IT'S over to Torbay's planners after Brixham Town Council turned down plans for a £20million Tesco store development in the port.
The town council will now pass its objections — on highway grounds — to Torbay Council before the planning committee meeting debates the proposals in March.
While opponents to the mixed-use housing and retail development, planned for the central car park, are happy with the message the town council will be sending, supporters believe it will still be given the go-ahead and benefit Brixham.
Cllr Chris Lomas, one of only two town councillors to vote in favour of the Tesco/Albourne Property project, said: "I think Torbay Council is made of sterner stuff than Brixham Town Council and will see it through. What people forget is that we are not a decision making body. We just make recommendations and that's what we should have done on this issue."
Around 150 residents crammed into Brixham College last Thursday for an extraordinary meeting on the Tesco plan.
Mark Scoot, of Albourne Properties which filed the planning application with Tesco, told the meeting the new scheme would 'bring trade back into the town, free up more car parking spaces and give Brixham's economy a boost'.
He said: "This scheme will generate spin off trade in the town as more people will stay in Brixham rather than take their cars to go to supermarkets in Paignton and Torquay. It will bring back shoppers into the town."
Port resident Peter Coysh also supported the development, saying: "This development will create 160 jobs or 120 full time equivalent jobs which will reduce unemployment in Brixham.
Cllr Ray Gardner, who eventually voted against the scheme, said: "How much longer are we going to wait for this black hole of a car park to be redeveloped? This design sits quite comfortably on this site."
The redevelopment comprises a multi-level car park with 340 spaces, 32,000 sq ft supermarket and retail space, small unit shops, 11 town houses, three flats, a Shopmobility unit and public realm space.
The work could last 18 months which some fear could sound the death knell for some small traders.
Resident Phil Gregory said: "If something seems too good to be true then it probably is."
Former trader Will Baker said:
"Do we really believe a Tesco without a petrol station will reverse the trend of shoppers and that more people will come into the town?"
Cllr Martyn Hodge said the scheme had no public toilet facilities outside the store when Brixham is a tourist destination on the up. He also expressed highway concerns about buses and delivery lorries reversing blindly into oncoming traffic and with many pedestrians about.
Cllr Rosemary Clarke, who was elected last year on the Brixham Residents Against Tesco Store ticket, said:
"Had the people of Brixham been properly consulted on what they want to see on the central car park, we might have been able to build them what they want."
The application had been due to be debated at the February 11 planning committee meeting but will now be discussed in March to give more time to look at technical matters and revisions arising from consultation which cannot be satisfactorily accommodated before.
A recorded vote saw Cllrs Martyn Hodge, Rosemary Clarke, Matthew James, Paul Addison, Brian Harland and Ray Gardner voting against the scheme and Chris Lomas and Gordon Boote voting in favour.
Dual hatted councillors Mike Morey and Jackie Stockman, who sit on the planning committee, did not take part in the debate for fear of pre-determination.