SAVE is an Independent Non-political Campaign Group, which works to help preserve the Village Environment and Character of Ashtead. The views on this website & in our publicity material are those of SAVE alone, we do not represent the views of any other group or organisation.

Some Good News About Tesco


Friday 3rd October 2014

Working Together For Ashtead - from left to right: Glynis Peterkin (Ashtead Residents Association), Chris Ellis (Transition Ashtead), Gillian Russell (SAVE) and Caroline Cardew-Smith (TA and SAVE), in front of the Tesco site, September 2014

Working Together For Ashtead – from left to right: Glynis Peterkin (Ashtead Residents Association), Chris Ellis (Transition Ashtead), Gillian Russell (SAVE) and Caroline Cardew-Smith (TA and SAVE), in front of the Tesco site, September 2014
Photography by Kenn Jordan



After many months of talking with Tesco about the site their new representative, Jack Pearson, recently met with representatives of SAVE, Transition Ashtead and The ARA (Ashtead Residents’ Association). As a result Tesco agreed to make the front 40% of their derelict site in the middle of Ashtead Village available as a community space/garden, until they start building.

Tesco have agreed to:

  1. Fence off the front 20 metres of the site for public use
  2. Level the site and clear weeds
  3. Remove the gates and chain linked fence at the front of the site
  4. Retain and repair the brick planter across the frontage to act as a barrier
  5. Provide 7 new, raised planters with compost ready for planting by Transition Ashtead and other local groups
  6. Install 2 3-seater benches in front of the planters, with probably a wood chip pathway

Tesco have not given a date for when they intend to start building the store, but it seems that it will not be for several years and it appears that the date keeps getting pushed back.

Numerous comments have been sent to the SAVE website making the case for the site to be used instead for housing/small retail units.

This could only happen if:

  1. Tesco sold the site on to a developer, or
  2. The site was compulsorily purchased by the Council for another developer.

SAVE’s official position supports either of these options. Please continue to make your views known to us via the web site. However unlikely both these options may once have seemed, given Tesco’s currently diminishing fortunes, we can only conclude that the future of this site is still far from clear, and surely anything could happen?

In the short term, however, we hope that Tesco will proceed to develop the community space asap.

I will keep you posted of any developments.

Remember you can post any comments on this below.

Thank you,

Gillian Russell
B.A, M.Sc. (Oxon.), CQSW, M.Phil. in Town Planning
Spokesperson for SAVE – “Save Ashtead’s Village Environment”


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Lawrence November 2, 2014

Sorry but if you nosey dogooders with nothing better to do with your lives hadn’t interfered with the original process we would have had a supermarket on this site by now, instead of a derelict rat infested monstrosity. You tried to interfere with Tesco at Lower Ashtead and lost but since it went ahead the shops have improved for the good. So please get a life and let Tesco , Waitrose, Sainsburys, Aldi , Lidl or whoever build on this plot as all the surrounding shops will benefit

Thank you


Janet October 28, 2014

I do commend the SAVE group for their efforts but Tesco is really being let of the hook if the front part of the site is made into a planted community space. Although the eyesore has been removed it doesn’t solve the problem that Tesco should either develop the site or sell it on. Ashtead residents deserve better in their high street than a few plant pots and seats. Maybe we should stop using the Lower Ashtead store as a protest!


Andrena Brent October 18, 2014

Wouldn’t it be nice if this Tesco derelict land could be made into a nice park area with flowers, landscaping and trees where it would be somewhere to relax and also where the workers of Ashtead could go and eat their sandwiches rather than sitting behind a desk. In one of my very first letters to the Council some 6/7 years ago when this subject started to rear its ugly head I had suggested this idea rather than Tesco get their greedy hands on it. I’m afraid I never got a reply from the council to my idea, but then the council must have received hundreds of letters at the time.

Just airing my views really.

Andrena Brent


Linda & Graemr October 10, 2014

Congrats on yet another achievement! With the work that’s planned – to improve the village – let’s hope there will not be similar delays from Tesco!!


Ian October 6, 2014

Hopefully the Council will buy back the land from Tesco and do something constructive with it. Anything is better than another Tesco!!!


Lucy August 27, 2014

I would suggest that the idea of a public garden/play area at the front of the site would greatly benefit the area. If housing could be put behind this, the people that lived there could use the garden/play area at the front, as well as other existing local residents. It would help bring the varied parts of the community together.


Sarah August 20, 2014

Sheltered housing, with small independent shops and perhaps a modest public garden would really enhance the area and help to support the local businesses. The site has been empty and ugly for too long.


Dale Askew August 4, 2014

Thank you for all you are doing in support of Ashtead


Richard Inns July 22, 2014

The CPRE is running a campaign requesting photographs of brownfield sites suitable for housing development. Photographs can be sent by email to


Trish Brown July 19, 2014

I have just read in the paper that Tesco are planning to build houses on sites they had originally planned a new store. They are obviously not able to build as many new stores in the economical climate today. I agree with others that what Ashtead really needs is a complex of new smaller dwellings suitable for first time buyers or older people downsizing. Lets keep pushing them for this and get this ugly site sorted. It would be great for the village.


Judy Smale June 29, 2014

Sounds like a great idea to get the site used for something that better fits Ashtead and the needs and wants of the local community. Housing with smaller shops would address the traffic concerns , would alleviate housing issues and also could be designed to meet sustainability targets. Part of the reason the other plans got passed was based on historical precedence rather than current policy ( re sustainability) – we need to make sure that businesses and building are doing all they can for the environment – new plans would allow this to happen – I do hope this is possible


cornelia June 27, 2014

It would be great to see some small shops with affordable housing built instead of another Tesco. The land has lain idle for too long and it is time for Tesco to sell it on. The houses or flats could be surrounded by some nice landscape gardening. This would enhance the village


Marsaili Finlay June 13, 2014

Tesco may never build on this site. They have a policy of holding land vacant for years. I agree it would be a good plan if developers could buy this site for sheltered housing and a few independent shops along the front of the site.


Jane Hibben June 7, 2014

It would be great to see some small shops with affordable housing built instead of another Tesco. The land has lain idle for too long and it is time for Tesco to sell it on.


A Ryder May 22, 2014

Ashtead has always been a village with a distinct community identity, a Tesco store will do nothing to enhance this identity, in fact most likely it will cause irreparable damage to it, what is needed on the Tesco site is affordable housing fronted by suitable shops in character with the rest of The Street.


Caroline Wood May 19, 2014

I am standing this Thursday to become Councillor Caroline Wood for Ashtead Village and the Tesco site is at the top of my agenda. I would like to get the site valued and approach some developers, to see if they would consider putting in an offer to Tesco to purchase the site. Given an offer Tesco may consider selling in the light of all the political uncertainty that the General Elections and possibly the European Referendum will bring next year.
This proactive approach may just tip Tesco into selling and I think it is worth doing in earnest.
It is likely that the development under a new owner would be quite a few flats with some local shops underneath on the High Street.
Another item high on my agenda that would benefit trade in The Street is to allow Ashtead Residents 1 hour free parking at the Peace Memorial Hall. Many thanks, Caroline


Sue June 11, 2014

I think it’s a great idea to get the site valued and see if someone is willing to buy it to build flats/houses for elderly people in particular, who could then be able to have a fully interactive, more independent life as they could walk to the shops so that they wouldn’t be so cut off and lonely.
A place where we could all go and sit and enjoy life passing by. A nice garden to sit in whilst shopping….
One of our visitors said that Ashtead would be a great place for an upmarket coffee/tea shop.


Justine May 18, 2014

The country needs more housing, not more supermarkets.


Lisa Coombs May 16, 2014

I agree with the all of the below comments- The empty site should be used to enhance the pretty village and benefit the community in an attractive housing build rather than another shopping facility.


caroline cardew-smith May 15, 2014

Tesco profits are not what they were, and maybe they will never build but just sit on the site which is awful for Ashtead. A much better solution would be residential especially either sheltered or flats for older people, and affordable housing which we could definitely do with – housing is a real need, not yet more shopping. A communal space for a garden and place to meet would be a great focus for the village. There is a great Co-op already and other good independent shops.


Lindsey Russell May 14, 2014

Tesco are dragging their heels (and a good thing too, I say!). To my mind the site would benefit the community more if it were designated for housing, perhaps sheltered accommodation with a warden; residents would then have easy access to the shops. With retail outlets beneath. The housing could be sympathetically designed to blend in with the other buildings in the Street, thus preserving the village-like character of Ashtead.


Linda Walker May 10, 2014

I also agree that the site, at the moment, is an eyesore and has been for some time. Tesco may never build on the site so something needs to be done.

Affordable housing/flats with a few retail units at the front would be my choice and would be in keeping with the village.


Peter Donelan May 7, 2014

Encouraging news. The former site of the Esso garage has been empty for too long and I really hope that it can be used for the community’s benefit.


Ruth Sawtell May 3, 2014

I agree with the previous comments about the importance of trying to get an alternative use for the site. Tesco might never develop the site and it is a blight in the middle of the village. The idea of getting a developer involved to build a mixed housing development with some affordable housing is a good one, as this is a much more appropriate use. Affordable housing in the village is needed much more than a new Tesco.


Sarah Davis April 28, 2014

Should Tesco decide against building on the site, alternative proposals could be considered: it could be used for a few small retail units at the front with the rest of the site taken up by much needed residential accommodation. This proposal would be in keeping with the present streetscape and Ashtead’s village atmosphere.


Mary Donelan April 19, 2014

As an Ashtead resident for almost all of my 48 years I would be very encouraged to see the old Esso site put to good use now. I do feel it has been empty for a long time and this is a waste plus its not helping the general look of our village.
I am very much in favour of some affordable housing/flats being build perhaps with some retail area. I for one would even consider moving into such a development especially if it was right for me!!
Looking forward to the developments that await us.

Miss Mary Donelan, Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead.


Mell Fraser April 18, 2014

Tim, Blanche and all the other cynics (me included),

I totally agree that Tesco should not be trusted an inch, especially since their results show they are still making massive profits. No doubt an accounting miracle will make all their land bank values level any dips in future profits during the next few years. Having this site as an eyesore for several more years would be awful.

According to Mary Portus, the small shop is making a revival, which begs the question of why would Tesco want yet another store competing with itself only half a mile or so from an existing store? Does anyone have any ideas about how to go about finding a developer who might be interested in approaching Tesco and developing the site with several small commercial units underneath and flats above.

As an idea, would it be possible to make this development a community project with local people investing in a new local company to develop this piece of land jointly with an independent developer? Since everyone has had an opinion about this site for a very long time, perhaps we should try and take some responsibility ourselves and turn this site into something we all want.

Tim, I totally agree with your statement regarding Tesco’s. Big business is cut-throat and nasty and Tesco’s are probably one of the most cut-throat entities. Having worked for a global corporation, I know the only thing any main Board is interested in is profit and our local environment is never going to be something they would dream of considering. Words are cheap and their PR people are as slippery as eels!


Sarah April 15, 2014

Would it be amazing for a developer to approach Tesco with a viable offer and allow Tesco opt out of Ashtead for good… I’m not convinced that ‘affordable housing’ exists for most in a real sense, however sheltered/supported housing might work well for that site?

That might help ensure the future of quality, affordable shops and the odd free parking space in Ashtead too!


Ginnie Wollaston April 14, 2014

I would like to echo support for the recent views on the website to suggest that ‘affordable housing’ could be developed on the Tesco site with ‘smaller shops to the front’.

I like the idea of ‘a developer – with funds’ to approach Tesco directly – but wonder who might be interested in this? The idea of providing housing not just for first time buyers but also sheltered housing for the elderly population would be ideal for The Street and provide an appropriate boost to the local economy.

I also think it would work in a sustainable way within the levels and resources of the village Ashtead. What seems so important at this stage is to emphasise that building a large scale Tescos is totally inappropriate to the needs of the local residents and scale of Ashtead.

The capacity and capability of the village to host a large scale Tescos with the negative impact of increased local traffic, car parking and lorry loading and unloading needs to be repeated again and again.

This delayed timescale of development until November 2015 allows breathing space for an alternative plan and offer to Tescos to developed – so please lets consider this suggestion more fully.

In the meantime a commemoration garden seems brilliant – but temporary – so maybe there needs to be in the garden a space and place for people to plant their dreams for the use of the space – so that real plans/ models can be displayed and viewed. 100 years looking back could be the opportunity to create visual dreams of 100 years into the future – alternative plans can be made and developed in this way!

Ginnie Wollaston


Chris Hunt April 10, 2014

Thank you Gillian for the update.

Several people have suggested that the site needs to be developed before the consent ends, and not form part of a land bank…and from the open meeting organised by ACV as well as some of the copy letters I have received I know that the idea of affordable housing with smaller shops to the front may be popular.

I wonder if a developer – with funds – might approach Tesco on this? If not, is there any support for the Council seeking a commercial partner for a compulsory purchase, to regenerate The Street and provide needed housing, given the push by the Coalition Government to promote the economy. Presumably there will be other retailers or developers who can get this site developed sooner than the current owner. Does anyone know what Tesco’s timeframe is?

In the meantime I think that the front of the site, if that is the available area, could be a great area for a special temporary ‘Centenary Garden’ to make the 100 years since 1914 and I wonder if the Woodland Trust might be interested in setting up a ‘fund-raising’ centre – eg a temporary caravan – as a focus for the plans to plant the centenary forest in nearby Langley Vale?? It would draw people to the site, and be far better than having fenced-off gravel in these special years.

If Tesco were to allow such a use it might go some way to gain the supporty of residents and placate those whose businesses are struggling with an empty site year after year.


Blanche Douglass April 9, 2014

Tim Blythe ..You may be cynical, so am I. This is almost certainly what they will do.
It is highly unlikely that any one of us would ever trust them an inch. However we must wait and see.
In the meantime lets turn the site from an eyesore to a feature we can all enjoy.


John Rowley April 8, 2014

Perhaps we should have nominated this site for housing, specifically affordable housing!


Tim Blythe April 8, 2014

Is it just me being cynical or do you think Tesco’s are deliberately letting their planning permission lapse so they can go in for a new planning permission for a bigger store?

I don’t think the Ladies and Gents at SAVE should so readily believe the representative from Tesco’s, after all Tesco’s is one of the most cut throat organisations around.


Leave a Comment