New supermarket plans on the way, developer confirms

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Plans for a new controversial supermarket scheme at Epworth will be formalised within weeks, and will include traffic-calming measures for the town’s traffic lights junction, we can reveal.

A full planning application will be submitted to North Lincolnshire Council before December, to be preceded by a second public exhibition of the revised scheme.

Tillbridge Developments received over 300 comment sheets from townsfolk at their first showing of a proposed development that includes a supermarket and 150-space car park, a doctors’ surgery, 39 retirement apartments and four executive homes, on the site currently occupied by Holmes and Gardens Centre off Belton Road.

The company had intended a formal application by the summer, but Tillbridge director Giles Walter said delays had been inevitable due to the holiday season.

He said: “We should see some headway well before the end of the year.” And he confirmed that “a deal will be fixed” with a supermarket operator prior to plans being submitted.

“We are deep in talks with potential occupiers, who are all well-known names in retail,” he added.

The developer claims early feedback they received from residents and businesses in Epworth was “broadly supportive” of a new supermarket and retirement homes, but a stormy public meeting hosted by the town council in May this year was strongly opposed.

Main concerns include fears of overload and congestion on roads serving the development, and a potential damaging effect on other businesses, and to the quiet character of the town.

The town council has approached North Lincolnshire Council recently, to find ways of improving the busy crossroads near the proposed development site, that locals say is dangerous. A lorry ploughed in to a High Street property there only weeks ago.

And supermarket deliveries with added traffic can only worsen the situation, residents fear.

Mr Walter said: “A traffic impact assessment is a requirement of our application and we will make some suggestions towards traffic calming. That would seem a sensible thing to do. We believe it is not the volume of traffic that is so much to blame, but the speed of vehicles approaching the junction. The number of wagon deliveries that would be made is not a lot in relative terms.”

The town council has also asked for an extension to the 21-day public consultation period on any supermarket plans.

A North Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: “We will consider any requests when a planning application has been received.”