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Who is buying Tesco's Tolworth land? We analyse the contenders as the borough reacts to the news

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. 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.

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.

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

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.

Who is buying Tesco’s land?

Lidl? 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.

Ikea? 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.

CNM Estates? 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.

St George? 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.

Kingston Council? 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.


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