Tesco Appeal Fund Press Release

David Buxton (ARA - Ashtead Residents Association - Treasurer), Gillian Russell and Quentin Armitage (Spokespersons for S.A.V.E.) and Paul Le Versha (Chairman of ARA). - Photography by Kenn Jordan

Founded 1945

Save Ashtead’s Village Environment





We have now achieved and slightly exceeded the target of £25,000 we set to enable us to employ a specialist planning advisor and a barrister to represent the Village’s interests at the Public Inquiry into Tesco’s appeals against the refusals to build a large supermarket on the former Esso site on the Street.

This is excellent news, as we now secured the services of the core team of professionals. Work is now well underway by our planning advisor (Geoff Douglass of Pelham Planning Associates) to prepare a detailed case and we have confirmed our booking of a specialist barrister (Claire Parry of 2-3 Gray’s Inn Square) to work with him in its presentation. In addition, we now have some flexibility to seek additional input from other experts who may be able to add additional comment upon some key aspects of our case.

There are several aspects of Tesco’s case which we believe are flawed and that the evidence they will present should be robustly and professionally challenged. We welcome the opportunity provided by the Public Inquiry. It provides a forum in which the issues can be addressed more fully than has been possible so far, which will allow an objective, informed and balanced decision to be reached. We are confident that, when presented with the full facts in a professional manner, the Inspector will be able to understand the reasons why the scale of the proposals made by Tesco is inappropriate for the site and would be detrimental to several aspects of life in the community.

We are very grateful for the support provided by the many local residents who have contributed to this fund and to the large number of local traders who helped to publicise the appeal for funds and to collect donations. This is clear and tangible evidence of the depth and strength of feeling for our Village. The desire to maintain its essential character, including the continued viability of the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall as “the place where Ashtead meets”, has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt. We believe that a strong case can now be made to the Planning Inspector.

Paul Le Versha, Chairman of the ARA said:
“I am quite overwhelmed by the speed and generosity of the response we have received. We are enormously grateful for the many generous donations and supportive comments.
These proposals raise a number of complex issues which deserve to be examined in a considered, balanced and informed way. I am increasingly confident that a very strong case can be made to the Planning Inspector to uphold the decisions made by Mole Valley District Council to refuse these applications.
The hard work now begins, as the detailed case is prepared for the hearing. Geoff Douglass is already hard at work on this and he is being supported by a number of volunteers with skills in key areas.”

Gillian Russell, representing SAVE said:
“A huge thank you to everyone who contributed. We are thrilled with the response. SAVE now has a strong team which is working hard to gain more evidence for the Public Inquiry. It will really help our case if as many supporters as possible attend for parts or all of the Inquiry which starts on Tuesday 20th July and may last for up to 7 working days, at Mole Valley District Council, Pippbrook, Dorking. There will be plenty of room for the public, so do please put the date in your diary now! Keep in touch with developments via www.SAVEAshtead.co.uk”