Ottery St Mary store wars rage on

PUBLISHED: 12:49 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:58 17 June 2010

STORE wars in Ottery continued this week as Tesco and a local campaign group claimed victory in the debate over whether a supermarket is welcome in the town.

STORE wars in Ottery continued this week as Tesco and a local campaign group claimed victory in the debate over whether a supermarket is welcome in the town.

More than 600 residents flocked to see Tesco's vision for part of the vacant factory site on December 3 and 4 and the firm said the town is "overwhelmingly in favour" of its plans for a 10,000 sq ft "eco convenience store" with 103 car parking spaces and the 100 jobs it would create.

A spokesperson added more than 70 per cent of the 180 people who have returned a Tesco questionnaire slip to date are in favour of its bid.

However, Sustainable Ottery pressure group Factory Future said support is growing fast for its campaign against the supermarket giant and that 402 out of 421 Ottregians polled in its survey don't want to see proposals become a reality.

Member Helen Collinson said: "It's good to know that so many people believe, as we do, that Tesco will damage the town irreparably. Many of those supporting us are local shopkeepers who fear they will have to close if Tesco opens its, as has happened in many other towns across the UK."

An outline planning application for the Tesco store is expected to be submitted in the next few weeks.

Melanie Chiswell, Tesco regional corporate affairs manager, said: "We are delighted by the response.... and we would like to work with the Chamber of Commerce, the community, the town and district councils to help town centre shops benefit."

Sainsbury's will battle Tesco for the town's shoppers and met with the Ottery's Chamber of Commerce last Thursday to discuss ideas for a Hind Street supermarket.

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