Ottery Tesco blueprint unveiled

PLANNING applications to completely overhaul Ottery St Mary s vacant factory site will be submitted to East Devon District Council within months

PLANNING applications to completely overhaul Ottery St Mary's vacant factory site will be submitted to East Devon District Council within months according to Tesco and the developer who owns the remainder of the land.

The supermarket chain hopes to open its 10,000 sq ft "eco convenience store" with 103 car parking spaces by 2010 and says it will create around 100 new jobs.

Yesterday Churchill Properties shed light what it has in store for the rest of the area. Plans include:

-Conversion of the Town Mill with community facilities on the ground floor, possibly a new library.

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Residents flocked in their hundreds to see what the supermarket giant has in store for Ottery at an exhibition which ended yesterday.

Churchill Property's Jeremy Sharpe said the "modest" size Tesco will only make up part of a project and the "preservation and restoration of the listed mill buildings" is the priority for the developer.

He added: "Our proposals are for residential units with a community use on ground the floor- we have said to East Devon (district council) that they can suggest a use for that.

"We got approaches (over the site)- but you will when people see a large empty derelict building in a town. Tesco was most positive and most interested and the only one to make a firm offer.

"It will be an expensive undertaking to convert and restore this site and we are in the process of finding a way of doing it."

A spokesperson for Tesco said the store would not increase traffic congestion on what is a busy school route and added: "It is up to Devon County Council to decide if we are going to cause a traffic impact. I don't see there being any disruption at all- not for a site that size.

"There will be two to four deliveries a day. There is already an industrial estate (Finnimore) nearby and they will take the same route."

"There is no evidence to suggest supermarkets put shops out of business, it is unlikely it will affect the town centre, in fact we think the opposite."

"I would hope the town centre retailers this as an opportunity- where people will stay in the town to do their shopping. Residents will have a site with a small convenience store where people can park for free and walk, or take the bus into town."

Despite recent flooding problems in the area, the supermarket chain will take no specific preventative action and said it was happy to go along with the solutions the Environment Agency finds for the area.

The sudden plans, which were revealed in the Herald in November, have become a prominent talking point in the town. Many residents feel the development is long- overdue while some local shopkeepers fear they will lose trade if the supermarket is built.

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