Monday, 19 November 2007

More public consultation on new supermarket for Minehead

A NEW public consultation exercise is to be carried out to again test residents’ views on the future use of Minehead’s Vulcan Road car park (pictured).
The move comes as Independent councillors on West Somerset Council look for justification for backing out of an agreement for a supermarket and other units to be built on the site.
The Independents were elected on the back of a Direct-orchestrated campaign to stop shoppers in West Somerset being given greater choice of supermarket shopping.
Now, despite previous consultation showing people wanted Vulcan Road to include a supermarket - preferably ASDA - councillors have demanded development partner Chelverton Developments Ltd should further research the public’s views on six possible options for the site.
The consultation will be carried out by independent specialists, Consensus, which is owned by former Minehead student Mark Crosby.
Mr Crosby said: “Our task is to provide local stakeholders groups and the wider community with an opportunity to examine each proposal and then record their views.
“The feedback from the consultation will then be collated in a statement of community involvement and submitted to the council for their scrutiny and deliberation.
“It will be for them to determine which option, if any, best meets the future needs of the community.”
The exhibition will be open to the public at the former Ceci fashion shop in The Parade, Minehead, from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, December 1, and from 10 am to 1 pm the following day, Sunday, December 2, and again from 10 am to 5 pm on Friday, December 7, to coincide with the farmers’ market in the town centre.
Four of the options involve Tesco, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, or ASDA, each of which also includes an hotel.
A fifth option is for a smaller scheme of mixed retail and employment units.
All of the options contain some affordable housing.
There is also a ‘none of the above’ option.
All options will be displayed with a plan showing how the development would be laid out, together with an indication of the amount of money that each proposal would generate for the council.
Mr Crosby said: “I believe people want to be provided with accurate and straight-forward information about each option in order that they are able to make a properly informed decision.”
Consensus is also meeting with representatives of Direct, Minehead Chamber of Commerce – which is run by ex-Direct chairman Graham Sizer, Minehead Town Council, West Somerset Railway, and the West Somerset Community College.

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