Campaigning to curb supermarket power

Tolworth, Kingston

Tesco bought the site from the Government in 2002 and worked up plans for the site. Ironically, the site had been used by the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries and had mostly single-storey barrack-style buildings on it. It emerged at the public meetings held in November 2006 that Tesco purchased the site by private treaty and the site never entered the open market. The local authority, the Royal Borough of Kingston, made it clear in the Planning Brief for the site that it was deemed that a retail store would in no way be considered to be acceptable for the site.

The planned development included a new 89,000 sq ft superstore (with 52,000 sq ft retail floorspace) and 662 flats in blocks 12 storeys high. The site, known as the Toby Jug site after a famous pub that previously stood there, and found in the A-Z as Hook Rise South, is next to the A3, a road believed to be the most heavily used non-motorway road in the UK.

Tesco made strong claims for the sustainability credentials of its proposals. The development is dubbed "The Bridge" because it proposed to build a new pedestrian bridge across the A3 from Tolworth Broadway to the new development, thus circumventing the existing pedestrian subways at the Tolworth junction maintained by Transport for London.

The bridge would have had an airport-style travelator in order to help people get up onto the bridge from the Broadway side, which is where the commercial activity is currently centred. Tolworth Broadway currently (early 2007) has a lot of independent traders including a fruit and vegetable store, a butcher, cafés, a chemist, an electrical shop, a photo-processing shop, and an opticians as well as a small Boots Chemist, a Marks & Spencer store and a Budgens supermarket. There is also already an Iceland supermarket, a Tesco Express in the Tolworth Broadway shopping centre, and a large Tesco Extra just 3 miles away along the A3 in New Malden.

What Tesco left out of its brochure is any mention of traffic and how that might affect the local area. It didn't mention how many car parking spaces they intended to provide for the shop and for the flats. Neither was there any discussion about how the Tesco store would affect the trade in nearby independent shops.

Tesco indicated that it would be prepared to pay for the removal of a pedestrian safety guard railing that is currently down the centre of Tolworth Broadway and to replace the pedestrian subway with a pelican crossing. What it neglected to say was that Transport for London is funding the Royal Borough of Kingston to do this in any case. It said that by doing this, and by providing more on-street car parking on what is the main route from the A3 to Kingston town centre, it could "encourage people back to Tolworth to shop", but said nothing about what this would do to traffic congestion and delays to buses.

Residents wrote to the local newspapers expressing concern about over development and in particular the pressure on health and education services in the area if the population increases by the projected 2,000 inhabitants.

United Kingdom
51° 22' 53.4648" N, 0° 17' 25.6236" W
London GB

Campaign Updates
Tolworth, Kingston

20 June 2016
Renewed plans to build 705 homes

Developers faced a grilling as they presented renewed plans to build 705 homes on Tolworth’s Toby Jug site – more than a decade after designs first surfaced. European investment firm Meyer Bergman aims to build the homes on the site in Hook Rise South near Tolworth station. It will also build a doctor’s surgery, nursery, convenience store and 356 car parking spaces.It presented its second planning application at a Development Control Committee pre-decision meeting at the Richard Mayo Centre, in Eden Street, last night. A previous application was rejected in March due to its “scale and density”.​

6 September 2014
Tesco planning 700 homes on Toby Jug site
12 March 2014
Tesco announces it will apply for housing on site
4 February 2014
Tesco withdraws plans


3 February 2014
Planning officers recommend refusal
1 June 2012
New application submitted

Spenhill, the regeneration arm of Tesco, submits a planning application for a 35,000 sq ft store, hotel, gym and 269 new homes. Read the planning application here.

1 November 2010
New application mooted

Tesco came forward with a new application which replaces the previous two applications. This latest application is for around 250 homes, which is about half the number that had been proposed before.  The proposed Tesco store is also around half the size of the previous application.

22 April 2009
Tesco withdraw again.

Tesco withdrew the application, a day before a public consultation meeting was scheduled.

1 February 2009
New application submitted

Tesco submitted new plans for a mixed use development comprising 562 dwellings & retail store (13,662 sq m) with 889 basement parking spaces, D1/D2/A3 Community/Leisure/Restaurant Use (2,581 sq m); remodelling of Tolworth roundabout with vehicular turning lanes, signals & associated highway works including new pedestrian/cycle routes and parking; sustainable energy systems and landscaping.

20 February 2007
Tesco withdraw application

A public planning consultation forum was held in November 2006 at which the local MP spoke against the plans. The meeting was so full that a second session was held. On both occasions the overwhelming view was one of opposition. A decision was expected by the Council in March or April, but Tesco announced on 20th February 2007 that it was withdrawing its plans for Tolworth.

For further information, see the TROD campaign website, and read local press coverage of the story, and of Tesco's exhibition of its plans. See the original planning brief, and read articles about the pollution problem in Hook Rise this year and last year

1 October 2006
Tesco publish pamphlet

Tesco published a 4-page pamphlet showing illustrations of its designs and identifying the proposed development as "The Bridge".