'Disappointment' as store bid is lost by one vote
A BID to bring a Morrisons store to St Marychurch has been lost by one vote.
Landowners Babbacombe Holdings Ltd say they are 'very disappointed' that the planning application was thrown out after promising to create 225 jobs and bringing the derelict site into use this year.
Katie Hill, spokesman said: "We are very disappointed. It was very close and there was a lot of support for the scheme.
"But our message is that we are still committed to bringing Morrisons to the site and we have to go away and work out what we do next."
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Cllr Beryl McPhail, Torbay Council's development management chairman used her casting vote on a four/four split to refuse two applications that would allow the former Focus DIY store to be used as a supermarket.
Turning down the store has been welcomed by the Babbacombe, Wellswood and St Marychurch traders who objected to the plans.
Tony Clark, spokesman, said: "We are obviously relieved but we feel that we may have won the battle and not the war because they may well come back with another application."
The application was heard in front of a packed out meeting room at Oldway Mansion.
The traders and Friends of the Earth spoke against the plans arguing that it would hit local trade and create extra traffic.
Speaking in favour was Robin Langford for Morrisons, quarry firm Wiltshires which neighbours the site and pensioner Hugh Smith.
Mr Smith told the committee: "I'm looking at it from a pensioners point of view so it is a purely selfish reason.
"I am 100 per cent in favour of a full supermarket. Between Wellswood and St Marychurch we have lots of little supermarkets, not the sorts of shops that you would go to for a weekly shop."
Planning officer Peter Roberts told the committee that the supermarket scheme does not pass planning tests designed to encourage town centre shopping.
The committee was told the scheme could put early plans at risk for a rival food store on the town hall car park.
Pete Addis, ward councillor and committee member, questioned whether the town centre scheme should be taken into consideration.
He said: "Is there a major planning application in for the town hall site?
"I don't mean something that might have been mooted but may or may not come to fruition and if that's the case then that should not be considered."