Honiton town centre in spotlight

PUBLISHED: 13:54 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:30 15 June 2010

FUTURE development of Honiton town centre is to be discussed six months ahead of fresh proposals for the Local Development Framework. Business owners in the town are said to be ready for talks and Honiton Town Council is happy to act as a facilitator. Co

FUTURE development of Honiton town centre is to be discussed six months ahead of fresh proposals for the Local Development Framework.Business owners in the town are said to be ready for talks and Honiton Town Council is happy to act as a facilitator. Councillors agreed on Monday to start discussions now.Although no mention was made of Tesco's bid to move to an edge of town centre site, it is common knowledge that Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry is concerned about a perceived threat to independent shops in High Street and New Street.Town and district councillor Vivienne Ash has stressed the importance of aspirations being laid down now, ahead of any decision on Tesco's plan.If the supermarket giant gets the green light, there will be Section 106 cash available to be spent in the community.Although a blueprint for the town's future has already been set out in a strategic plan, drawn up following the Market and Coastal Town Initiative, mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock believes further consultation is required.He told a meeting on Monday that traders are "ready" for such a debate.Honiton Development Trust, set up to take the strategic plan forward, would also participate in discussions.Town and district councillor Peter Halse described the talks as "a bit previous", but conceded: "If you hold a meeting now it will not do any harm."He said he would support the talks, so long as they were "preliminary".Councillor Alfred Boom said it was important that the development trust was involved and that the views of trustees are sought first."It's a difficult one," said Councillor Liz Tirard. "I can see Councillor Halse's view. We need out views in sooner, rather than later. In the past, we seem to have missed the boat."Councillor Whitlock said the retention of the town centre's character was an issue that local businesses want to talk about.

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