After the Surrey Comet revealed Tesco planned to sell its land in Tolworth, speculation has been rife over who will now be given the task of persuading residents their vision is best for the district.

The buyer of the site has not yet been revealed but rumours have suggested it could be another retailer.

Below, we consider the possibilities. Scroll down for more.

After news broke of the impending sale, Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis told a Kingston Conversation meeting: “I believe the Tesco Tolworth site has been sold off but we need to wait for the owner to make this publicly available, which is some weeks off.”

The retail giant had planned to build some 700 homes on the site, including a 21-storey tower block which had faced much resistance from borough residents.

The development would also have seen junction improvements on the A3 roundabout and an extension of the 281 bus route.

This was the fourth application the company had submitted for the site, having bought the land from the Government in 2002 by private treaty.

Surrey Comet: Plans: Tesco store, hotel and flats were discussed by councillors and residents

For how long will the land look like this?

In March, Tesco announced plans to start selling off land earmarked for development after it was hit by a £263m accounting scandal and a dramatic drop in profits.

Kingston and Surbiton MP James Berry had not known about the sale, but said he hoped new buyers would submit a sensible planning application.

He said: “I didn’t like the plans for the site. That land is a prime location and has always been earmarked for housing. We need a sensible application that we can get behind.”

The planning application submitted by Tesco still stands and is expected to be debated in a future development control committee meeting.

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Liz Green said: “Tesco realised they were never going to get a superstore on there.

“Maybe they wanted to get planning permission [for housing] then sell it as it would be worth more money.

“I think the Tesco application is too tall and too dense. It squashes too many properties on to that site and the amount earmarked for affordable housing was pretty dismal.”

Surrey Comet:

Dennis Wilson, who lives in Hook Rise North, said: “I would like to see a mix of housing and community facilities.

“What I don’t want to see is a high-rise. Going up is going in the wrong direction. I hope whoever has bought the land will realise that.”

Councillor Richard Hudson, chairman of the development control committee, started a Tolworth Deserves Better campaign against the proposed development, meaning he will not be able to vote on the planning application if it makes it to committee.

He said: “There is still a live planning application for the site so the issue surrounding development is still there.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We will update the local community when in a position to do so.”

  • Who is buying Tesco’s land?


Surrey Comet:

Lidl announced in July that it would be building its UK head office in Tolworth after agreeing a £10m deal with Kingston Council for land in Jubilee Way.

There was speculation that the German discount supermarket chain could have bought the land, seeking further expansion in the borough, but these claims appear to be unfounded.

A spokesman for Lidl said: "I can confirm that we have not purchased any additional land in Tolworth."


Surrey Comet:

Back in January the Comet reported that Swedish furniture giant Ikea had held talks with Kingston Council to discuss potential locations for a new superstore in the borough.

The flat-pack specialist confirmed the company was looking at potential sites in south-west London as part of its expansion plans - and council leader Kevin Davis confirmed Kingston was on the company's radar.

But Ikea’s plans appear to have fallen flat.

A spokeswoman for Ikea said: "We have not purchased land in Hook Rise South and are not currently considering a store in Kingston."

CNM Estates?

Surrey Comet:

Kingston-based development company CNM Estates already owns one iconic Tolworth property after it bought Tolworth Tower in 2014.

The company is also behind Tolworth's Red Square development and Surbiton's Plaza II.

Chairman Wahid Samady said his firm was not the mystery purchaser and was putting resources behind Tolworth Tower expansion.

Mr Samady said: "I hope the new buyers will take into account all the views of the public."

St George?

Surrey Comet:

St George is the company behind the controversial Old Post Office development in Kingston town centre.

The company’s attempts to put a high-rise residential block in Ashdown Road, which started off at 21 storeys and has now been reduced to 16, have been met with huge opposition.

A spokeswoman for St George said: "To my knowledge we have not bought any additional land in Kingston and have no plans to do so."

Kingston Council?

Surrey Comet:

In 2014 the Liberal Democrats put forward a petition to the council asking it to compulsorily purchase the land to prevent any further applications for large supermarkets.

However, a purchase of such a large piece of land seems unlikely for cash-strapped Kingston Council.

Coun Liz Green said: "I don’t think we have the money. It would be great to finally see houses on the site; they should have been there years ago."

Conservative Alexandra ward councillor Richard Hudson added: "I just hope the new owners put in a sensible application."

  • Timeline:

2002: Tesco buy the land from the Government.

2006: Tesco release plans for an 89,000 sq ft superstore and 662 flats in 12-storey high blocks. The company also propose an airport-style travelator bridge across the A3 from Tolworth Broadway and claim the development would be "completely sustainable".

2006: Tolworth residents form a campaign group against the Tesco development and the council ask for the company to revise its plans.

2008: Revised proposals for a superstore and 562 homes are released by Tesco.

2009: The revised application is submitted to Kingston Council in February but withdrawn by the end of April after Tesco admit it would not meet traffic management requirements in the area.

2010: Tesco announce a third, mainly residential, development plan that would also include a retail store and a hotel.

2012: Tesco submit an official planning application to the council.

2014: In February, less than 24 hours before a vote by the development control committee, Tesco withdraws this application.

2014: In March Tesco announces it will no longer attempt to build a supermarket on the site and the development will be completely residential. Plans are unveiled showing a 23-storey apartment block.

2015: A planning application for a 705 housing block ranging from three to 18 storeys, a doctor's surgery and bus interchange is submitted to Kingston Council.

2015: In September the Surrey Comet reveals Tesco has sold off the land.