Save Ashtead’s Village Environment
JOINT PRESS RELEASE 20th January 2011
TESCO IN ASHTEAD
PARKING QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS
The ARA and SAVE has received a very strong response to a questionnaire seeking residents’ views upon the provision of car parking in the Village centre and whether in principle the development of a smaller supermarket in the Street could be acceptable. We received 2252 responses and it is clear that there remains a high level of public interest in Tesco’s proposals.
This action was taken as a result of the planning condition set in the permission granted to Tesco last year to build a supermarket of 750 square metres at 53-57, The Street:
“No development … shall commence until the District Council has confirmed in writing that it has made arrangements for the relocation of the existing 74 long stay parking spaces in the Peace Memorial Hall Car Park and that all 181 proposed parking spaces shall be short stay spaces to be retained thereafter.”
As a consequence Mole Valley needs to consider what action could be taken to meet this condition and whether it wishes to do so. We believe that it will be far better placed with clear evidence of the community’s current views.
The results have been presented to Mole Valley District Council and have been well received. Councillor James Friend, The Leader of the Council sent his thanks to “everyone involved in collating this representative set of opinions from Ashtead residents.”
1. Parking Provision
The results for all questions relating to parking provision were very clear, with opinions being close to unanimous.
- 97% thought that “MVDC should continue to provide long stay parking in the Village”
- 99% considered that “the APMH car park should continue to meet the needs of APMH users, other shoppers, business users and visitors”
- 91% agreed that “long stay parking needs should continue to be provided in the APMH car park.”
There is consequently clear evidence of an overwhelming wish to maintain the current mix of long and short stay parking provision in the Village and to safeguard the interests of all current users of the APMH car park.
2. Development of the Site
If the long stay parking condition is not met for a store with 750 sq. metres of retail floor space, alternative proposals could be made, subject to a fresh planning application.
“In principle” views were therefore sought about this possibility.
- 67% agreed that “a smaller store could be acceptable” but
- 78% supported the proposition that “any new proposal should be restricted to a convenience store”.
These results are consistent with the view we expressed during the planning process and suggest that a smaller store could offer a “win-win” outcome, which could complement existing traders’ activities and provide a more sustainable solution, whilst maintaining the essential character of the heart of the Village.
We consider that the results obtained provide a clear indication of current local opinion upon key issues. In the event that Tesco or any other applicant were to approach the Council with any alternative proposal, these responses provide a guide to actions which would conform with residents’ preferences.
Paul Le Versha
Ashtead Residents’ Association
(Save Ashtead’s Village Environment)
Paul Le Versha, Chairman of the ARA said:
We were delighted by the strong response received and the very clear conclusions. Public opinion has already played a very important role and I believe that it could now be critical.
These results provide further evidence that the views of Ashtead residents remain strong and clear.
We are greatly encouraged by the stance adopted by Mole Valley District Council and believe that it has a genuine wish to act in the interests of the community. This will hopefully now be supported as events unfold by the approach outlined in the recently published Localism Bill.
We have consistently held the view that Tesco’s proposals are significantly too large for the site and that the availability of parking is a critical issue. Should Tesco wish to develop this site, in my opinion it needs to undertake a major reappraisal of what would be suitable and to start listening.
Gillian Russell, representing SAVE said:
“A huge thank you to everyone who completed our questionnaire. Given that Tesco own the land, SAVE would only support a much smaller store akin to an Express size, with parking provided on-site for staff, delivery vehicles and some customers, contained wholly within the old Esso site, with no change to the current car parking arrangements in the village. We believe that this is the only size that would enable Ashtead’s varied parking needs, which include those of The Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall, to be met along with the needs of any new store. SAVE greatly appreciates the strong support of James Friend, Leader of Mole Valley District Council and Chris Grayling MP, both of whom, along with all our Ashtead Councillors, represent the true face of local democracy“