Updated: Decision delay for Barnstaple Asda

An artist's impression of the Asda store, part of the proposed Anchorwood Bank development in Barnst

An artist's impression of the Asda store, part of the proposed Anchorwood Bank development in Barnstaple. - Credit: Archant

Major plans for the redevelopment of Anchorwood Bank are deferred by North Devon Council.

An artist's impression of the Asda store, part of the proposed Anchorwood Bank development in Barnst

An artist's impression of the Asda store, part of the proposed Anchorwood Bank development in Barnstaple. - Credit: Archant

MAJOR plans for the redevelopment of Barnstaple’s Anchorwood Bank – including an Adsa supermarket – have been deferred by North Devon Council’s planning committee today (Wednesday).

The unexpected outcome came as councillors said they wanted to be able to consider the application in tandem with a proposal for a new Morrisons store at the Evans Transport yard in Braunton Road.

A decision on either application is now not likely until the end of June at the earliest.

Councillors voted to defer the debate, despite recommendations from the council’s own legal team and planning department that a determination could be made today.

Some members feared that Morrisons applicant Liberty Properties could mount a judicial challenge if they went ahead and considered the Asda application on its own.

But council solicitor Ken Miles said he felt it was safe to proceed today: “In my view there would not be a challenge as the two applications are significantly different.”

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The final decision could now be taken out of the council’s hands entirely should Asda decide to seek an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate for non-determination.

Developers at the meeting said they were considering their options, although the new delay has heaped more frustration on plans that have already been four years in the making.

Planning officer Keith Bines said the earliest the two applications could now be considered together would be the end of June.

He added: “The applications are not considered to be intrinsically linked and we feel ready to give a recommendation in terms of Anchorwood Bank today.”

On the North Devon Gazette website this morning, readers took part in a poll asking if they thought councillors should approve the Asda plans.

An overwhelming 69 per cent said the plans should be approved, with 31 per cent against them.

Many readers have also commented on the Gazette Facebook page with mixed views on the potential development.

“I’d love an Asda and it’ll provide more jobs, yes we have plenty of supermarkets but instead of another Tesco last time it should have been an Asda or Morrisons,” said Libby Cain.

But Kristian Puglsey said: “Why can’t people understand we don’t need any supermarket. Shop local.

“I manage to live my life and raise my family on a budget by using my local market and butcher.

“More supermarkets will just destroy the town even more and take more money away from Barnstaple. Wise up people.”

But Karen Shortridge said: “I wish I could afford to shop locally; some of us are on very tight budgets and I have tried local shopping fruit, veg, meat, etc, against supermarket prices and unfortunately I now buy from supermarkets, only this is by need not choice.

“Unfortunately Barnstaple has a high rate of unemployment and a lot of people struggling on a daily basis. I understand the effect Asda will have on the High Street but surely if that’s where you shop now you will continue to do so.”

Benjamin O’Brien said he couldn’t believe the council would even consider the application.

“Big commercial businesses don’t think about the people around or the surroundings and history,” he said.

“They may make you think that they care by putting on one-off charity events.”

But others felt the development would be a positive move for the town.

“Yes, do it!” said Jo Couch.

“Homes and a new supermarket! Plus sort the eyesore of a site out!”

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