'Common sense has prevailed'
PUBLISHED: 07:43 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:38 15 June 2010
CAMPAIGNERS, who were celebrating at the weekend after hearing East Devon District Council has rejected Tesco's bid to build a new Extra store in Honiton, had their feet firmly back on the ground by Monday.
CAMPAIGNERS, who were celebrating at the weekend after hearing East Devon District Council has rejected Tesco's bid to build a new Extra store in Honiton, had their feet firmly back on the ground by Monday.In a statement to the Herald, protestors said they fear Tesco will lodge an appeal against the ruling, signalling a third round in the battle to halt the supermark giant's relocation from Battishorne Way to Ottery Moor Lane.The statement, signed by Frank Horrell and Mike Bonetta, joint chairmen of the Ottery Moor Lane protest group, and Ralph Hibbert, chairman of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, praised those who supported them during the campaign."We believe that this decision, whilst soundly based upon planning issues, has been influenced by the vast quantity of protest letters received from the residents of Honiton," the statement said.But it continued: "Round two has been won, but we understand that we will now have to face possibly the hardest round - round three - as Tesco have decided to appeal."We may be asking you to write again... Let us not rest on our laurels."World famous lacemaker and Exeter Road resident Pat Perryman is strongly opposed to the relocation.After hearing the plan had been turned down, she said: "I was very pleased, but quite surprised, the decision came so quickly."It's marvellous. Common sense has prevailed."Mrs Perryman said she was unaware of a Tesco bid to appeal against the decision, adding: "What can they appeal against? They can't change the traffic."Hopefully, fingers crossed, we are nine-tenths of the way there."Although members of Honiton Town Council kept their cards close to their chests in the months running up to their debate on the issue, they came out firmly opposed to the scheme when it came to the vote.Councillors had faced a crowd of more than 400 during a public meeting in the Mackarness Hall.The mayor, Councillor Vernon Whitlock, had reminded residents that the meeting was not a protest event, but many disagreed. They used the meeting as a platform to push forward their objections - views that were later seconded by councillors.After hearing that East Devon District Council had refused the relocation plan, Councillor Whitlock told the Herald: "It is very good news that East Devon District Council has agreed with the town council and issued refusal notices."Potential traffic problems were the major concern of local people."East Devon District Council and the Highways Agency have recognised those concerns and have acted upon them"Tesco could have saved themselves a lot of work if they had listened to the concerns raised at their initial consultation meeting. We will now have to wait to see the result of any appeal before we can relax."Councillor Whitlock added: "Tesco's existing store serves the town well."It has good road links and provides valued employment for local people."It is a store in the right place."As well as turning down Tesco's bid for a new store, East Devon District Council also rejected proposals to redevelop the store's existing site, in Battishorne Way.Outlining its reasons for rejecting the plan, the council said there were concerns regarding the layout, grouping of buildings and relationship of the site to the surrounding area.Tesco had also failed to meet the 40 per cent affordable housing criteria used by the council for new residential developments.The council said plans to mix homes with work/live units was "inappropriate as there is no element of a neighbourhood convenience store on the site".Honiton Town Council had expressed a strong desire to see the site retained for retail use. It had also raised concerns that no public open space had been included in site plans - another matter cited by the district council for refusal.As East Devon District Council prepared to issue the refusal notices, residents in Ottery Moor Lane were on tenterhooks after watching plant machinery enter part of the proposed new store site.Frantic calls were made to the Herald from residents, who feared Tesco had been given the green light.