Jeremy Hunt chairs Godalming Tesco Express meeting

Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt says there are fears over pedestrians' safety if the store is built

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Health Secretary and South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt has chaired a public meeting over plans for a Tesco store.

Organisers of the meeting said about 300 people attended, including those campaigning against a new Tesco Express on the site of the Wey Inn, Godalming.

Campaigners say the store would be too close to a roundabout, a junior school and a newsagents, which would suffer if the shop was opened on the site.

Tesco said it believed the community's questions could be answered.

A spokesman for the supermarket chain said: "We were very pleased to be at the meeting, listening and learning."

Before the meeting, about 200 people walked along Godalming High Street before joining the meeting in the Wilfred Noyce Community Centre, said organiser Manisha Thaker.

'Local loyalty'

Hari Patel, whose newsagents is next to proposed site, said he had "grave reservations" about the store.

"Tesco Express will be in direct competition with me but with the added ability to offer price promotions which I cannot compete with as an independent retailer," he said.

Godalming Chamber of Commerce said independent local businesses must be protected.

Mr Hunt, the Conservative MP for South West Surrey, said before the meeting: "I am glad that Tesco are sitting up and listening to the local community's concerns.

"It is important that they are aware of local loyalty to Hari and his business and the genuine fears over pedestrian safety."

The Tesco spokesman said the company would be working with Mr Hunt's office on the proposed application.

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