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Store bid to breathe new life into Torquay town centre

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

Town Hall Torquay

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A BUSY car park in Torquay could be the site of a new 40,000 sq ft supermarket which it is hoped will breathe new life into the town centre.

Torbay Council has revealed it has been in talks with a potential developer about the future of the Town Hall car park in Lymington Road.

If the council agrees to lease the land next month, the way could be opened for an application for a supermarket with car parking.

It is hoped the scheme will do for Torquay what Asda has done for Newton Abbot.

Deputy mayor Dave Thomas (pictured) said: "The supermarket involved would be down to the developer. They have spoken to a number. We do not yet have a name.

"I see it as a major opportunity for Torquay to start to drive business into the top end to revitalise the town centre. It would start to give people a reason to come back into the town centre to do their weekly shop.

"For me that could do for Torquay exactly what Asda has done for Newton Abbot. It is in a similar position in relation to the town centre as Asda is to Newton Abbot. Before the shops in that area were starting to look very tired. They are not now. People are actually using those shops.

"Like Asda this supermarket will have sufficient car parking for people to be able to park there to go into the town centre. If we get the right scheme in Torquay we could see the same happening for the top of town, the Castle Circus area. It is a great opportunity."

The lay out of the supermarket and a potential multi-storey car park would be decided by planners. Previously planning permission had been granted for a £6.8million 40,000 sq ft business centre with up to date office facilities on part of the car park, parallel with Lymington Road.

Cllr Thomas said the council is in a three month exclusive negotiation with a developer which he could not name. That concludes next month.

He said: "I am hopeful that at the December council meeting a resolution will go ahead to grant a lease in principal. It would then be subject to the normal planning process. The supermarket could be about 40,000 sq ft which is about the size of Sainsbury's current store in Paignton.

"At this very early stage nothing has been ruled out or in."

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  • iseveryidused  |  November 27 2012, 11:49PM

    Do we really want masses of new vehicular traffic in what is already a busy one-way system? Or, now the economy is in the toilet, are we going to ignore any previous development hurdles, like traffic management issues and market saturation?

  • woodie2010  |  November 22 2012, 7:58PM

    Lots of support for regeneration of the Town Centre and sights identified but come on a supermarket is hardly aspirational and worrying that we'have to give Tesco something for denying planning permission out at Edginswell'. The consensus mentioned above was consensus by a handful of people. NP hasn't even been written yet or properly consulted upon so not sure where the idea comes from about NP being hijacked or as is suggested above "'Drumming up support at this late stage to shoot down a good idea smacks of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted." Lots of labelling from 'Spindle....., come on my friend we are all entitled to our view and mine is we could do better.

  • robocop1982  |  November 19 2012, 12:46PM

    working in a supermarket in the uk is hardly a good career and secure job. HOnestly are the journalists on medication or drunk. It won't make the slightest difference.

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  • spindleshanks  |  November 19 2012, 8:43AM

    Actually "by woodie2010" from the very first meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Torquay town centre group back in 2011, the discussion was regarding a supermarket and not a store. The consensus was to "use" one of the big grocery boys to bring back many of the people living in Torquay who never come into the town because they use the Willows for food shopping. For the scheme to work requires food retailing otherwise it will fail to produce footfall. The only thing letting Torquay town centre down footfall wise are the people who live here. The other consideration is that if Tesco is to be denied building yet another out of town store in Torquay (i.e. at Edginswell), they have to be offered a viable alternative by the council. Given there was a petrol forecourt on their current site opposite the car park, the company could easily provide the full range of services together with substantial car park facilities. The only people who appear to oppose the scheme unsurprisingly are those with properties nearby, but hey, given that just about every community partnership outside the town centre who have contributed to the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan don't want to see development in their own neighbourhood, one can only conclude nimbyism is alive and kicking in Torquay. If you study the Neighbourhood Plan in detail you may conclude, like the town centre group did, that the requirement for new housing stock over the next 5 years could almost be entirely met by developing brownfield sites in Torquay town centre; this having the additional benefit of lifting the retail experience in the town above "critical mass" as more people live here. It would appear that Torquay Neighbourhood Plan is in danger of being hijacked by a BRATS style operation. Let's for the sake of the town and all those who make a living here hope it doesn't happen. Drumming up support at this late stage to shoot down a good idea smacks of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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  • coggers  |  November 18 2012, 11:47PM

    This would be good for more job opportunitys. Lets hope they get this right this time.

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  • woodie2010  |  November 18 2012, 8:09PM

    Not everyone involved in the Neighbourhood Plan welcomes the idea of a supermarket here which was taken forward with the support of only a handful of people so yes we do need more people to come along to the meeting on the 3rd or we will just end up with mediocrity such as this.

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  • mikelister66  |  November 18 2012, 3:54PM

    Great to see ideas being taken forward. The council have been very supportive of the Neighbourhood Plan andI hope they continue to do so. Just for a little clarity the plan said it would welcome a superstore on the site food or otherwise. Our next meeting will be held at 6pm, Monday 3rd December at the Riviera Centre where we will be joined by the Prince's Foundation for Building Environments. Please come along and have your say. You can read more about the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan's ideas on the webiste: http://tinyurl.com/7ylfvsn

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  • woodie2010  |  November 18 2012, 1:25PM

    Neighbourhood Plan suggested superstore not supermarket - this is disappointing.

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  • david0202  |  November 17 2012, 10:08PM

    Has the Council forgotten the empty derelict site alongside the Multi-Story car par in Temperance Street, if this area were to be developed into a shopping area linked to the Multi-Story car park and even extending the car park either under the shopping area or above this site. If I can remember rightly a few years ago this area including the shops and offices from the pub which was the Castle down Union Street to the road going down past McDonalds were included in a scheme to redevelop the top end of the town, and John Lewis were even talked about taking up an area for a store (not now after moving into Exeter. Lost out again!!) This development would make better sense as it is in the main street and would bring a bigger foot fall into the town, instead of the Lymington Road car park site, which is a lot smaller site. A brand new shopping Mall with Quality shops would be a big asset to the town, and would bring new life into the main street. This Council needs to be thinking big with a large food store and new major stores encouraged to move in. On our travels we have seen at Maidenhead in Berkshire they have recently had a large development built next to their Multi-Story car park by Sainsbury's and adding more parking spaces, this has brought more life and shops into the town.

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  • spindleshanks  |  November 15 2012, 11:26AM

    It is nice to see something positive has come out of the Neighbourhood Plan for Torquay even before it goes out to public consultation. Just a shame that years have been wasted chasing other schemes when members of the public can come up with a viable and sensible way to kick start the town's redevelopment. Just a shame the politicians involved don't give credit where it is due for decent ideas that stand a chance of success. Ironically they didn't cost a penny in consultancy fees!

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