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Anti-supermarket campaign in Williton hots up
A CAMPAIGN opposed to proposals for a supermarket development in Williton is gathering pace.
About 30 people attended a meeting the Love Williton Action Group arranged on Tuesday night in the Church Rooms to discuss how to object to the plans.
David Gliddon, of J. Gliddon & Sons, has re-submitted an application for permission for a multi-million pound development behind his existing shop in Bank Street, which includes a national food store, shops, homes, a car park and a pedestrian link to Fore Street.
Wendy Spencer, of the action group, said: “We are a group of local traders and residents who are concerned that this will be the demise of Williton if it goes ahead, so we are committed to fighting the plans.
“The meeting went very well and gave people a chance to raise their objections, which included concerns about the road layout increasing traffic and making life difficult for pedestrians and drivers – not least emergency services.
“Williton is a village, not a town, and while there is a need for housing here, the supermarket is completely out of proportion with the size of the village.
“It would affectthe vitality and viability of the village and may force some other retailers to close.”
Action group members plan to continue distributing a petition to homes and businesses in the area, after they say 90% of people already visited have said they are against the development.
Some members have also applied to speak at Williton Parish Council’s meeting on Monday, while leaflets will be handed out and the website www.lovewilliton.co.uk is encouraging people to pen letters of objection.
David Gliddon said: “The adviser to the action group has spoken about how much good a supermarket in Okehampton has done for the town.
“He has now focused on the fact that Williton is a village but it has been a service centre for the whole area for a long time – we have the council offices, a fire station and our own customers come from a wide radius.
“It is not just for Williton shoppers but for people from surrounding villages and, indeed, holidaymakers. It is about stopping the outflow of expenditure to other locations which involve longer journeys along often congested roads.
“Williton and Watchet are also set to grow in terms of housing, so we need to create jobs for people who live here.”
In response to concerns about the effect on independent shops in the village, Mr Gliddon added: “We are very lucky to have a greengrocer and butcher who are very professional and a good retailer will always succeed.”