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Decision time at Brixham tonight

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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ONE of the best things about living in this beautiful town is the passion which Brixham people feel for their surroundings. We love our town.

But whenever strong feelings are aroused there are always a minority who take a negative course.

Do you remember when SW Water proposed the new sewerage plant at Brokenbury?

Objectors assured us that if the wind blew south a bad smell would cover Brixham.

Worse, if it blew north children in Churston would choke in their classrooms.

In the event, the scheme has been a huge success, creating a much cleaner environment for all of us.

However, not a word ever appeared in the Herald from the protestors saying 'sorry, we got it wrong'.

Similarly, the Breakwater development.

Where once there was a derelict shipyard, there are now homes, shops, a bar, but of most importance an attractive seafront walkway joining the harbour to Breakwater.

Townsfolk and tourists love it, but although built 20 years ago there are still one or two dinosaurs who claim it would have been better left as it was.

The 'Old Market House' by the Golden Hind, until recently an underused Torbay asset in need of serious repair, now a great tourist attraction where we can eat or drink while enjoying views over the harbour.

I look at the faces of BRATS and see some of those same anti any change people back from the past.

I'm trying to keep an open mind on our proposed new town centre, until all the arguments are put.

To help, I've listed briefly the main factors involved:

FOR Brixham:

we gain a new multi-storey car park holding more than twice as many cars with free parking (for a £5 tesco spend) under cover

we lose the existing ugly scar of a central open car park, reminiscent of the cleared bomb sites I played on as a child

we gain our own large supermarket, big enough to compete, on price and range of goods, with Paignton stores

we lose the cost in time and fuel that 80 per cent of Brixham families spend making a 10-mile round trip once or twice a week to Paignton

our traders will benefit by extra shoppers from Brixham, Kingswear, Galmpton etc. that a town centre superstore will pull in

Tesco will build other shops alongside their own store. Hardly the action of a developer expecting to close down other traders

new homes, bus bay, secure overnight undercover parking for local residents, and public toilets are all part of the build

around 160 new jobs, enough to take 20 per cent of Brixham's unemployed, at pay rates better than most other stores (USDAW figures)

on average 85p in each pound from a Brixham home goes outside the town. Our new retail centre should keep much more here

like other projects before it, this £20million scheme will make Brixham a better place for all us.

FOR Torbay:

all takings from the new double size multi-storey car park

council tax from new housing, and business rates from Tesco (huge) and other new retail outlets (less so) via Westminster

an important part of the Bay, and the South West, has its heart rejuvenated; its income and wealth much improved.

FOR Tesco:

a new upmarket superstore giving Tesco a serious presence in Torbay.

FOR everyone:

the inconvenience of an 18-month build, some of that time with no central car park. This will make life very difficult for our shops but those traders who are looking forward positively can see better times ahead. One well-known shop owner remarked: "It'll be tough, but no pain, no gain." The Chamber of Commerce (shop owners and business people) support the project. A shuttle bus from Freshwater and Breakwater multi-storey (usually empty!) car parks to The Strand would be a great help.

Tesco is paying for the whole scheme — £20million — not tax payers!

Although I estimate that most Brixham people fully support this project, at the moment there are more comments against than for, on the Torbay Planning web site.

Please go on line and have your say, whatever it is. Or write (Torbay Planners, Town Hall, Torquay) or email torbayplanning@gov.uk

Come to the meeting tonight at 6.30pm in Brixham College.

Chris Lomas

Brixham town councillor

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