Proposals for two large supermarkets in Barnstaple have been recommended for refusal by a council committee.
Devon County Council's Development Management Committee, which met yesterday at County Hall in Exeter, believes plans for an ASDA store at Anchor Wood Bank and a Morrisons supermarket at Braunton Road could have an adverse effect on the vitality and viability of Barnstaple town centre.
The committee was also advised that both developments could cause severe congestion on surrounding roads.
ASDA say it is very disappointed with the decision which it says could jeopardise regeneration and employment opportunities.
Although the county council's committee can only make recommendations to North Devon Council, the decision would bolster NDCs case to refuse either application.
Both applications are due to be decided at a special North Devon Council planning committee meeting on December 19.
The development management committee's decision has been welcomed by Barnstaple's two county councillors Brian Greenslade and Chris Haywood.
Both councillors spoke at the meeting and encouraged members to support the recommendation for refusal.
In a joint statement the pair said: "It is now five years on since the opening of the Western Bypass relieved Barnstaple of its status as "the home of the traffic jam".
"Two large Supermarkets at the north and south end of the Taw Bridge will effect traffic flows across the whole highway network.
"We already see traffic stacking up at times of the day along Fairview, Braunton Rd and on the Taw Bridge.
"To add to the current traffic volumes, to build further traffic signals into the network will force traffic to build up on Rolle Street and Mermaid Cross pushing Barnstaple back towards the congestion we used to experience prior to the opening of the Western Bypass.
"At this time of austerity the town centre is struggling anyway without further competition from more out of town shopping opportunities."
ASDA spokesman Lucie Brailsford said the company was not invited to speak at the meeting and is very disappointed by the decision.
She said: "We have been working with Devon's highways team since March 2011.
"All of the evidence we have provided to officers indicates that the proposed Anchorwood Bank development would not have a severe impact on the local road network - either in comparison with existing conditions or versus the planning permission that has already been granted on the site.
"We were not invited to speak at the Committee meeting and were therefore unable to make our case directly to Councillors before a decision was made.
"Anchorwood Bank is an incredibly important site to the town and this decision could put this and any future regeneration proposal and the jobs and investment they will bring to Barnstaple in jeopardy.
"We hope North Devon Councillors will consider all of the evidence when they come to make a planning decision on December 19."