Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath, was informed last Thursday that Tesco no longer plans to open a new Express store in Lightwater.
Tesco had originally applied in 2010 to build a store on the Guildford Road site, a plan which was met with much opposition from local residents.
The site has remained undeveloped and an eyesore ever since, and last year Michael and local Lightwater Councillors pressed Tesco for certainty about the future of the site.
Michael received a response from Tesco last August confirming it was committed to opening this store in Lightwater.
Tesco revealed last week, however, that its plans have now changed. An email from a representative stated:
‘As you may know, the market conditions in the retail sector continue to be challenging and this means we have to carefully consider the investments we make to ensure we continue to serve our customers better. In this context we have conducted a detailed review of our plans for an Express store in Lightwater and have taken the difficult decision to not continue with developing the store.
I am sorry that we have not been able to deliver the investment that we intended. I appreciate that this news may be disappointing to people in the local community, however I can assure you that this is a decision that we have not taken lightly.
I am aware of the importance of the site to local people, so we intend to begin marketing the land so that it can be brought back into use as soon as possible. I know that local residents will want the site to be kept safe and secure. In the last few months we have arranged for repairs to the fencing panels to ensure the security of the site and we will continue to monitor this.’
‘I shall be pressing the Council for their views on the future of the site.’