Council agrees to £9 million Ivybridge regeneration project

Eric Partridge

Following the report in the last edition of The Moorlander, councillors have now voted to move forward with £9 million regeneration plans for Ivybridge which will include a new Aldi for the town.

At a meeting on Thursday, 11th February, South Hams District Council voted in favour of taking forward the proposals which they hope will result in an economic boost to reinvigorate the town.

The regeneration plans include developing the Leonards Road car park to include the discount food store, a proposal which is widely supported by locals.

It is estimated that the proposed store could create around 30 to 40 jobs for local people, with up to 100 shoppers able to use the store at any one time supported by 90 minutes’ free parking offered.

Councillors voted by 21 votes to six, to proceed with the plan to the detailed design stage required ahead of any planning application being made.

Cllr Hilary Bastone, South Hams District Council’s deputy leader and executive member for enterprise said: “We must build back better and the Ivybridge regeneration project achieves this. It will increase choice and accessibility for people locally, enhance pedestrian and cycle access and youth sports facilities.

‘There will be 13,000 shoppers a week that will act as a catalyst for improved trade throughout Ivybridge town centre and there will be a 16% increased spend within the town centre if the scheme is completed.

‘The increase in footfall will drive more cross-shopping with the existing independent traders in the town and this unlocks the regeneration project.

‘There is widespread support for the project, the business community is in support of the scheme, and it will rejuvenate Ivybridge town for the benefit of the local community and the economy.”

Cllr Lance Austen added: “The chamber of commerce supports the scheme, the owners of Glanville’s Mill also support the scheme, and the town council supports the scheme, but most importantly, the vast majority of people in the town want it to go ahead.

‘The main reason people in the town want it, is to save money on the weekly shop, so  not surprising people are looking for us to approve it. This is an excellent scheme and no doubt it will increase the footfall in the town. It is a regeneration scheme for the town centre.”

Leader of the council, Cllr Judy Pearce, is of the opinion that the new Aldi supermarket should increase visits into the town and that there needs to be some improvement soon in order to preserve what is already there: “We have early indications that Aldi will regenerate the town centre and a lot of the spend will be kept local as a result. If we mess around for years, then the high street will be dead and there won’t be anything left to regenerate.”

The council will now move the project forward to the regulatory statutory planning process, although no timescale for when any application would be submitted was mentioned during the meeting.

Aldi Regional Property Director has provided the following statement: “Aldi is delighted that South Hams Council has given its approval to this development. This decision represents a significant investment in the regeneration of Ivybridge town centre. We now look forward to working with the Council to bring forward a planning application for this project over the coming months”.

Local Life