A GROUP spearheading a rival scheme to Coyte Farm have said they are "surprised" that Cornwall Council officers have recommended the controversial development for approval.
John Kneller, chairman of Together St Austell, which formed last month, said the group is shocked at the officers' conclusion as the vast majority of experts, organisations and the public oppose the scheme.
"However, we simply ask that the members of the strategic planning committee determine the application in accordance with current planning policy and recognise that the town centre is the heart of our community and its viability and vitality should be supported," he said.
"Our Together St Austell vision clearly identifies areas in the town that can be used to provide additional retail development without destroying what we already have."
Together St Austell was formed by the chamber of commerce and St Austell Business Improvement District. Their rival bid to Coyte Farm involves developing land at Higher Trewhiddle Farm, Sedgemoor and Pentewan Road.
Together St Austell received a further boost this week when M&M Asset Management supported their vision.
Backed by Apollo Global Management, M&M Assest Management has bought Old Vicarage Place as part of a bigger portfolio deal and will be looking to develop the site to provide St Austell with large retail units suitable for national chains.
However, Matt Kelly, investment director at the company, said: "Our ability to invest will be seriously curtailed if Coyte Farm goes ahead, and we will be registering our objection in advance of the planning committee meeting on January 16.