Welcome for county supermarket planning decision

Councillors reject Asda and Morrisons proposals on highways and competition grounds.

BARNSTAPLE’S two Devon County Councillors have welcomed a decision by Devon County Council to recommend refusal for two applications for new supermarkets either side of the town’s new Taw Bridge.

The proposals for an Asda at Anchorwood Bank and a Morrisons at Braunton Road went before the county’s development management committee at County Hall in Exeter yesterday (Wednesday).

The final decision on both applications will be made by North Devon Council next month.

County planning officers had recommended that councillors refuse the applications on the grounds of increased congestion on the highway network, and also the effect on Barnstaple town centre.

Councillors Brian Greenslade and Chris Haywood both attended and spoke at the meeting and encouraged members to support the recommendation for refusal.

In a joint statement they said: “It is now five years on since the opening of the Western Bypass relieved Barnstaple of its status as ‘the home of the traffic jam’.

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“Two large supermarkets at the north and south end of the Taw Bridge will affect traffic flows across the whole highway network. “We already see traffic stacking up at times of the day along Fairview, Braunton Road and on the Taw Bridge.

“To add to the current traffic volumes, to build further traffic signals into the network, will force traffic to build up on Rolle Street and at Mermaid Cross, pushing Barnstaple back towards the congestion we used to experience prior to the opening of the Western Bypass.

“At this time of austerity the town centre is struggling anyway without further competition from more out of town shopping opportunities.”

The applications will be decided by North Devon Council’s planning committee at a special meeting expected to take place on December 19.

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