The Streatham Hub development was a key issue for business leaders quizzing Streatham's parliamentary candidates at a pre-election debate.

Support for small businesses, regeneration, calls for more town centre manager powers, more parking, and the threat to small businesses posed by the proposed new Tesco store dominated the local agenda at the hustings held on Monday, April 12.

Neelofar Khan, owner of Chilli Chutney, chaired the debate between the four parliamentary candidates for Streatham in her restaurant in Streatham High Road.

Rahoul Bhansali, the Conservative candidate, said he believed in the “power of the pound" in light of the arrival of Tesco.

Green Party candidate Rebecca Findlay said she was anti-Tesco due to the effect it would have on small businesses and the Green Party would not have allowed the supermarket giant to come to the area.

Chuka Umunna and Chris Nicholson said the best way to support local businesses concerned about the arrival of Tesco was to talk to them, find out their concerns, and work with them to solve them.

Mr Umunna added the supermarket could act as an anchor to bring more shoppers to the area from which local businesses could benefit.

Mr Nicholson said a lack of car parking in Streatham High Road could be improved by Transport for London pushing forward with a scheme to add more parking bays near the Odeon cinema, while Mr Umunna and Ms Findlay said improved public transport would help keep shoppers in the area.

Mr Bhansali said he would lobby TfL to change its attitude to short stay parking of less than 10 minutes.

Business rate relief for residents was a key issue. Mr Nicholson said more needed to be done to provide business rate relief to small businesses reeling from a 15 to 20 per cent hike in rates.

Mr Umunna admitted business rates needed to be looked at.