Brixham Tesco store gets green light
IT IS full steam ahead for a £20million Tesco superstore in Brixham town centre after Torbay planners gave the regeneration scheme the thumbs-up.
Diggers are expected to be moving into the central car park later in this year after developers Albourne Property and supermarket giant Tesco had their mixed-used scheme approved during a planning meeting held at Parkfield in Paignton on Wednesday afternoon.
Supporters of the regeneration scheme, which is expected to start in the Autumn after Section 106 agreement and design details have been ironed out between Torbay Council and the developers, said this was good news for Brixham and would boost trade for all in the fishing port.
Opponents have vowed to fight on.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Mark Scoot, from Albourne Property told the planning committee that the project would create 160 permanent jobs and another 110 construction jobs during the 18 month building period with at least half of them from local firms.
He said that the development would increase footfall in the town and “reverse the situation” so that £18million in annual spend from Brixham shoppers stays in the town rather than escape to out of town supermarkets in Paignton, Torquay and beyond.
In addition, he said the car parking facilities would be open 24/7 which would again support the night time economy in the fishing port.
He added: “This investment will guarantee the future of the town.”
Fellow supporter of the scheme, John Coish, from Brixham 21 said other towns such as Kingsbridge or Axminster had both benefited from having supermarkets in their town centres and there was no reason why it could not work in Brixham.
He added: “No other scheme has been put forward by objectors and no additional jobs or car parking spaces have been proposed. With objectors it's all negative negative. Many towns would jump at the chance of a £20million investment like this. This is a golden opportunity for Brixham.”
Town councillor Chris Lomas, who has supported the proposal since the start, agreed saying: “This will pull people into the town. Tesco would not build extra retail units if they did not think they could sell them. This will save this town.”
The proposal was pushed through by a seven to two vote in favour following a three-hour special planning meeting.
Richard Batham-Read from developers Albourne Property, said after the meeting: “We are delighted that after two years of planning, members of the planning committee have voted in accordance with our proposal.
“We believe the benefits outweigh the perceived disadvantages for the town.”
He said that work should start in the autumn after the tourist season once detailed design matters have agreed with Torbay Council.
The Tesco scheme has split the town in two with more than 2,000 people signing a petition against the scheme and more than 51 per cent of voters electing Rosemary Clarke, founder of the Brixham Residents Against a Tesco Superstore action group to the town council in October.
Many traders and residents have also expressed being in favour of the scheme so long as access issues with double decker buses, access to public toilet facilities and a shopmobility centre could be sorted out. Other issues concerning residents have including scale, height, design and highways.
While presenting the scheme to planning members and the 60 or so members of the public, planning officer Ruth Robinson said the building would be clad in sympathetic material reflecting the history and heritage of Brixham while the top car park would be further screened from views from higher roads in the town thanks to canopies. Some concerns included the possibility of seeing 35 cars backed up at all times trying to get into the town centre.
Meanwhile she said all roofs had the potential to be covered in solar panels to reduce the carbon footprint of the building. She said the £250,000 Section 106 cash from Tesco would go towards improve road access, green spaces and the public realm in and around the store.
The development will now incorporate a multi-level car park with 340 spaces, a 32,000 sq ft Tesco supermarket and additional retail space, small unit shops, 11 town houses, three flats, a Shopmobility unit and public space.
There had been issues with bus and delivery lorry accessibility but overall, planning officers recommended approval.
Opponent Jackie Devonshire said: “In any democracy any objection is a no vote. The number of objections significantly outweighs the number of supporters. The key word here is “significantly”.
“Silence does not imply support for the application. Brixham has spoken and does not want this . The people of Brixham deserve better.”
Chris Dawes, from the Brixham Resident Against Tesco Store organisation, added that with the closure of the central car park for 18 to 24 months, Torbay Council could not afford to lose so much revenue to help a FTSE 100 company.
Fellow opponent Loris Goring said: “This scheme will be an obsolete dinosaur. Large supermarkets are a 20th century concept not a 21st century concept. The trend is to smaller local shops.
“This store is too big. Smaller shops are the way forward. This also has serious architectural and design flaws which have not been addressed. It should be about protecting and enhancing our heritage. We don't want to be the laughing stock of a TV channel but a major tourism attraction.
“Are our tourists going to come to see a heritage Tesco?”
Torbay and Brixham councillor Matt James said he had worked in a Tesco store in the past and planners should be wary of job promises.
He said jobs in the new store would not be good quality jobs attract huge wages.
He told the meeting: “We have a £300,000 in S106 out of a £20million scheme. It is pitiful. It will only leave £50,000 for the town. This S106 is a betrayal of Brixham. We are being asked to gamble on the future of the town. This scheme will mean we have lost our one chance to truly improve the town.”
Cllr Mike Morey, who opposed the scheme, proposed that the vote be deferred while concerns about traffic, design and others are addressed. His motion was defeated two to seven.
Following a seven to two vote in favour of the scheme.
Chris Dawes said the decision to approve the development was a real disappointment for the town.
He said: “This is a sad day for Brixham. Brixham itself has lost. As a group BRATS will regroup and consider its options and decide on the process forward.
“This is not the end.”