Morrisons confirm plans for new Torquay food store
SUPERMARKET giant Morrisons has confirmed it plans to open a store in Torquay, creating 200 jobs.
It comes as three or four other major food retailers are said to be measuring up the outskirts of Torbay for hypermarkets.
Morrisons wants to take over the former DIY warehouse (pictured) in Babbacombe Road and turn it into a new Fresh Format food store.
Tesco has already submitted an application for a much larger 7,149 square metre supermarket on Edginswell Business Park on the outskirts of Torquay.
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And Sainsbury's are proposing to expand their Ring Road site at Paignton. Though an application has yet to be submitted it is understood it could be as large as their store at the Willows, Torquay.
Steve Parrock (pictured), chief executive of Torbay Development Agency, revealed at the company's first annual meeting that the former Nortel site could also be another location considered for a hypermarket, and there may be other sites as well.
He told the 80 to 100 business people present: "It's quite clear after meeting the major food retailers on a regular basis that there are a number of applications for hyperstores pending out on the Ring Road. The prospects at the moment are that we will have three or four major food retailers building on the Ring Road.
"There could be a real threat and challenge to our traditional town centres which we will need to address.
"The way we are addressing it is to work through our neighbourhood planning forums and to develop strategies with those forums on what they would like to see developed in their town centres and on the approaches to their towns."
Concerning the Brixham Tesco plan, he said they were waiting a new proposal from the company following the public consultation.
Mr Parrock said: "The developer has appointed new architects to bring forward a new design. I would like to see what that design is before passing any further judgement."
Former Torbay mayoral candidate Dennis Brewer asked whether the new Government planning framework would help Torbay defend itself against bids by major food retailers for hypermarkets on the outskirts of the Bay's towns.
Mr Parrock said: "There is no definitive answer. We have to use the toolkit we are given to promotion regeneration where we want it, and to deflect it where we don't want it. The prospects of having a number of food hypermarkets on the Ring Road is something I think Torbay Council and the TDA will spend a lot of time talking about over the next six to 12 months."
He warned that if they were to 'deflect' unwelcome applications Torbay would need deliverable policies in the town centre.
He said: "Our focus needs to be on the neighbourhood planning forums and putting strategies into the core strategy so we know what it is and where it is people want regeneration for the next five, 10 to 15 years."
Morrisons plans to comprehensively refurbish the former Babbacombe Road store. The company is holding a consultation exhibition for the public to view the proposal, prior to submitting a planning application. The exhibition will be held at the Scout Hut, Walls Hill Quarry, Babbacombe Road, on Friday, June 15 from 1pm to 7pm, and Saturday, June 16, 10am to 2pm.
On display will be full details, including plans and computer-generated images, and representatives from Morrisons and the professional team will be on hand to answer questions. Morrisons development executive Robin Langford, said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop a stunning all-new 'Fresh Format' concept store which will create more than 200 local job opportunities. We hope for a good turnout at the event."
Otter Nurseries say they will continue to trade on the site.