Campaigners braced for fresh fight against Tesco's Tolworth plans
7:00am Friday 15th June 2012 in News
Campaigners are readying themselves for a fresh fight after Tesco submitted a revised plan for a giant superstore.
The supermarket chain bowed to public pressure and withdrew an application to develop on the old Toby Jug site in Tolworth in April 2010 – but submitted a revised plan this week.
Surbiton and Kingston MP Edward Davey, who led the opposition to the last application, has been joined by campaigners and traders in vowing to fight the plans.
Tesco said they have consulted with Transport for London on the impact on traffic, nearly halved the proposed size of the store and promised more than 250 jobs.
But the proposal has failed to impress Mr Davey (below) who said the scheme does not take into consideration the effect on the A3 roundabout.
He said: “From what I can see the plans do not look significantly different from the one we fought against in 2010.
"I am bitterly disappointed that, despite widespread opposition from residents last time, Tesco has failed to offer up anything significantly different.
"Despite the reduction in size it is still a large supermarket, there are still not enough affordable family homes and above all this proposal still fails to understand the effect on traffic on the Tolworth roundabout.”
The company argue the development would strengthen Tolworth’s position as a shopping destination, improve connections across Tolworth roundabout and attract new retailers.
However, some traders fear loss of business and residents fear the creation of a “Tesco town”.
Tony Fletcher, corporate affairs manager at Tesco, said: “Following the public consultation we undertook last autumn it was clear that, where people had concerns, they focused on traffic and highways.
“We have put a lot of work into analysing the road network and have come up with proposals for a set of improvements – which we will pay for – so that the network can accommodate the additional usage and shorten average journey times.”
Councillor Vicki Harris (below) campaigned against the plans alongside groups such as No to Tesco in 2009.
She will play no part in the decision making as she lives close to the site and is deemed to have a prejudicial interest, but has vowed to fight the application.
She said: “Tesco have learned nothing from last time round. They seem intent on banging their heads against the wall.”
Reaction Traders along Tolworth Broadway were split over Tesco’s plans for a new superstore, with some struggling shop owners planning to campaign against the bid and others claiming it will attract new customers to the area.
Najid Al Hashim, who runs Rose Cafe and Bakery, said he expected trade to drop off by about 20-30 per cent if the application was successful.
And Siva Ruban, manager of Best Foods, said he would be writing to the council to protest.
He said: "If Tesco comes here it will be bad for business. All the shops on this road will lose out.”
However, Golsa Ameri, from Scope charity shop, disagreed and said a new supermarket and gym would be positive for Tolworth.
She said: “It will bring more customers to the area and it will increase my sales, plus Tesco’s prices are cheaper than M&S and Iceland so we could have good quality at a cheaper price.”
Callum Ripley, manager of Charles Sirrell and Sons hardware and DIY store, also welcomed the news and said a new superstore would bring in extra customers.
He said: “It won’t affect us so much because Tesco doesn’t really sell the same things that we do, apart from light bulbs. Hopefully, Tesco would be a good thing.”
People living close to the planned development fear their voices will be lost in the clamour from shoppers for a convenient new superstore.
Councillor Rolson Davies (right), who lives opposite the proposed site, criticised Tesco for trying to whip up support for the site from residents outside Tolworth.
He said: “They talk of support for the plans and of course people living in places like Epsom and Long Ditton will be rather pleased about having a convenient superstore just down the A3.
“But those most adversely affected by this development, people who live in Tolworth, will have to live with this horrible Tesco town on our doorstep.”
Christy Campbell, who lives in neighbouring Sunray Road, said shoppers would stop coming to the Broadway if Tesco was built.
She said: “Tesco will drive small business on the Broadway to ruin because they simply can’t cut prices like Tesco.”
Alison Cosgrove, of Elgar Avenue, echoed these concerns and said she hoped the application would be refused.