Housing proposed for Tesco Express site

Tesco applied for planning permission to develop 89-91 Guildford Road in Lightwater in 2010. Yes, it was that long ago. You can see the history of the site HERE.

In June of this year Tesco cancelled their planned development for a Tesco Express format convenience store, and put the land up for sale. The purchaser of the land has a planning application 18/1009, for the erection of 3, three bedroom and 2, two bedroom houses together with associated access, parking and landscaping.

The site plan, see below, makes maximum use of the available space for housing. It’s pleasing that the development is for housing and not high density flats.

I still wonder about the provision for parking in the development. With 13 bedrooms and just 10 parking spaces I think parking pressures are obvious. Being generous in the likely occupation, I could easily see 16 people in the properties. With five properties and perhaps as little as two visitors by car that makes a need for 18 potential car parking spaces. It’s easy to imagine the parking overflow to elsewhere in the village centre.

I have no fundamental objection for housing on the site, even though my preference would have been for more retail/food outlets in the village – maybe a bistro or suchlike. I think fewer properties on the site would therefore be preferable. Click on the image to link to the planning application.

The once planned Tesco Express site is being marketed

There’s an estate agent poster, from Brasier Freeth, on the hoarding around 89-91 Guildford Road, what was once an intended Tesco Express store.

Brasier Freeth have a web-page marketing the site as an investment or development opportunity. No price is mentioned on their website. Their site description includes this sentence,

It is considered possible the site may lends itself to residential or retirement housing, subject to the relevant consent.

Neither of these are wanted by local residents. If perhaps it became a bistro I’m sure that would have residents support. Fancy, we once had a DIY/hardware store in the village, only to be replaced by Tesco land-banking the site for years. What a waste.

Tesco’s Express store in Lightwater scrapped

The report of Tesco scrapping their planned Tesco Express store in Lightwater is contained in the Friday issue of The Villager, and on Michael Gove’s website.

There’ll be many residents in Lightwater quietly pleased by this development, though MP Michael Gove, extensively quoted in The Villager’s article on the topic, is disappointed over the decision.

Some may’ve wanted a Tesco Express, me not so. Heck, I’ve argued long and hard at planning application meetings that a store of this kind was not needed in Lightwater. Now, if we could have a car park, that’d be high up on my agenda.

Lightwater is noted, particularly by residents, for having one of everything. We may not have the most attractive village centre, this is countered by us having a Post Office, supermarket, coffee bar, hair salons, barber, Cook shop, petrol station with an M&S Simply Food, independent butcher, newsagents, Boots the Chemist, Pharmacy, library, bookmaker, car sales site, dry cleaner, fish & chip shop, variety of food take-away’s, funeral provider, and of course an obligatory number of estate agents. So, my case has been that a Tesco Express was not needed.

In The Villager, it indicated Michael’s support for the store, not sure if that’s true, as he was pressing Tesco for a decision on their intentions, bearing in mind Tesco’s original planning application was in 2010. Yes, that long ago. Need to know more about the saga, then look HERE.

Request rejected for extension to opening hours for proposed Lightwater Tesco Express

While idly trawling the minutes and agendas of Surrey Heath Planning Committee I came across this item, reported in the minutes of the 14th December Planning Committee.

What an arrogant and insensitive organisation are Tesco. In the original application by Tesco, now many years ago, opening hours were restricted. Not hugely though. The restrictions were in recognition of the troubling anti-social behaviour resulting from the extended opening hours of Alldays [now the Cook Shop]. At the time its late opening attracted people seeking cheap alcohol.

This isn’t the first time that Tesco has sought to extend the opening hours. It’s a relentless approach by them to get their way, irrespective of the history and concerns of the local community.

Here’s the minute item from HERE.

Application Number: 17/0730 – 89 -91 Guildford Road, Lightwater GU18 5SB

The application was for the variation of condition 3 of planning permission SU16/0520 so as to allow the retail unit to be open to customers between 07:00 and 23:00 hours Monday to Saturday, and 07:00 and 22:30 hours Sundays and bank holidays. (Additional information recv’d 18/10/17).

This application would normally have been determined under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation for Officers, however it was reported to the Planning Applications Committee at the request of Cllr Gandhum.

The agent proposed an amendment to the application at the meeting but this could not be considered by Members as it diverted from the published application before them. Resolved that application 17/0730 be refused for the reasons as set out in the report of the Executive Head – Regulatory.

  • Note 1: As this application triggered the Council’s Public Speaking Scheme, Mr Matthew Roe, the agent spoke in support.

  • Note 2: Councillor Surinder Gandhum declared he had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest as his business was located opposite the proposal, and he left the Chamber during the consideration of the application.

  • Note 2: The recommendation to refuse the application was proposed by Councillor Adrian Page and seconded by Councillor Katia Malcaus Cooper.

  • Note 3: In accordance with Part 4, Section D, paragraph 18 of the Constitution, the voting in relation to the application was as follows:Voting in favour of the recommendation to refuse the application:Councillors Nick Chambers, Vivienne Chapman, Edward Hawkins,Jonathan Lytle, Katia Malcaus Cooper, Max Nelson, Adrian Page, RobinPerry, Pat Tedder, Victoria Wheeler and Valerie White. John Winterton. Voting against the recommendation to refuse: Councillor Colin Dougan

Tesco’s reply to Michael Gove’s letter

As promised, I popped along to the Lightwater Post Office to enquire whether Surinder had received a copy of a letter in reply to Michael Gove’s enquiry about Tesco’s intentions in Lightwater.

Here’s the reply. Looks like more objections will result, re parking provision for flats, and opening hours that were restricted in the last planning application.

Michael Gove seeks to discover Tesco’s intentions for its Lightwater vacant land site

I wrote HERE on July 4th 2013 that the planning inspectorate had approved Tesco’s plans for a Tesco Express in Lightwater. Some building materials were delivered to the site in June 2015. Since then, nothing. [photo taken in June 2015, no change since]

Lightwater is a vibrant village centre, all we’re missing is an eatery and a bank. Oh, sorry, we did have a bank and an Indian restaurant, or was it Chinese. That’s so long ago now, I forget.

I said I’d planned to write to Tesco about their intentions. However, a comment from Speedicus Triplicatum, on THIS article, suggested I speak with our estimable postmaster, Surinder Gandhum.

That I did today. Surinder tells me that he spoke recently with Michael Gove about the situation with Tesco Express, and that he has a copy of the letter that Michael has written to Tesco.

Good on Surinder for his tenacity, and Michael for taking on the issue. Guess we’ll continue to have to wait on Tesco.

A big day, No.3 of 3

Quelle surprise! I’m quoted on the front page of the Camberley News & Mail.

No longer being a borough councillor or Mayor, I’d not imagined that my name or what I’ve said would be worthy of the front page of the local newspaper. Heck, even the words on my blog are part of an article in the Camberley News and Mail about the imminent commencement of work to build a Tesco Express store in Lightwater.

I’m happy to be quoted, the contents of my blog are public domain. I don’t even copyright my photos, mainly because I’m a simple happy snapper, not a photographer. Well done to the press for focussing on little ‘ol Lightwater.

One small point, the article in the New and Mail has a photo that’s a few years old. Below is one I took today. Still no sign of work commencing, though Tesco have confirmed their intention to build a Tesco Express. Click of the images below to expand.

Tesco Express to commence building in Lightwater in March

The planned Tesco Express store in Lightwater has remained in a state of suspension for three years. The site is an eyesore, and hasn’t added to Lightwater’s ambiance in any way at all.

I learn, from a reliable source that Tesco is intending to recommence building at some time in March. It remains a surprise to me, and I believe others too, that a village which already is well served by M&S Simply Food, Co-op Food store, George Arthur Butchers, and the Cook Shop will contain enough custom to support a Tesco Express store. Ah well, we’ll find out when the store opens.

Supermarket update: planned Tesco Express building date

In the previous post I reported on the progress of the new The co-operative food store in Lightwater, being refurbished from the Duffy’s Budgens store.

Building materials arrive at Tesco Express siteWhile this change from Budgens to Co-op will be accomplished in about a month, the Tesco Express store has waited for building to start since April 2014. Heck, the planning process for the Tesco Express store began in March 2011.

Can’t be said that Tesco is showing much respect to the citizens and village centre amenities of Lightwater while the building plot remains an eyesore. Our postmaster informs me that Tesco’s new date for the building project to commence is spring 2016. No news on when they expect the store to open.

Building materials arrive on site of Tesco Express in Lightwater

There’s hardly been any movement on the building site for a Tesco Express in Lightwater for well over a year. I gave a flurry of reports in April on the progress on the building site – reason for delay, Tesco’s need to save money, and Lightwater store not in list of closures or cancellations.

I’ve been informed that Lightwater residents have observed the delivery of building materials to Lightwater’s Tesco Express building site. Being a curious bod, I’ve looked through the fence in Coyne Close, and confirm that it’s true, newly arrived pallets of bricks and steelwork are visible, as can be seen in my photo. No return of the builders cabins so far, so it could yet be a quite while before the store opens.

Building materials arrive at Tesco Express site