPHONE survey investigating people’s shopping habits and leisure preferences will be carried out across the region in March.

The independent study aims to determine the current and future retail and leisure needs across North Devon and Torridge, taking into account the projected population growth.

North Devon Council and Torridge District Council have jointly appointed consultants Roger Tym and Partners to carry out the telephone surveys on residents and analyse the findings.

Malcolm Prowse, Executive Member for Economic Regeneration for North Devon Council, said: “Similar retail studies were carried out in 2006 on the councils’ behalf.

“However, since these were published, a number of new planning policies have been introduced by the government and new stores have opened.

“As a result, we need a new study to take all of this into account in identifying future needs, ensuring that these new requirements are covered.”

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The calls to residents should last around five minutes and it is hoped that the draft results on convenience and food floor-space requirements will be gathered by the end of May.

David Lausen, Chair of the LDF working group at Torridge District Council, said: “The primary aim of the study will be to provide both North Devon and Torridge with robust evidence to guide the creation of retail and commercial leisure planning policies and proposals in the future.

“The study will cover retail and leisure growth until 2031 in line with the timescale of the emerging Local Plan (formerly the Local Development Framework).”

The final report is scheduled for July 2012.

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