Why planners threw out the Torquay Tesco plan
COUNCILLORS threw out the latest plans to build a Tesco store on the outskirts of Torquay because it was too big, against planning rules and in the wrong place.
Members of the development management committee also decided that building a 7,000 sq metre store in Edginswell would send out the wrong message to visitors as they approached the gateway to the town.
Cllr Mike Morey summed up the mood before the planning application was unanimously rejected when he said: “Do we need the visitors to see ‘Welcome to Tesco’ signs? It should be ‘Welcome to Torbay’.”
It is the second time that Tesco has been refused permission to build at Edginswell.
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The country’s largest supermarket chain had hoped that changes to its original store plan would convince councillors to back the scheme.
But despite changes to the design, mix of goods sold, and road access councillors were still not satisfied.
And Tesco also failed to convince local residents that a superstore on their doorstep would be a good idea.
Barry Dunnage, secretary of the Edginswell Residents’ Association, addressed the planning meeting with its objections.
He said: “It is very significant that this application has attracted 115 comments from members of the public with 114 against the application and just one in favour.”
He added: “As the new South Devon Link Road approaches Hamlyn Way, up the Kingskerwell Valley, the first image to greet the incoming visitor would be not an iconic palm tree and welcoming floral display but this supermarket and its associated signage. It would permanently and adversely change the whole nature of this important gateway zone.”
The application was debated at a meeting in the Riviera International Conference Centre.
The Tesco plan, which is now likely to go to appeal, also included plans for a 371-space car park on the site — with the store rising up on stilts above — customer cafe, and three office buildings.
Mark Scoot, representing the developers said the scheme was the only way of ensuring that the business park would be developed to its full commercial and employment capacity.
He also said Tesco had talked to developers of the available Lymington Road site but thought it was not big enough.
Planning officers said it did not comply with the Local Plan because Edginswell was earmarked for offices.
Tesco said it would create around 300 jobs but councillors said they would prefer to see better paid office jobs on the site.
In the end the scheme was rejected on grounds that:
It is on land designated for employment use in the Local Plan 1995-2011
Failed the sequential test (that require Tesco to first consider town centre sites such as Lymington Road)
An absence of a Section 106 agreement
Failed the design test to enhance the environment and relate to the business park.
Failed to demonstrate that traffic generated could be accommodated by the highway network.
Failed to assess the impact on Torquay and Paignton town centre.