Tuesday, 15 May 2012 23:56

Tesco provokes trolleyload of protest

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The Tesco site in Chobham The Tesco site in Chobham

More than 800 people have so far signed a petition objecting to a Chobham shop becoming a Tesco Express.

If Tesco does open, Chobham will have two supermarkets because the Coop is planning to open a store in Bagshot Road.

It is well known that local stores are suffering from the abundance of large supermarkets. In the five years to 2002, 50 specialist stores including butchers, bakers, fishmongers and newsagents closed every week. In May 2005 the IGD revealed the loss of 2,157 unaffiliated independent convenience retailers. More statistics on the impacts of large supermarkets can be found on the website www.tescopoly.org

Objectors say Tesco’s store would be out of keeping with the character and look of the village Conservation Area and are worried about the increase in traffic and cars and delivery lorries pulling in and out the site near the village hall.

The proposed Tesco Express is in the flood zone, though the flood risk is officially rated low, and Tesco’s agents, CgMs Consulting, say they have addressed the issues in a flood risk assessment

There have also been at least 50 individual letters and objection forms to applications for alterations to convert the old Evitavonni designer interiors shop in Station Road into a food store. Surrey Heath Council has been struggling to post all the protest communications promptly on its website.

These have included strong words from Chobham Parish Council. Among the Council’s several concerns is the inadequate provision for parking and deliveries.

With the retail credentials of the premises well established, Tesco does not need planning permission to set up shop. It does, however, need approval for additional work includng a new shop front, a cashpoint machine, an external chiller, a rear canopy, plant equipment in a fenced yard, additional parking and paved area and bollards.

The village’s borough councillors have demanded that the applications are discussed by the development control committee, rather than simply being dealt with by planning officers

Tesco has already carried out some preparation groundwork and put up security hoardings but a Surrey Heath Council spokesman said that planning permission had not been needed

Tesco’s press office did not respond to our questions about their plans.

The Southern Cooperative Group says that Tesco's planned interest in Chobham will not deter its own plans for a new build Coop of 3,000 sq ft on the Hot Tubs site next to Chobham Museum at Bagshot Road.

There is no date for the start or completion of the building but the finished store will include an instore bakery and premium ranges such as Truly Irresistible. The Coop expects to create about 20 full and part time jobs in Chobham.

For details on the Tesco planning application, visit http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/planning/planningapplications/ and search for "Tesco". This will bring up a number of planning applications.

A Facebook campaign has been setup for "Chobham Against Tesco", visit the page for more details: http://www.facebook.com/ChobhamAgainstTescos

Jennifer Britt

Jennifer is a regular contributor to Chobham.Net and is also the webmaster of the St Lawrence & St Saviour Chobham Parish website.

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