Morrisons hope to build Looe store after Tesco plans rejected
TODAY Cornwall Council's Cabinet will consider a report regarding the potential development of a Morrisons' store in Looe.
The supermarket chain has confirmed that it intends to submit a planning application to build a store in Polean, West Looe, if the Cabinet agrees to the development and to sell the land.
The meeting comes just days after the council's strategic planning committee rejected plans submitted by Tesco to build a store on land off Barbican Road, East Looe.
Robin Langford, executive developer at Morrisons, said that if the scheme is supported, a planning application will be made in due course.
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"We have to get through the legal process and we need to go through proper public consultation," he said.
"It won't be immediate and could take quite a while."
The plans for the Tesco store were overwhelmingly rejected last Thursday by 14 votes to 1, with one abstention.
They included a 25,000sq ft store with 250 car parking spaces and a petrol station, as well as plans for 36 new affordable homes.
The main reasons for refusal were based on the location of the site, which it was deemed would take away too much footfall from the town centre.
During the strategic planning meeting, councillors discussed a report produced by GVA Grimley, which assessed the suitability of different sites around the town.
The report, commissioned by Cornwall Council, suggested that Polean was the preferable location for a supermarket in Looe.
Cornwall councillor for West Looe and Lansallos, Edwina Hannaford, told the meeting: "On balance, I think there is a sequentially preferable site at Polean and that this application should be refused.
Mrs Hannaford and her colleague, Cornwall councillor Armand Toms, who also spoke at the meeting, carried a survey of Looe residents which showed that 66 per cent were in favour of having a supermarket in the town, opposed to 33 per cent who did not.
Mrs Hannaford continued: "My comments against this application should not be construed as being against a supermarket.
"I wish to support the majority view for a supermarket but also want any development to be in the best location that better supports the vitality of the town and delivers considerable planning gain."
Looe town councillor Brian Galipeau, who has fought a vigorous campaign against the Tesco plans, said he was delighted with the news.
Mr Galipeau said: "This was the right decision. The good thing about the whole public debate has been that it has built up a very strong consensus in town that we do need a supermarket, but it must support the town centre – which an out-of-town site can never do."
He added: "Even many of those who, more than a decade ago, opposed a Tesco in Polean, have come to see the benefits, and are listening to what most local people want. We do need to see affordable housing coming out of any alternative scheme, though."
Speaking about the Morrisons' development, a representative from Cornwall Council said: "The scheme would involve the provision of a new store for Jewsons alongside a new supermarket. Significant junction improvements would also be proposed to improve access into the site. Any proposed development would be subject to planning permission."