Tesco have just announced that they will be submitting a new Planning Application – their 3rd proposal – early in 2012.

The good news is that they have NOT found the extra 74 parking spaces needed to build their 2nd proposed store (750 square metres retail space ) passed at the Public Inquiry in 2010 subject to this parking condition. This proves that SAVE (Save Ashtead’s Village Environment) and the ARA (Ashtead Residents’ Association) were right to oppose it on the grounds that it was still too large for the village.

We believe it is great news that Tesco has finally been forced to listen to many of our main concerns given that they intend to build. Their 3rd proposal is for a TESCO METRO, a style of store that lies someway between a Tesco Express and their larger stores.

Tesco have indicated that their proposal would:

  1. Leave the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall Car Park exactly as it is, with control maintained by Mole  Valley District Council. This represents a MAJOR VICTORY for the village following the SAVE/ARA Car Parking Campaign earlier this year!
  2. Only a front entrance onto The Street. There would no longer be a back entrance directly onto the Car Park, which would have drawn shoppers away from the other village shops. SAVE’s concern has always been to support our local traders and try to increase footfall into the village. Another MAJOR VICTORY!
  3. A basket only store. No large, noisy trolleys outside the store, but small ones within it. Another MAJOR VICTORY!

However it is disappointing that Tesco are only reducing the overall size of the store by less than 10% of the size of proposal number 2. It will be approx. 690 sqm. of retail space (to be confirmed) which is two and three quarters the size of Tesco Express at Craddocks. There will still be 9 flats built above it, although their parking spaces will be within the Tesco site. Tesco argue that because it is a basket only store, the demand for parking will be considerably reduced compared to their 2nd proposal.

SAVE will be meeting with Tesco in January to see and discuss their plans in detail.

We want there to be full, effective Public Consultation BEFORE Tesco submit this application. There are several important issues to be covered including:

  • Ensuring that the store meets Sustainability Standards. (Tesco were granted an exemption from these for their previous applications – we need to ensure that this does not happen again).
  • Ensuring there are acceptable plans for lorry size, frequency and access. Lorries will present a significant problem for neighbouring properties and the traffic flow through Ashtead.
  • Ensuring that a basket store does result in reduced traffic by exploring traffic plans.
  • Ensuring that any proposal MUST have limits set on future expansion. We must make sure that Tesco cannot break any conditions on which any plans are accepted.

Remember you can contact us here or post your views below.

This news has been announced in the Leatherhead Advertiser.