Revised £20m Tesco plan for Brixham recommended for approval
THE £20million Tesco superstore plan for Brixham town centre is being recommended for approval.
The fate of the controversial scheme, which has split the port, will be decided by Torbay's planning committee.
And officers are saying the redevelopment should go ahead after years in the making with certain conditions attached.
Revisions have been included in the latest plans after concerns were expressed over access.
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The mixed-use scheme would see a multi-level car park with 340 spaces, a 32,000 sq ft Tesco supermarket and additional retail space, small unit shops, 11 town houses, three flats, a Shopmobility unit and public space.
New lorry and bus access plans which were recently shown at a Brixham Town Council meeting in January and led to the council rejecting the project on access grounds, have been revised.
In her report, planning officer Ruth Robinson says Brixham had 'long under-performed as a shopping destination'.
She said: "Town centres face major challenges created by a lack of funding, concerns about consumer spending, the rise of internet shopping and competition from out of town retail developments.
"This town centre scheme has been long in fruition and its viability has been affected by these on-going uncertainties.
"It is an expensive site to develop due to the need to remediate the contaminated land, to mitigate flood risks and to cloak the building to create active street frontages."
Mrs Robinson says the development would help keep Brixham shoppers in their own town rather than see them travelling to out of town supermarkets in Paignton, Torquay and beyond."
Her report says: "The need to significantly increase the level of retail space in the town if it is to compete with nearby towns is documented in successive retail studies and proposals to deliver it embodied in the adopted and emerging Local Plan.
"Town centre regeneration opportunities are increasingly rare in the current climate. They are complex projects and in a constrained and attractive environment it is unsurprising that strong views exist about the costs and benefits of the proposal.
"Those in favour of the scheme contend this proposal will pump money into the town, achieve regeneration, provide jobs, secure investment in the fabric of the town that will be otherwise difficult to come by, provide increased choice and more competitively priced food and, through linked trips, secure a brighter future for the existing traders.
"Those against feel that the scale of the proposal will dominate the town physically, damaging its special character and economically drawing trade away from the existing town centre.
"The concern is that the loss of existing jobs, closure of existing outlets and traffic congestion will lead to the further deterioration of the town centre.
"While there are understandable concerns about the scale of the proposal, the benefits to the town could be significant if the degree of claw-back suggested in various studies is achieved.
"Brixham is in need of investment and in the current economic climate opportunities to achieve this are becoming increasingly rare."
If approved, the developers have agreed to make a £295,300 Section 106 agreement. About £243,000 of that cash would go towards sustainable transport improvements, £15,000 on education projects and £29,000 on improving green spaces.