Tesco confirm their commitment to build South Molton store
FURTHER confirmation has been given by Tesco that it plans to build a supermarket in the centre of South Molton.
At an executive meeting on Tuesday, North Devon councillors were updated on the latest developments in South Molton's regeneration plan.
Diana Hill, head of property and technical services, said that terms were agreed with Tesco in early 2012 and that in July the company's board reiterated its commitment to building a food store in the town.
Councillors heard that currently 59 per cent of South Molton residents do their convenience shopping outside of the area, as revealed in a retail and leisure study carried out in the North Devon and Torridge districts.
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It is thought the addition of a Tesco would stop people leaving South Molton to do their food shop and bring more choice to the area.
But South Molton town councillor John Moore believes the district council should take more notice of what the people of South Molton want.
He said: "If you listen to what the people say, they are not coming to the town to shop in a supermarket.
"There is a decision to make. What is recommended is far smaller than what Tesco actually wants to build."
South Molton town councillor David Worden agreed that more discussion needs to be had to avoid creating a "them and us situation."
SMR Phoenix was also recently relocated from Southley Road to Barnstaple Street to free up the central car park area.
A report will be compiled by both Ms Hill and the head of legal services at the council before any go ahead is given to Tescos.
She said: "We have been successful in getting a capital sum to enable demolition of South Molton recycling site."
With regard to the livestock market site, she added: "We have confirmation from Tesco that it is committed to a food store in this location.
"The head of legal services and I will be bringing a report before any signatures are put on any documents."
The regeneration report also noted that tender prices are currently being sought to carry out the removal of derelict sheep pens behind the Amory centre after planning permission was granted.
Works are due to start in February 2013 and it is hoped that the new 108 space car park will be open by April.
Leader of the council, Brian Greenslade, said that at some stage he would like to hold an Executive meeting in South Molton to discuss other regeneration issues in the town.
District councillor Rodney Cann added: "The town itself has ambitions. I see it as an economic driver and a centre for North Devon in the future."