Store Wars in Ottery St Mary

SAINSBURY S and Tesco will go head to head in a battle for Ottery s shoppers, but is the town big enough for both of them?

SAINSBURY'S and Tesco will go head to head in a battle for Ottery's shoppers, but is the town big enough for both of them?

Last week, as Tesco unveiled its vision for part of the vacant factory site, Sainsbury's revealed plans for a town-centre store in Hind Street which would:

-Be 20,000 sq ft in size, twice that of the proposed Tesco.

-Include the Hind Street Car Park and double it in size to offer shoppers free parking.

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The Herald understands that Sainsbury's does not yet own, but will buy the Coleridge Trust and EDDC owned land if a planning application is successful. Tesco paid £2.8million for part of the factory site in February.

Viv Abbott, chairman of Ottery's chamber of commerce said:

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"There definitely isn't room for both if you look at our population and what is here already. I think both of them would accept that, for both size and look. To have two (supermarkets) in the space of a few hundred yards you wouldn't think you were in a market town but a city.

"It would be naive to say we are not concerned (as a chamber of commerce), Some shops will go- but if we are going to have a supermarket built we want it in the centre- it should regenerate the town in the long term.

"For me Sainsbury's is the better option it would offer Ottery something a bit different to places like Honiton and Seaton."

A Sainsbury's spokesman said that meetings with the town's council and chamber of commerce, last week and last night respectively, will help refine the firm's plans for a "town centre store that will stock enough products to cater for a weekly shop, in a location that will make it easier for shoppers to support Ottery's independent traders as well."

Plans will be revealed to Ottery residents at an exhibition in the New Year, the date and venue for which will be confirmed shortly.

Sainsbury's and Tesco both said their rival's intentions have not altered their desire to set up shop in Ottery, and planning applications from both are imminent.

Mayor Glyn Dobson said a suitable venue is found for when the town council planning committee members get the chance to pass comment on the applications.

He added: "Before that we want to consult as much of the Ottery public as we can." Both proposals will have to go through East Devon District Council's development control process for a decision to be made on whether they will become a reality.

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