More than 200 people attended a public meeting in Dawlish to debate whether the town needs a new supermarket.The meeting was called following proposals by Tesco for a supermarket at Sandy Lane and Sainsbury's interest in the Shutterton Estate.
Alan Connett, leader of the district council, said: "I was delighted to see so many people at the meeting who are concerned about achieving the best for Dawlish.
"The problematic issue of a supermarket for Dawlish has been under debate for several years and there now seems to be a view forming that residents do want a new supermarket and many expressed a preference for the potential site at Shutterton."
He added: "Teignbridge has already said that it wants to keep Sandy Lane as open space for leisure and recreation use and last night that view was very firmly supported by residents at the meeting."
Mike Hockin, chairman of the chamber of trade, said: "I felt the meeting was very positive. People are more in favour of a supermarket because the town centre is failing to provide good quality service and a range of products."
Speakers also included Tim Hale, chairman of the Devon branch of CPRE; Rosalind Prowse, Mayor of Dawlish; and John Wilkinson, of Dawlish Against Ruining Everything.
Teignbridge MP Richard Younger-Ross, who organised and chaired the meeting, said: "In the next few weeks I will be sending out 6,000 questionnaires to residents and will then present the results to the councils.
"If anyone wants a survey form, they can call my office on 01626 202626."