Tesco store approved for Barnstaple centre

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a huge Tesco store and petrol station in the centre of Barnstaple have been approved by councillors. At a packed and sometimes heated meeting of North Devon Council s planning committee yesterday (Wednesday,) members voted 14 to 10

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a huge Tesco store and petrol station in the centre of Barnstaple have been approved by councillors.

At a packed and sometimes heated meeting of North Devon Council's planning committee yesterday (Wednesday,) members voted 14 to 10 in favour of plans for the 95,000 square foot store complex on the Brian Fords site at Seven Brethren.

Tesco accepted a compromise application of 65 per cent food to 35 non food goods at the store, which will also feature 497 parking spaces, plus filling station, car wash and connecting road link between Station Road and Seven Brethren. It should create 285 jobs, according to the company.

The supermarket giant bought the site from Brian Fords in 2003 and there was already planning permission for a smaller store there, but objectors fear the new larger store will affect trade in town centre shops.


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A packed council chamber at the Civic Centre saw four people speak against the proposal, in addition to a presentation from the agent for Tesco.

Planning committee chairman Councillor Jasmine Chesters said many of the businesses represented at the meeting were worried about lost trade:

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"Particularly in this climate they think Tesco will take it away," she said.

"I think all the councillors understood how the objectors felt and many of us had problems in deciding which way to vote, but we had no legal grounds to deny the planning application.

"We did not have a planning reason to turn it down."

The application had ground on for some time. In December the committee deferred it because members were unhappy with the food and non food goods ratio.

The application will now be scrutinised by the Government Office South West, which has the power to call a public inquiry if it feels there are grounds for one.

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