AFTER 14 years, an intervention by John Prescott, thousands of complaints and a collapsed tunnel, one of the most divisive and controversial chapters in Gerrards Cross' history came to a close this week.

On Monday, November 29, Tesco finally opened its doors to customers, and despite the many dissenting voices in the village, the new shop was flooded with visitors throughout its first day.

The shop in Packhorse Road opened at 8am, and there was a large crowd waiting to get in, and within hours the store's new 307 space car park was nearly full.

Michael Kissman, Tesco's corporate affairs manager, said: "It's fantastic for everyone who has worked on this project over the years to see the shop finally open.

"There's been a great response today from the public, and you only have to look around to see how popular it is.
"We've had people in the shop from the word go, and everything has been really positive."

The opening was marked with a £2,000 donation from the supermarket to the Gerrards Cross based Leonard Cheshire Disability charity, and representatives from the group met with store manager Lizzie Field to receive the money.

Ms Field said: "We recognised the impact the road works for the store had had on the residents' ability to get out and about in Gerrards Cross.

"Despite this, we have always had a great relationship with the group which is why we felt so strongly about supporting them."

The first shoppers at the site were greeted with a free glass of champagne or orange juice, as well as a Tesco Gerrards Cross bag for life.

Ken Walker, a resident of the village who has long supported the project, and has written to the Advertiser with his views, said: "It's great to see the shop open its doors. I've got no doubt it will improve the village.

"It's an innovative project, and has widened the pavement along the Packhorse Road bridge which is a great thing.
"I'm sure all the dissenting voices in the village will stop now."

Shoppers in the new store were impressed by the development, with many praising the range of food and helpfulness of the staff, saying that they were sure they would become regular visitors to the site.

However, some residents remain opposed to the project.

Gordon Willis, 53, who had been shopping in nearby Fisher's supermarket, said: "There's been a huge fanfare this morning, but I really people aren't taken in by it and that other businesses don't suffer.

"We don't want to see Tesco dominate this village. In time, this could be seen as a very sad in the history of Gerrards Cross."