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 who said the scheme does not take into consideration the effect on the A3 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”. Councillor Vicki Harris 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.
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.
However, Golsa Ameri, from Scope charity shop, disagreed and said a new supermarket and gym would be positive for Tolworth. 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.
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, who lives opposite the proposed site, criticised Tesco for trying to whip up support for the site from residents outside Tolworth. Christy Campbell, who lives in neighbouring Sunray Road, said shoppers would stop coming to the Broadway if Tesco was built.