ALL FIVE main supermarkets are being targeted for a new town centre store, it has been revealed.
The so-called "Big Five" are Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsburys and Waitrose.
A legal agreement has been reached which paves the way forward for the new development at Lymington Road car park behind Torquay town hall.
The plans are being finalised and main points have been agreed in principle by Torbay Council with developer Hawkstone.
Deputy mayor David Thomas (pictured right) said: "We have agreed the contract in principal with our investment partner Hawkstone who are appointing their team including architects.
"There is a requirement that they submit an application within six months.
"They have now spoken with a number of supermarket chains, the big five, and I understand there has been some further development. I am not able to give any further information this on yet. But it is looking very promising that the site will come forward.
"We still have the Tesco proposal at Edginswell, and Morrisons at St Marychurch have re-submitted their application though they have date for an inquiry into their previous application October."
It comes as Tesco has submitted a revised plan for a superstore at Edginswell Business Park, and Morrisons are going to a planning inquiry over refusal of permission for a store in Babbacombe Road and have submitted revised proposals.
On Lymington Road he said: "The fact we have moved another step along the gives us more confidence that we can deliver this site in the town centre. By having a signed contract with Hawkstone and a with planning application due in six months, it shows that an in-town supermarket is deliverable. When it comes to appeals you need to be able to show that the policy you have is deliverable."
Steve Parrock, chief executive of Torbay Development Agency, said: "This development is part of Torbay Council's policy to regenerate the Bay's town centres."
The in-town supermarket would be around half the size of the Tesco superstore and delivery depot proposed for Edginswell.
The council is to either receive a £2.5million capital receipt from the Lymington Road car park or an alternative method of creating an income, as well as £2million in business rates. Some car parking will be retained with additional car parking spaces provided for the supermarket and it is likely that free car parking will be available for an initial period, to be agreed, subject to a minimum spend in the supermarket.
It is hoped that the project — and prospect of free car parking after shopping in the supermarket — will strengthen Torquay town centre's offer, kick-start the regeneration of the top end of town and reverse some of the recent shop closures, as well as create 235 jobs. The development will also contribute to the flood prevention measures for the town centre.