Comments on revised delivery proposals

[These were our comments on the proposal to deliver to the back of the site, which went to the Council Officers on 20th December 2007, several weeks before they issued their first (incomplete) report in January 2008.]

Response by the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign to Tesco’s revised delivery plans for the proposed store at 163-167 Mill Road

Tesco have submitted a revised proposal for deliveries to their intended store at 163-167 Mill Road (letter of 13 November 2007, ref: JM/LW/8283, enclosing drawing SP03). We have the following comments (a summary is given at the end):

1. Tesco are now saying that they wish to deliver to the back of the site, accessed from Sedgwick Street. In order to do this, it appears that Tesco are asking for a section of the street to be made two-way (the street is currently one-way), so that they can drive down the street from Mill Road and reverse into the car park/delivery area at the rear of the site. Changing part of a one-way street to two-way in a residential area adjoining a junction with a busy road (Mill Road) raises significant safety concerns in respect of pedestrians crossing the street, as well as cyclists and car users.

2. The plan to deliver to the back of the site will cause the removal of all non-disabled parking spaces on the site. This will breach the existing permissions on the site (ref C/71/0826), which require that

The loading and unloading area and parking spaces shown on drawing no 71/258/1 shall be permanently maintained for that purpose.

The original plans Tesco submitted already breached this permission by greatly reducing the car parking space; clearly to remove all but one disabled space is to totally disregard the permission attaching to the site. Given the greatly increased volume of traffic and the huge increase on pressure for car parking places in the area since 1971, these conditions obviously cannot be dismissed as obsolete. As a result, we do not see how their removal could reasonably be approved, especially given that the store and the cash-point will so clearly attract customers arriving by car (as can be seen from the number of observable visits by car to the Lloyds bank cash-point, and as Tesco’s comments regarding customers taking the bus to visit the store necessarily implies).

3. The removal of all but one (disabled) parking space will remove the car parking spaces of the accountants on the floor above the proposed shop and the spaces used by the estate agents at 169 Mill Road. Even ignoring the significant car parking requirements of staff, visitors, and customers to the shop, this would force 5-6 additional cars into the surrounding streets every day. Clearly, this will be a significant increase for small, residential streets with limited parking facilities.

4. Not only do Tesco wish to breach the permission regarding car parking and remove the parking facilities of the accountants above the proposed shop and the estate agents next to it, but they also wish four on-street spaces to be removed to enable them to manoeuvre their lorries into and out of the current car park. As is well known, the pressure on parking spaces in this area of Cambridge is already intense; we find it extraordinary that Tesco can seriously propose the removal of car parking spaces in this area.

5. Even assuming that no visitors to the proposed store will make the journey by car (as Tesco do, implausibly), and that no staff or business visitors ever make the journey to the store by car (an assumption that is clearly absurd) the proposed changes to the mode of delivery and the removal of eighteen parking spaces (fourteen on the site and four on Sedgwick Street) will have a serious impact on parking and on congestion problems in the area. The problems concerning traffic flow will, of course, be greatly exacerbated by the numerous daily deliveries by lorry and van. Taking Tesco’s own estimate of the number of deliveries to a similar, proposed Express Store in Norwich as the most accurate estimate of delivery frequency (in the absence of any indication by Tesco themselves as to how many deliveries would be made to the Mill Road store), three lorries and six vans would be reversing into and driving out of the existing car park every day.

We therefore again draw your attention to Cambridge Local Plan 3/14, which states that “The extension of existing buildings will be permitted if they […] retain sufficient […] car and cycle parking; to Cambridge Local Plan 8.2, which states that “proposals must include sufficient information for the likely [transport] impact to be assessed” and 8.9, that “where redevelopment of a currently occupied site is proposed, the existing demand on the transport network will be taken into account”, as well as to PPG13, paragraph 23. We also draw your attention to our original submission in respect of Tesco’s plans, where, in sections 7 and 8 we set out our concerns about possibly deliveries to the rear of the site (including noise impact) and frequency of deliveries to the site.

6. We note that no statement is made about proposed deliveries before the necessary changes could be made to allow delivery to the rear of the site. Since, were Tesco’s planning applications to be approved, the store would open before these changes could be made, we infer that Tesco proposes to unload on Mill Road itself. Clearly, nine lorries and vans per day parking partly on the kerb will constitute a major safety risk to pedestrians, as well as a very significant factor increasing traffic congestion. In addition, we understand that one of the grounds that the Highway Authority refused permission for deliveries to the front of the store was that the very significant anticipated levels of movement of goods to and from the store would pose a safety risk to pedestrians – a risk that would still apply.


Given the recent, widely reported finding that Mill Road already has one of the worst road safety records in Cambridgeshire, we draw your attention to:

  • the safety concerns raised by the prospect of Tesco driving several 10 metre lorries and numerous smaller vans onto the Mill Road pavement several times a day;
  • the longer term, road safety threat posed by Tesco’s need to make two-way a section of a one-way, residential street adjoining a busy road;
  • the safety issues raised by the prospect of cash-point customers pulling up on the kerb outside the store.

Given the well-known problems of traffic congestion and parking in the Mill Road area, we also draw your attention to:

  • the significant negative impact on traffic congestion of both a high volume of daily deliveries and customers visiting the store and the cash-point by car;
  • the impact of Tesco’s proposal to remove 18 existing car parking spaces on the site and Sedgwick Street;
  • the fact that this clearly conflicts with both the Cambridge Local Plan (3/14, 8.2, and 8.9) and national planning guidance (PPG13, paragraph 23).

No Mill Road Tesco Campaign
20 December 2007

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