The weekend, outside the proposed Tesco site, a group of singers from the Campaign sang songs celebrating local communities around the world. Thanks to all who took part!
Archive for 18th February 2008
Note: We contacted the Cambridge Evening News to correct them on the very misleading title of this article and to inform them of omissions in the reporting.
CAMPAIGNERS against a Tesco in Cambridge have been dealt a cruel blow by a Government watchdog.
The Competition Commission has approved supermarkets’ expansion plans sparking fears that Mill Road will become a ‘ghost town’ if Tesco opens a store there.
A national inquiry was launched following concerns that supermarkets are becoming too powerful.
They were accused of using below-cost selling on products to ensure that smaller rivals could not compete.
But the Commission concluded: “UK grocery retailers are in general delivering a good deal for consumers.”
It decided that more supermarkets will be needed to extend competition to maintain high levels of service.
The move is a kick in the teeth for the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign. Tesco has three planning applications for an express shop in Mill Road.
Emma Lindsay, of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign, who kick-started the protest after discovering the supermarket giant’s plans for the street famed for its unique shops, said she was saddened by the decision by the “toothless watchdog”.
She said: “I am not happy about it. I think the commission should have taken into account the impact of Tesco on small shops like we have on Mill Road. Tesco could destroy the place as we know and love it if it opens there. It already has more than 50 per cent of the grocery market in Cambridge.
“It is very disappointing but the fight will go on. I don’t think the people of Cambridge will give up lightly.”
But the watchdog is proposing some measures to curb the major retailers’ power. A supermarket ombudsman to protect suppliers from bullyboy tactics will be set up.
And a “competition test” will be established to aid councils who are responsible for supermarket planning applications.
It would give local authorities the right to favour applications from supermarkets which would provide competition to dominant stores.
But a spokeswoman for Friends of the Earth said: “The competition test will do nothing to help local shops or to promote real retail diversity.”
The Campaign to Protect Rural England said the proposals would effectively allow the big four to carve up Britain’s grocery market between them.