Tesco makes town land swap offer

Council discusses land deal as plans for new South Molton supermarket progress.

STALLED plans for the regeneration of South Molton town centre are gathering momentum following talks between Tesco and North Devon Council.

The Gazette understands that the supermarket firm has approached the council with a land swap proposal affecting the Central Car Park area.

Under the deal, Tesco would give up the land they own at Norrington’s Yard for part of the council-owned car park.

Town and district councillor David Worden said: “The Tesco store would be built somewhere in the current car park although the actual site is still open to negotiation.

“The Norrington site would be used for car parking although this wouldn’t have as much space as the central area.”

Cllr Worden said the amount of car parking space would be the “key issue” in any plan.

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“It would be pandemonium on a Thursday unless adequate parking is provided,” he said.

“There is still a long way to go before a planning application is put in. The town and district councils need to talk to each other and consultation with the public needs to take place.”

Cllr Worden said the devolvement of the supermarket plan was also linked to important decisions about the future of the livestock market.

“It’s a big issue for South Molton and the debate has already started in the town. Could Tesco come with the livestock market still there? Some want it moved, others don’t.

“The town council is not very happy about the livestock market going to Pathfields and has identified another site opposite the roundabout by the entrance to Pathfields.

“In the course of talks all things can change but at last it looks like something is going to happen after years and years of this being put on the backburner.”

A report on the regeneration of South Molton was discussed at a meeting of North Devon Council’s executive committee yesterday (Tuesday).

Members were updated on the possible revised layout of the car parking arrangements behind the pannier market.

Officers were also due to report on progress on the acquisition of a site at Pathfields to relocate livestock market.

The report said that negotiations with Tesco were still “ongoing”.

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