Residents packed out a public meeting last night to express their anger at proposals to move fire and ambulance stations out of Epsom and replace them with a food store.

About 100 residents went to Epsom Methodist Church on Monday, January 30, to hear the council present its proposals for the development of land at Upper Street, Church Street and Depot Road.

With a consultation process due to come to an end on Friday, February 3, it has drawn up three ‘options’ for the future of the land, which is owned by up to 12 different organisations, sparking anger and frustration amongst residents.

All three options centre on the provision of a food store of around 2,000sqm with varying levels of housing, retail units and parking, including the possibility of a multi storey car park.

But many residents felt a food store was inappropriate and unnecessary and were frustrated that there were no options to have something other than a food store on the site.

As part of the plans emergency services, currently based in Church Street including the fire station and ambulance station, could move to other parts of the borough.

One attendee said: “This seems to be driven by the idea that we have to have another retail centre. Everything else is then going to be moulded accordingly.”

Another added: “We don’t want multi storey car parks and I would like to see emergency services remain in Church Street.”

Others complained of the apparent lack of communication from the council on the consultation with one attendee saying: “The only reason I knew about this meeting was a letter came through my door last Friday. It’s a huge issue which affects so many of us. It’s hard for us not to be cynical when you get so little time to comment on something like this.”

Speaking at the meeting Karol Jakubczyk, planning policy team leader, said: “We have got some options. There’s an opportunity for you to comment on the options. If you want to say I like part of option one and part of one or two that’s ok. The council will listen. This is a genuine consultation and that’s why I’m here.”

He added: “The council want to see something happen on this site for the benefit of the town centre. We are not in this for the money. There’s not going to be that sort of money for the council. That’s the blunt answer. But there are other land owners who are in it for the money who have a desire to develop their sites.”

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Julie Morris, leader of the Epsom and Ewell Liberal Democrats, said: “There was another consultation years ago about this site and the majority view then was a food store was needed but not a hypermarket - in other words something like a Tesco Metro. The reason that a food store is needed is that Upper High Street as a shopping parade is failing. Upper High Street needs to be regenerated and it needs to have a reason for people to go there. A food store fronting the Upper High Street will do that but that’s the only place a food store can go and only if more people will be attracted to Upper High Street. The traders are really keen to have a food store there. Hopefully the brief will become a legal document and will inform future planning applications. What it does is make it easier to control totally inappropriate development."

To view the consultation documents visit or view copies at the Town Hall and at Epsom Library.

You can email your comments to or send them by post to Planning Policy, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Town Hall, The Parade, Epsom, Surrey KT18 5BY.

All comments must be received by 5pm on Friday, February 3.

A final recommendation document, based on comments received, will be published later this year.