Plans for an Aldi in Ivybridge have met with resistance
Ivybridge Town Hall (Courtesy of Local Democracy Information Service)
“The right idea in the wrong place”
Plans to redevelop an area of Ivybridge have met with resistance as some locals say there is no need for a new supermarket and it will take business away from smaller shops.
In recent years, South Hams District Council has considered proposals to attract more shoppers to the market town by developing the Leonards Road car park, including a discount food store.
The area behind Ivybridge Town Hall has been slated for redevelopment with plans for a new Aldi supermarket there.
The council commissioned a survey to find out public opinion on the proposals for the new supermarket in March 2020.
It has been estimated that an investment by Aldi in this project would be £21 million over 25 years.
This was on top of the initial construction costs invested by the council of around £9 million.
Tony Dommett has lived in Ivybridge for 42 years and says his family has been in Devon since 1540 or earlier. He took to social media to express his concerns about the changes at Ivybridge and has since garnered many supportive comments.
In an interview, Mr. Dommett summed up his feelings.
“Basically it’s the right idea in the wrong place, like most things have been done in the last 20, 30 years,” he said.
“You are going to destroy the center of Ivybridge. “The whole heart of the village will disappear under a huge supermarket, two-storey car park, which will be used by the supermarket.
“There will be no long-term parking. Most local businesses, not necessarily shops, but other small businesses that have offices in or around central Ivybridge will not have parking.
“It will totally tear up the downtown area which should be regenerated.”
Mr Dommett added that more should be done around the riverside area where the River Erme flows through the town.
Several written objections to the new supermarket have also been received by council and are included in the planning application.
One objector said: “I don’t believe that the Aldi will improve the dynamism of the city, but rather that it will harm it.
“The city has indeed improved over the last two years of the pandemic, people have rediscovered the pleasures of local shopping and especially appreciated the variety of independent stores.
“The offer of the town has indeed improved during this period, with the opening of the bookstore, the florist and the brewery.
“I don’t see that people who drive to shop at the Aldi are likely to visit the other shops and cafes in town afterwards.”
Another objection relates to the location of the Aldi store and fears that it will coincide with the replacement of the rotting wooden north bridge, which connects the Glanvilles factory to the nearby car park.
“While some residents of Ivybridge have indicated they would like to see another supermarket in the town, the car park is not the ideal location,” the complaint states.
“I have been told the site has been allocated to the supermarket in the new housing development at the top of Exeter Road and it would be much more appropriate.
“Closing the car park for at least six months would mean the closure of many local businesses even if they managed to survive the closure of the two bridges over the river into the city from the car park.”
The council said the new store could create 30 to 40 jobs and attract an additional 100 shoppers at any one time, who in turn could benefit from the wider town, including the leisure center and high street.