Supermaket closes Ottery car park for three months

Sainsbury’s announced they will be closing half of the Hind Street car park for three months and moving public toilets to Land of Canaan.

The supermarket used an Ottery Chamber of Commerce meeting to reveal its plan to cull half of the spaces for up to 12 weeks in order to remove the wall adjacent to the site. It was also made public the proposal to set up temporary toilets at the car park on Canaan Way after the Hind Street facilities are demolished around April time.

The public meeting was held in the Tumbling Weir on Tuesday night, with representatives from Sainsbury’s, its public relations firm, the contractors for the build and a property consultant.

The purpose was to let people know of the time-frame for works on the new store, but there was consternation amongst residents and local business-owners when it was made known the car park would lose around 50 of its spaces to accommodate building works.

There will also have to be a two-way system on Mill Street for several days whilst Hind Street is closed to move power cables. Mike Mackey, who works for construction firm Kier, said: “Western Power need to put some service cabling and BT need to do work as well. It has been agreed with Devon County Council, and it will only be for two or three days maximum.”

He also explained this work, which is to transfer some of the overhead cabling on Hind Street underground, would not take place at the same time as the car park closure.

Matt Wooldridge, who works for JBP, the PR firm representing the supermarket, said the work would be done before summer and an increase in traffic through tourism, and stressed the 12 weeks was a worst case scenario and they would give spaces back as soon as they can.

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Tony Cook, the property consultant on the project, agreed to raise the idea of paying for some of the parking at the Land of Canaan whilst Hind Street is only at half capacity with EDDC, and encouraged the Ottery Chamber of Commerce to put the matter to the District Council as well.

The new 130 space Sainsbury’s car park will be free for a period of two hours, but Mr Cook reassured residents enforcement officers would not be used unless there became a problem with people blocking up spaces. He said: “Initially there will be no enforcement of the time limit, and we are confident that for the size of the store there will be enough spaces.”

But Mr Cook did concede that if there was an event in the town on a Saturday morning, the same time as a peak shopping period, there may be a difficulty in accommodating everybody at the car park.