Protesters against a planned Sainsbury’s store in Berrylands claim a piece of the borough’s racing car history will be lost if the building goes ahead.

A planning application for the shop and five flats on the site of the petrol garage at 118 Raeburn Avenue has been submitted to Kingston Council.

But campaigners claimed the building should be protected because of its connection to the famous Cooper racing garage.

Car making legend John Cooper rented the garage in the late 1940s and started to build his racing empire there, before moving on to the famed Mini Cooper garage in Hollyfield Road.

Raeburn Avenue resident Peter Bell said: “The cars were tested up and down the road. These were not the Mini Cooper cars. These were big racing cars.

“Stirling Moss was spotted a few times testing the cars. “The building has a great history and it would be a real shame to lose it and see it demolished.”

The old Cooper garage in Hollyfield Road, often referred to as the birthplace of the Mini Cooper, is also up for sale.

Teenager Kyle Stanger received support from across the world when he started the Save the home of the Cooper campaign in May and urged the council to list the property as a community interest site.

A commemorative plaque was fixed to the Hollyfield Road building last month. The application by Kent-based company Kal-max Properties shows plans for a three storey building with a supermarket on the ground floor with provisions for car access, parking, and landscaping.

Agent Barry Kitcherside said: “All the information about the building and planning history is available on the [council] website.

“Residents can make comments about the application there.”

Comments on the proposal close on October 16.

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