SUPERMARKET giant Asda has re-affirmed its commitment to open a store in Exeter - but said speculation that it has settled on a site is premature.
Rumours that Asda were close to agreeing a deal to take over the site at the Exeter Royal Deaf Academy have been played down although "positive discussions" are on-going over a possible deal.
But a spokesman said today it was not the only site in the city it was currently interested in.
Historically, there were two sites being looked at; the Deaf Academy and the bus station in the city centre.
The council had hoped to have Asda as the anchor tenant of the huge redevelopment at the bus station site. However, it is understood that the council has cooled on the idea of having a supermarket at the bus station now.
And the deaf academy is understood to be reliant on selling its current site to the store to finance the high-profile move across the city it now has planning permission for.
Echo readers have long called for an Asda - the only major supermarket the city currently lacks.
And in a statement released to the Echo a spokesman confirmed: “We remain committed to bringing an Asda store to Exeter and we are continuing to discuss several options, one of which is the possibility of a store on the site of the Exeter Deaf Academy.
“We are hopeful of progress as these discussions continue and we will keep the community updated on our plans as they move forward.”
Asda had previously described Exeter as one of the hardest places to develop due to the lack of available sites.
A spokesman said previously: “What we will do is make sure that when a contract is in place it is in the best site in the city.”
Jonathon Farnhill, chief executive of the deaf academy, added: “We continue to negotiate for sale of the site, but are not yet in position to make a full announcement or publicly name the parties involved.
“But I can say we are encouraged with discussions and very keen to have them completed as soon as possible.
“We have full planning permission for our new deaf academy and are very keen to get on with building it. We all share everyone’s enthusiasm to resolve this all as quickly as possible.
“The negotiations have been positive and encouraging and there is no cause for concern and no stumbling block.
“It is for the purchaser to declare a public interest if that is what it wishes to do. From our point of view we just want to resolve it as soon as possible so we can get on with our next chapter. We are very excited about the new plans.”