"Tesco won't hurt Tolworth businesses'
The Tesco development in Tolworth will not put small traders on the Broadway out of business, according to Matt Magee, the man with the job of convincing residents and traders to back the superstore’s new proposal to build on the old Toby Jug site.
Traders in direct competition with Tesco, such as the Best Food mini-market, fear being swallowed up by the supermarket chain, a claim denied by the corporate affairs manager who thinks the plans will boost trade.
Speaking from his offices in the heart of London, 14 miles from where his employers are hoping to build 35,000sq ft of multipurpose development, he said: “The sad truth is people are not shopping in Tolworth, which is why shops on the Broadway are struggling.
“After listening to concerns from businesses and residents the development is scaled down, which means it will be almost entirely a food supermarket.
“People will be able to come to Tolworth, park for free and, as well as doing their weekly food shop, explore the other shops in the area.
“This will make Tolworth a more desirable place to shop and encourage investment.”
Responding to claims from Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey that the site would add to traffic congestion around the A3 roundabout and along the Broadway, he said the proposal would not lead to gridlock.
He said: “Purely from an economic point of view we would not be investing in an area where traffic would prevent people from wanting to shop.
“We cannot operate a store where no one will come.”
Mr Magee also promised the 250 jobs that will be created at the site, which will include a gym and hotel, will go to residents from Tolworth and the surrounding area.
He said: “We are in a time of recession, yet Tesco wants to invest in Tolworth – there will be new jobs, new homes, new facilities and a great place to shop for the people of Tolworth.
"“We have worked hard to make this the best possible development for everyone in the area and are confident we have got the right scheme.”