Fowey supermarket plans bring concern to local business
A MAJOR new development that could see a supermarket built in Fowey has been met with dismay by some local residents and business owners.
Albourne Developers' plans for a 16,000sq ft store at Lankelly Lane, with parking for 104 cars, took a step forward this week when the company requested pre-application advice from Cornwall Council, ahead of any full planning application.
The Cornish Guardian first reported the company's intentions in January 2012, when more than 200 objectors took to the streets in protest. The land in question is currently owned by John Stephens who is working closely with Albourne Developments.
A poll set up on the Cornish Guardian Fowey and Lostwithiel Facebook page last week saw 93 per cent vote against the idea of a supermarket in the town.
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One contributor to the debate, Kirsty Cumming, stated: "If the planned supermarket is big, like those in St Austell, and people do their weekly shop there, they'll probably drive anyway, so spoiling Fowey isn't worth it.
"Any chain supermarket takes money out of Fowey as it covers head office costs upcountry. I just can't see how the benefits come anywhere near balancing the negatives."
Claire Marks said: "No, we don't need one; the greatest appeal is that Fowey isn't like a typical town and has unique shops and a lovely atmosphere which a supermarket would suck the life out of."
However, Tom Taylor said that for those seeking work the development would bring jobs, while John Veryon said the money that would be spent there was probably already being spent at similar stores in St Austell.
"The problem with not having a supermarket is that the money will just leave the town anyway," he said.
Fowey businessman Michael Redmond, who owns Lazy Jack's in the town centre, said he believed the new development could take more from the town than it would bring to it.
Mr Redmond said: "It would be stupid and hypocritical to say no to all supermarkets everywhere [but] is this a suitable place for one, and will what it brings to the town be outweighed by what it takes away?
"Large supermarkets of this type bring jobs, but not as many as you think, and that's totally offset by the number of jobs that will be lost as inevitably local shops will have to close.
"I guess you have to ask yourself: do I like my town as it is or do I want to see it completely change?"
Sally Bain, Cornwall councillor for Fowey, said: "I'm totally anti a supermarket.
"There's no need for one and the majority of people in Fowey don't want it.
"We have perfectly good shops in the town; a supermarket will kill their business, and Fowey will become a ghost town, particularly during the winter.
"There are supermarkets not so far away if we need them. I shall be supporting the fight in opposition."
In a comment made on the planning application, Steve Beresford, chairman of Fowey Chamber of Commerce, said what Fowey really needed was an environmentally sensitive park-and-ride scheme.
He added: "It is now realised how important the business within a town centre is to the vitality of small towns, and we should be looking at measures to develop this vitality, not to damage it.
"This application will have a detrimental effect on town centre businesses which will in turn damage our fragile tourist industry; then we will all suffer."
Albourne Developments was unavailable for comment as the paper went to press.