Town crier comes out of retirement to stop Aldi plans ‘sounding the death knell’ for Ivybridge
Former Ivybridge Town Crier Ian Wintersgill has come out of retirement to ring his bell one final time. It is an attempt to stop South Hams District Council ‘sounding the death knell’ for the town by closing the main car parks for six months whilst a supermarket is being built.
Plans have been submitted for a new Aldi to be built in the town center. But while the council says residents were in support of the proposals, Ian will sound out the call for Ivybridge residents, workers and visitors to make their voices heard and have their say on the project.
The Save Our Shops! campaign is being run by The Ivybridge Chamber of Commerce. Ian first took to the streets alongside Fore Street and Glanvilles Mill last Saturday, and he will be back out this Saturday.
Read More – Ivybridge Aldi plans as part of town center regeneration officially submitted
“If Ivybridge loses all long-stay parking, and central short-stay parking for six months or more, shutting off the town to visitors using shops, cafes, hairdressers, the leisure center and many essential services, there will be financial devastation for independent businesses here, ”said Matt Steele, head of the chamber. “Visitors will be unable to come to the town. Elderly and disabled residents who need to drive in to access essential services are being locked down again. Workers in the town will now have to park.
“This is a South Hams District Council project, which is being approved by the South Hams District Council, turning a busy car park into a supermarket for their own financial gains at the expense of the townspeople. Businesses are horrified, and many residents are furious about the cavalier approach from the council.
“Either they don’t understand the problems that will be created, or they don’t care. There are no concrete measures in place to provide alternate parking whilst the car parks are closed, and district council officers and councilors with whom we have met have simply tried to laugh off the matter. ”
The chamber believes that the supermarket would be better placed on the east edge of the town, near the railway station and new build estates on major bus routes, saying there is more space for a larger offering, more parking and better access. This has been reflected by many online comments from residents.
“Until a month ago, the council saw this a fait accompli, and maybe it still is, but momentum is starting to turn in favor of the people, through a wave of objection letters posted online and by mail, uploaded on the planning website, He added.
“We are encouraging everyone to make comments on the plan, distributing leaflets with details on how to submit comments. And we are incredibly grateful to Ian for lending his very loud voice to proceedings. ”
After many years of discussion and consultation, South Hams District Council has submitted the planning application for the scheme. The plans would see an Aldi built in the center of the town. A two-storey decked car park to the west of the store with 210 spaces is also part of the plans, as are improved cycle spaces, and improvements to the River Erme corridor.
The plans will help meet local housing need and increase employment opportunities to support the long term resilience of the town, and deliver investment that enhances the identity and economy of the town alongside building stronger economic and social connections with Plymouth, a statement with the planning application says.
It adds: “The proposals are also a boost for the local economy drawing around £ 13m of trade into the town center from current out of town spending. About 30-40 new full time equivalent jobs will be created and new customers to the supermarket are predicted to spend more in the town center than just at Aldi.
“Weighing against the proposals, it is accepted that this is not the comprehensive redevelopment of half the town center encouraged. However it is considered that this was a large and ambitious land allocation that was never likely to be redeveloped as a whole. This proposal is a large part of that allocation and will regenerate the town center in a positive manner.
“By providing an offer that is not currently available in the town center, residents would have a greater choice for their shopping. This proposal looks to increase shared trips and drive footfall, supporting the existing high street retailers of Ivybridge. ”
Proposed opening hours for the Aldi would be 8am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. The scheme would also see a new pedestrian entrance space provided at the main supermarket entrance.
The plans would also see the existing skatepark in the center of the town removed. £ 100,000 has been offered towards a contribution towards a replacement, the location of which has not yet been finalized.
When a decision on progressing the £ 9m project was made by the full council last February, councilors voted by 21 votes to six to proceed with the plan to the detailed design stage required ahead of any planning application being made. More than two thirds of people who responded to consultation over plans for a new Aldi supermarket in Ivybridge were in support of the major regeneration scheme, councilors had previously been told.
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