Support for Aldi, despite highways concerns

PUBLISHED: 12:05 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:26 15 June 2010

AN Aldi food store on the site of Slades Countrywise would be good for Honiton and good for competition – that s the view of town councillors.

AN Aldi food store on the site of Slades Countrywise would be good for Honiton and good for competition - that's the view of town councillors.

At a meeting last night (Tuesday), members of Honiton Town Council's planning committee said they supported Aldi's revised application for the development but expressed strong reservations about the Highways Agency's ability to deliver road improvements.

If Aldi's plan is given the green light by East Devon District Council, cash will be made available through Section 106 planning gain conditions for a mini roundabout and other road improvements.

Although Devon County Council and the Highways Agency have agreed in principle to measures suggested by Aldi, town councillors feel there is no guarantee the improvements will be implemented - and certainly not before the proposed store is built.

"I am concerned about when this will be delivered, bearing in mind the issues we have been having in Kings Road with the Highways Agency," said former mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock.

Councillor Dianne Morgan referred to Windmill Court, in Kings Road, pointing out charity SeeAbility had paid £10,000 towards the cost of a pedestrian crossing that has not been provided.

She asked if road improvements could go ahead before an Aldi store is built.

Committee chairman Councillor Michael Teare replied: "Aldi doesn't have to wait to have the highways issues resolved."

Councillor Roy Coombs said: "I think this development will be very good for Honiton. My concern is pedestrians.

"It is absolutely essential to have light controlled crossings or refuges.

"There are a lot of people who will be able to easily walk there. We want the store to be a success and for there to be competition"

The committee agreed it was essential that road improvements are delivered quickly, including pedestrian crossings, a bus stop and a bus shelter.

Councillor Whitlock praised Aldi's commitment to take on board local views.

"This is a good example of a developer taking note of our concerns," he said. "They have gone away and acted upon them.

"My concerns are over the credibility of the Highways Agency but, from the application and development point of view, I think we should support Aldi."

Councillors agreed to support the development, but to raise concerns about the Highways Agency - using SeeAbility's £10,000 as an example.

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