"Listen to us" was the message from dozens of angry campaigners at a rally held in Epsom town centre on Saturday.

The demonstration, sparked by dismay over the station development, was attended by a coalition of groups determined to oppose any further "carbuncles" in the historic market town.

The crowd carried banners to "Save Epsom", outside the old police station in Church Street, and MP Chris Grayling addressed the gathering, alongside Tina Mountain, who is coordinating the campaign.

Speaking after the rally, Mr Grayling said that Saturday had been a positive start to what he believes will be a well-supported campaign.

He said: "There was a lot of commitment to the development of the campaign at the rally and it was a very encouraging start.

"The mood is that we want to seize back control of the future design of Epsom.

"I am not persuaded of the need for a supermarket on Upper High Street and if the plan for that site and for the old police station goes ahead, that will be another bit of Epsom which will be turning into a tunnel with large buildings on each side like the station.

"Epsom and Ewell council needs to take a pause and look again at the planning guidance for the area."

Residents’ Association councillors Neil Dallen and Clive Woodbridge have reacted to claims that the council has little control over inappropriate developments in the town by pointing to Plan E - an action plan developed by the council for the town centre in 2011 which sets out a vision for Epsom.

But Mr Grayling said the campaigners, who carried "Scrap Plan E" banners, are unconvinced and want to set up a neighbourhood forum to help rework the council’s local plan for the area.

He said: "With regards to Plan E, those individuals and groups which are involved with the campaign are not convinced the council has got it right.

"There has been talk by councillors of national planning guidelines and the planning inspector allowing developments on appeal, but the changes brought about in the Localism Act earlier this year place greater weight on a borough’s local plan and make it far harder for developments to be allowed on appeal.

"The Act also encourages neighbourhood planning and the creation of a neighbourhood forum - under which we can help develop a local plan for Epsom to keep its character."

He added that the campaign is not driven by political motivations and "is less likely to be effective if it was party political".