Get SurreyBy Guy Martin
July 28, 2010
A LAST-DITCH plea has been made by villagers determined to defeat Tesco as tempers flared during a public inquiry looking into plans for a store in Ashtead.
Groups and individuals claiming to represent most villagers have asked a government planning inspector not to allow either of the supermarket giant’s two applications to go ahead.
Tesco wants to build at the former Esso site in The Street and has had plans for stores with floorspaces of 989 sq-m and 750 sq-m rejected by councillors.
But the supermarket appealed against the decisions and both applications have now been put before the inspector in a public inquiry at Pippbrook in Dorking.
As the inquiry entered its second week, the strength of feeling over the issue was shown as Tesco’s barrister accused a speaker of questioning his professional integrity, while a trader claimed those supporting the plans had remained quiet for fear of threats.
Gillian Russell, founder of campaign group SAVE (Save Ashtead Village Environment) and a neighbour of the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall car park – which Tesco customers would use – has strongly opposed the plans.
Miss Russell said on Tuesday: “Despite what people outside Ashtead might perceive us to be, residents here have the psyche of villagers and we perceive ourselves as a very strong village community…