Plan to build Tesco on Kingston pub site was 'developer's threat against council' (From Surrey Comet)
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Plan to build Tesco on Kingston pub site was 'developer's threat against council'
Supermarket giant Tesco will not open a store in a disused pub in Kingston – despite a developer’s claims to the contrary.
The vacant Richmond Park Tavern, in Kings Road, is the subject of a planning application which would see the building knocked down and six homes built in its place.
But in a letter circulated to councillors in July, applicant Krish Kugananthan expressed concerns the proposal would be turned down due to the loss of the pub – and said the alternative was to lease the site to Tesco.
The letter, seen by the Surrey Comet, reads: “As owners of site we have two options, firstly, the preferred option, is to develop the site to include six houses as outlined in the current application.
“The second option is effectively our fallback position and involves leasing the site to Tesco Express to be used as a local Tesco store.
“Clearly we need to make a commercial decision whether to build six houses or lease the space to Tesco. Negotiations are in the final stages and agreement will be triggered by a decision to refuse the current planning application.
“This would be unfortunate because it remains our view that a large retail unit in this location would do more harm to local small business and would result in a change in the character of the area.”
But the supermarket has now confirmed it has no interest in developing the site.
In an email to Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith, Tesco’s Roberto Munoz wrote: “I wanted to confirm we are not currently looking to build a Tesco at the site of the former Richmond Park Tavern Pub in North Kingston.
“Tesco is not currently involved in any way with this location. If we were to consider this site or any others in the neighbourhood, we would fully consult you and local residents.”
Mr Goldsmith said: “Of course we do need to stay alert at all times to large developments as they will always attract interest, they are not always appropriate, and the consultation period is often inadequate.
“However the anti-Tesco petition was based on rumour not fact, as a cursory enquiry to the company has demonstrated.
“It appears the developer used the threat of a new Tesco to bully the council into accepting a proposal for the site without going through the democratic process.
“I hope now the council will respond accordingly, and I will make that point to councillors.”
Canbury councillor Andrea Craig said: “As elected representatives, we must listen to the voices of residents before making our decision on applications.
“We were appalled to be given an ultimatum and I am glad we now have clarity from Tesco's on this matter.”
Mr Kugananthan was unavailable for comment.