New store would create 300 jobs

A detailed planning application to build a Morrisons supermarket off Braunton Road, Barnstaple, has been submitted to North Devon Council.

The 30,000sq ft supermarket and petrol station would occupy the present Evans Transport site.

The application has been made by Liberty Properties Ltd, WM Morrisons plc and Evans Transport, which is planning to relocate to its Bideford site.

Its employees at the Barnstaple site will relocate to Bideford and the capital raised from the sale of the Barnstaple site will be re-invested in the business – securing both jobs and the company’s future.

Consultations on the proposal took place in February of this year at a public exhibition held at the Guildhall.

The exhibition was well attended with 545 people coming to see the plans and 89 per cent supporting the plan.

Since February, Liberty Properties and Morrisons have been refining their plans to respond to issues raised during the consultation process.

The applicants say the plan represents a multi-million pound investment and creates in the region of 300 jobs in store as well as those employed during construction.

“This is a significant boost for the local Barnstaple economy, underlining the town’s important role in the retail life of North Devon,” a spokesman said..

Morrisons would also look to maximise local take-up of jobs and ensure that local people are given the best opportunities of getting a job in the store.

Access to the new store would be through a newly designed traffic light controlled junction off Braunton Road. A detailed Transport Assessment and Safety Audit have been submitted as part of the planning application.

The store has been located towards the rear of the 8.37acre site to respect the amenity of residents living on Braunton Road. The site is constrained by either existing roads or businesses and therefore the site cannot be extended to develop a larger store in the future.

The need for a new store to serve Barnstaple and its catchment is clear, the applicants say. The new store would not operate 24 hours a day and would be a traditional food store with limited non-food items to reduce the impact on the town centre.

The site is very much a gateway into the town and the store has been designed to a high standard and will create a building more in keeping with an entrance to the town, say the applicants.

Paul Temple, of Liberty Properties, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing forward this important investment and regeneration plan for the town.

“We were really encouraged by the level of support expressed for our proposal at the public exhibition and that gave us a lot of confidence to proceed with the planning application. We will continue to discuss our plans with all interested parties during the planning process.”

Mark Thompson of Morrisons added: “We have been wanting to bring a Morrisons supermarket to Barnstaple for some time and this is a fantastic site.

“We look forward to providing a high quality shopping experience for local people.”

Nigel Evans, of Evans Transport, said: “This is good for our company and our staff. We will be able to make a significant investment in our business – securing its long term future and local jobs. It’s simply great news.”