PLANS for a sprawling housing, hotel, leisure and Asda supermarket development on the Leaderflush Shapland site have officially gone public.
The hybrid plans were revealed on Friday and comprise of some full planning permission applications and some outline applications.
The only element of the application which is seeking full approval at this stage is a 6,820 square metre Asda store, complete with petrol station.
Developers DS Wessex Ltd, have also applied for outline planning permission for 350 homes, a 60-bedroom hotel, 4,000 square metre office space, a community centre, restaurants, cafés and a pub.
Alongside the buildings, the developers have also applied to increase the ground levels, put in roads, footpaths, cycle ways and drainage, and carry out flood defence work.
They have also applied to demolish all the buildings on the site with the exception of the historic Leaderflush Shapland Oliver Buildings.
The consultation period for the development, which is planning application number 53302, ends on March 16.
So far North Devon Council has received two letters of objection.
Planning officer Keith Bines said because the development needs an environmental impact assessment, the council has an extended 16-week period before it has to make a decision on the plans.
By then, Mr Bines said, the council’s retail impact study on grocery shopping will be ready, so NDC will at least be armed with the tools to be able to see whether there is room in Barnstaple for another supermarket.
Consultants Roger Tym and Partners have been appointed jointly by NDC and Torridge District Council to carry out the project.
North Devon Councillor Malcolm Prowse, Executive Member for Economic Regeneration, said: “Similar retail studies were carried out in 2006 on the council’s behalf.
“However, since these were published, a number of new planning policies have been introduced by the Government and new stores have opened.
“As a result, we need a new study to take all of this into account in identifying future needs, ensuring that these new requirements are covered.”
The consultants will be calling households across North Devon over the next few weeks and asking people a variety of questions on their shopping habits and leisure preferences.
On the opposite side of the river to the Asda plans there is still an active planning application for a Morrisons supermarket, and Wessex have requested NDC take both applications into account when making a decision.
Mr Bines said: “Where Asda is coming from is that in their view there is only room for one more supermarket in Barnstaple and we should take both applications into account at the same time.
“They argue their development, because it includes the redevelopment of the entire site has a greater benefit for the whole of Barnstaple.”
He added: “We have three choices really; one, we could determine there is no more capacity for another supermarket in Barnstaple. Two, we could determine there is capacity for one more supermarket, or three we could determine there is capacity for two more supermarkets in Barnstaple.
“We should have the retail consultants’ early opinion of food retailing in the area in May, which will give us an overview of the retail needs for North Devon and Torridge.”
Do you think Barnstaple needs another supermarket? Vote in our online poll at www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk/polls