THE Leader of East Devon District Council says he is “disappointed but not downhearted” at today’s (5 August) announcement by Sainsbury’s that it will not be following through with the development of a new distribution centre on the East Devon/Exeter border.
Site preparation works for the land at Clyst Honiton were completed last summer and the company’s statement today confirming that actual construction of the logistics depot will not proceed brings to a close a 12 month waiting period in terms of the future of the site.
On hearing the news that the site no longer forms part of Sainsbury’s longer term plans for its national distribution network, Councillor Paul Diviani was pragmatic. He was saddened by the decision but aware of the commercial realities in a changing retail economy.
He said: “I am extremely sorry to hear this news – which is disappointing both for East Devon and the wider region. However, I’m pleased to note that marketing of the site will begin immediately and we will happily work with Sainsbury’s and their development arm to make the most of the enormous commercial and employment opportunity that this important logistics site represents.
“The considerable work that Sainsbury’s have undertaken in preparing what is now a serviced site means that the lead-in period for securing new development has been substantially reduced. With significant investment in new infrastructure, such as the Clyst Honiton By-pass, and the first jobs coming forward at both Skypark and the Science Park nearby, there is real momentum in the area.
"There’s also tangible evidence that our vision of delivering employment alongside new homes is now starting to be delivered. We look forward to seeing this site attract new investment and many new jobs to the District”.