Traders present petition against Tesco Metro in Ashtead Village
Civil war has broken out between traders over Tesco’s controversial plans to build a new Metro store in Ashtead.
A petition against the plans has been submitted to Mole Valley Council signed by 45 businesses, including 24 businesses in The Street where the new Tesco Metro would be located.
It was handed over to planners on June 14 by Roger Palmer, owner of Palmers Deli Cafe; Tyron Patterson, manager of Greenwise Greengrocers; both in The Street, and John Bates, owner of Ashtead Fisheries in Rectory Lane.
The petition, which calls for a smaller store with on-site parking, said it was written to "balance the views" expressed by Bryan Elphick, chairman of the Ashtead Village Traders Association (AVTA) - who it said has given the impression that most traders in Ashtead Village support the application.
But Mr Elphick, who said a majority of AVTA members support a new Tesco, said he had spoken out "to balance the views of the SAVE campaigning group which is adamantly against the Tesco in its present form".
Mr Palmer said some AVTA members did not feel their views were being represented and that AVTA also only represents about 50 per cent of businesses in The Street.
The petition stated: "There are businesses who signed this petition who are members of the AVTA so even within the AVTA there are those who do not want this store.
"The impact of Tesco on both Lower Ashtead and the village traders should not be ignored in the belief that Tesco provides a quick fix to a number of traders who support the scheme."
The petition has also attracted signatures from businesses in other retail areas it said will be "significantly affected" including Craddocks Avenue and Barnett Wood Lane - with 11 and 10 businesses having signed from each.
Acknowledging that AVTA does not represent all the traders in the village, Mr Elphick said: "The majority of AVTA members, who are traders in The Street, are in favour of the store being developed as soon as possible because of the level of economic activity in the village.
"It needs the extra footfall."
He said he was "quite surprised" that as many as 24 businesses in The Street had signed the petition but there were still a "fair few signatures from those not in The Street, who are not the people I represent".