Local MP Jeremy Hunt chaired a packed meeting in Godalming on Saturday as local residents expressed their views on plans to open a Tesco Express in Meadrow. Two representatives from Tesco took questions from an audience of around 300 people, many of whom had marched through the town centre beforehand in protest at the planned store. The packed Wilfred Noyce Centre audience heard short statements from Councillor Steve Cosser from Surrey County Council, John Taylor from the Chamber of Commerce, Manisha Thaker on behalf of local shopkeeper Hari Patel whose newsagency is located right next door to the proposed site and from John Timothy Head of Regional Corporate Affairs for Tesco.
After receiving a completed petition of over 6000 signatures from Hari Patel, the lively audience posed a wide range of comments to the Tesco representatives. These ranged from concerns over road safety to the lack of need for a Tesco store at this site and the impact this will have on the much loved R&V Newsagent where Mr and Mrs Patel have worked hard for 25 years serving the community. Following the comments from the audience and the feedback from Tesco, Jeremy concluded the meeting by stating how proud he was that the community had stood up in support of Mr and Mrs Patel and he told Tesco that a high proportion of the 6000+ signatories on the petition would be potential customers and these people are clearly very concerned. It was evident from the meeting how strong the opposition to the plans is and Tesco have assured Mr Hunt that they will continue to work closely with the community to listen to their ongoing concerns and work with them to find solutions.
Jeremy said: “We are not talking about a small amount of opposition – over 6000 people have signed a petition and 300 people packed out the Wilfred Noyce Centre on Saturday. This community has genuine concerns over the proposed store location and I am so proud of the way they have thrown themselves behind Hari and Amita who have worked tirelessly for 25 years to serve the people of Meadrow. I am grateful to Tesco for attending the meeting and listening to the many comments but I hope they will have taken away a lot of food for thought about the serious concerns raised and think carefully about the next steps”.