Mikesh Parmar’s Londis store, a Best One and a Martins all look to be under severe threat from a 42,000sq ft Asda planning to open a hundred yards away from them. That’s on top of the 15,000 sq ft Asda already trading at the end of the village of Sheerwater (pop: 3,500) in Surrey.

He rang because Asda had invited the shopkeepers to a meeting and he wanted to run over his checklist. Asda had already had its public meeting and Mikesh thinks it is a done deal because the councillors have a vision of renewing the village (and underground car parking is promised with 280 spaces plus 400 new jobs). The local mood seems 50/50.

The meeting went okay, but Mikesh says they just kept coming back to a sort of mantra: “Your customers have a choice it will be good for your business.”

He doesn’t think so.

Well, it isn’t over yet. Local businesses will have to work hard to win over a few councillors (it’s something of a ‘hung parliament’ at the moment) to their arguments. Above all, they need to stress that the money spent in Asda will not stay in Sheerwater, whereas money spent at local businesses, to a large part, will circulate in Sheerwater.