Why has development on Toby Jug site get the green light this time?

“New planning laws gave Council no choice” — Ed Davey MP

A major new housing development for the huge Toby Jug site has got the green light, after years of battles. The plan includes 950 homes, with 285 affordable homes, and many more family homes than past plans.

Residents’ objections to previous plans for tower blocks of 18 storeys also led to big height reductions. New community benefits include a new doctor’s surgery, a children’s day nursery and £2.5 million for improvements at Tolworth roundabout.

Why development got green light this time?

“Local Lib Dems successfully stopped unsuitable development for years — from a decade of Tesco’s megastore plans, to the last plan for sky scraping tower blocks with few affordable or family homes. We were right to stop them.” said Ed Davey MP.

“But new planning laws from Government and London’s Mayor gave Kingston Council no choice this time — especially as this new plan had taken into account many of people’s previous objections.”

More to fight for:

“I’m glad we won much more affordable housing for young people and local families,” said Alexandra Councillor Sam Foulder-Hughes.

“But there’s more to fight for. We must ensure people’s concerns on traffic and congestion are listened to and we get major improvements to public transport, including Tolworth’s train station and services.”

Plans for Toby Jug site can be seen at www.formergovernmentofficestolworth.co.uk

Battles fought over this site

2004  Tesco acquired old Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food site — “the Toby Jug site”
2007  Tesco withdrew plan for a huge foodstore and nearly 700 homes, after major opposition.
2009  Tesco withdrew plan for a larger store with 562 homes, after major opposition.
2014  Tesco (Spenhill) withdrew plan for super store, hotel and nearly 300 homes, after campaign.
2017  Spenhill plan for 705 homes, with towers up to 18 storeys rejected by national Planning Inspector.
BUT Inspector’s 2017 report gives green light for future larger development, citing new national and regional planning law and policies — which Kingston Council has to follow.

Campaign history — the facts

A decade beating plans for a Tesco store.
Liberal Democrats and Ed Davey MP are proud we fought off massive development plans for the Toby Jug for nearly 15 years — despite Tesco’s deep pockets. But in our fight against Tesco, planning law was on our side. The Lib Dem Council had zoned the site for housing and community use. So - with residents - we took on Tesco, arguing a superstore would create far more traffic and air pollution than housing. And we won! But we got no help from the Conservatives.
And still we fought off huge towers!
The problems stopping future plans started when Tesco gave up on the idea of a superstore — and kept to planning law. But even then Lib Dems and Ed Davey didn’t give up. We opposed the first non-retail proposal — because the massive height of the buildings of up to 18 storeys. But by then Kingston Council was run by the Conservatives — and there was (briefly) a Conservative MP. Both made mistakes.
The Conservatives’ mistakes.
At a planning enquiry held on the last planning application in 2017, Tory-run Kingston Council decided not to back their own decision to refuse! The then Tory MP didn’t even turn up to object, despite claiming he was opposed. Unimpressed, the Inspector ruled even denser housing would now be OK, citing the London Mayor’s plan. If today’s Council had ignored his judgement, developers would have appealed and won — costing Council taxpayers a fortune.

Making the development work for Tolworth and you:

The challenge now is to make this plan work for Tolworth and you. So we want views and ideas please!  


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