Tesco's 14th store in the Cambridge area is in Mill Road, Cambridge, one of Cambridge’s most cosmopolitan areas. The No Mill Road Tesco Campaign was set up to oppose these plans, and kept Mill Road Tesco-free for almost two years. Over 5,000 people signed our on-street petition and 1,000 objected to its planning applications. Tesco lost 3 planning applications, an alcohol license application and a public enquiry, leaving it with one of its smallest stores in the UK that it will have extreme difficulty in delivering to. The opening of the store brings the campaign into a second phase: ever-more active support for local traders, and making sure that any breach of planning condition or public safety results in Council action. Join our announcements mailing list to receive updates about the campaign.
Dear Mill Road Supporter,
As you’ve probably seen, Cambridge recently topped the list of Britain’s clone towns. There are still areas of the city where independent shops survive, but they are under pressure. We’d like to get together to discuss ideas about how the Mill Road area can be promoted and improved for local residents, and to support and encourage independent traders.
At present the Grand Arcade and the Grafton Centre get most of the attention/money/support from the City Council and there is a real need to get the council to focus attention on the Mill Road area as well. There are things that the council could do which would make a great improvement.
We’ve been talking to some of the local traders to get their views but we want to get as many ideas and as much support as possible. We will be meeting with local councillors to talk about what the council can do to help the area, and we’d like to know what you think. We care about our area and together we can improve it.
A meeting has been arranged at Ross Street Community Centre [map] at 7.30pm on the 14th October. If you want to protect independent trading in Mill Road and the unique area and community that we have, please come along and give us your views and ideas. We’ll also be giving an update on what the Milly Card Scheme and the No Mill Road Tesco campaign have been up to over the past year.
We hope to see you on the 14th.
The Mill Road Society
No Mill Road Tesco Campaign Committee
Milly Card Scheme
We are sad, but not surprised, to see that Cambridge is now the capital of clone town Britain.
Over the last few years we have all seen the way that supermarkets and chain stores have increased their grip on our small city, and the way that local, independent business have struggled with Cambridge’s sky-high rents.
Local businesses are part of the communities they serve, putting far more money back into them than the large chain stores, which drain money from local economies. Local businesses are often cheaper, too – a local greengrocers or market stall will sell fruit and vegetables at a fraction of the prices charged by supermarket convenience stores, for example, and often source food locally. Where there are thriving local businesses, everyone benefits; once they’ve gone, we can’t get them back.
Cambridge’s last MP championed the idea of an independent business zone but we have seen no progress on this interesting idea, and there seems to us to be a sad lack of official interest in stopping our city from losing even more of its character and the special benefits that local, independent businesses bring.
But thankfully this isn’t the whole story.
Many parts of Cambridge still have flourishing independent businesses and local residents that support them. On Mill Road, the annual Winter Fair is a wonderful reminder of the area’s diversity. On Mill Road, too, the Milly Card scheme shows how everyone benefits when local people and local business work together.
Last week, Cambridge made headlines as the home of the world’s best university. This week, it’s in first place on a list that no town wants to top. We hope that this embarrassment for our city will encourage officials and politicians to think seriously and creatively about ways to help local businesses and the communities that rely on them.
The council has launched a licensing policy consultation, which will include a review of the Mill Road cumulative impact zone (and other CIZs). The Council’s website states that “We need to keep these policies under review to assess whether they are needed any longer or whether they need expanding”.
The CIZ is part of the framework which governs alcohol licensing applications in the area, and aims to control the alcohol-related issues on Mill Road. Tesco’s application was recently refused, and applications from other retailers would undoubtedly face similar opposition given the presence of the CIZ at present.
If you want to comment, all the relevant information is on the City Council’s website.
The deadline for comments is 5 September 2010.
Responses must be e-mailed to email@example.com or posted to Cambridge City Council, PO Box 700, Cambridge CB1 0JH.
The Milly Card is Mill Road’s loyalty card scheme. The scheme is run by The Mill Road Society, an off-shoot of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign.
The Milly Card loyalty scheme exists to encourage people to use the shops and other services available on Mill Road, Cambridge, and the area around Mill Road.
The purpose of the scheme is to allow local residents to show their suport for local traders and for Mill Road traders to have the opportunity to respond generously. This scheme will encourage business profits and goodwill to circulate within our community for the benefit of all who live here.
Membership costs £2 per person. This gives a MILLY membership card, which, when presented to participating traders, will entitile the holder to special offers and discounts. The list of offers is available on the Milly Card website.
Use the Application Form to apply for a Milly Card.
For full details of the scheme, go to the Milly Card website at www.millycard.org.
The Milly stall in Hope St Yard for two hours on 16th May saw lots of interest and new sign-ups.
As we reported a month ago on February 25th, Tesco lost their attempt to sell booze on Mill Road – an area which is now a Cumulative Impact Zone (which creates an assumption against the granting of new licenses).
We have today (16th March 2010) received the formal decision notice from the City Council. Their e-mail reads as below:
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 15:55:33 +0000
From: licensing at cambridge.gov.uk
Subject: Tesco, 163/167 Mill Road – Appeal decision
To all persons who made representations to the above application for a premises licence.
We are pleased to tell you that the hearing of Tesco’s appeal against the Council’s refusal to grant a Premises Licence for the Mill Road store concluded on Thursday 25th February 2010 and the appeal was dismissed. This means that Tesco Stores in Mill Road is unable to sell alcohol.
Please find attached a copy of the formal written decision which we have now received from the Magistrates Court.
Cambridge City Council
A member of the public has pointed out on his blog that Tesco have removed a key part of their alcohol policy, just before the Mill Road licensing hearing began.
The text that has been removed is:
“A flexible approach to licensing: We do not apply for licences in areas with known disorder issues and we review existing licences where evidence emerges that late-night alcohol sales are contributing to problem drinking.”
Below is the evidence of this sneaky change. Click on each screenshot below to see the full version and read the changed text.
Before: Tesco’s current Corporate Page promoting its “responsible” attitude to the sale of alcohol:
[Note that the yellow highlighting is merely present because Google's cache highlights the search term used when finding the page.]
After: The same page before it was quoted as evidence against Tesco in their recent court action to be allowed to sell alcohol in one of its Cambridge stores in an area “with known disorder issues”:
The licensing appeal is in progress.
Tesco have proposed various conditions as a way of trying to get a licence – including not advertising alcohol on their windows. (This is somewhat ironic given that Tesco were caught only last month advertising wine in their Mill Road window, which attracted the interest of the regulatory authorities …)
We will update on the outcome of the appeal when we have it.
We have now heard that the date of the licensing appeal is 23rd – 25th February, to be held at Cambridge Magistrates Court.
We understand there are 18 witnesses in total.