Tesco’s plans for deliveries to the site
One of the issue we are most concerned about is how Tesco plan to make their “just in time” deliveries to the site. Here is what they want to do and why we think it is a very bad idea:
- Tesco want to make deliveries to the car park at the back of the Wilco site.
- Sedgwick Street is currently a one way street. Tesco want the section of it between the junction with Mill Road and the entrance to the car park to be made two way (with the rest staying one-way) so that they can drive lorries down it to the car park.
- They then want to reverse their lorries (some of them more than 10 metres long) into the car park.
- To do this they say that they will need to remove four car parking spaces on Sedgwick Street as well as removing almost all the parking spaces in the site car park.
Why we think this is a bad idea:
- For most road users and pedestrians, most of Sedgwick Street will continue to be a one-way street. Making only a small section of it two-way, close to a junction with a busy road, would be confusing and dangerous for other road users.
- Since Tesco want to deliver from early morning until late at night, this would mean lorries and vans driving down a residential street, into oncoming traffic, in the dark. These plans would mean10 metre lorries driving the “wrong” way down a residential street on a foggy winter afternoon, for example, when local people are coming back from school or work in the dark, cycling or driving down the road in the opposite direction, or late at night when people are coming home after an evening out. We think this is very dangerous.
- The section of Mill Road where the site is located is already one of the worst stretches of road for accidents in the whole of Cambridgeshire. We think it would be irresponsible of officials to agree to a scheme that would make it even more dangerous – that’s not what we pay them to do!
- Removing 18 parking spaces on the Wilco site and Sedgwick Street would create more traffic congestion in the area, as well as making life more difficult for the people who live close to the store and want to park close to their homes. Tesco say that it won’t matter because no-one would come to the store by car, so the store wouldn’t create parking problems, but the research we’ve done shows that not true. If it opens, people would come to the store by car and since there would be nowhere for them to park on site, they would have to park in the surrounding streets.
Tesco’s alternative delivery plans:
- Tesco say that until they get permission for the dangerous scheme to deliver to the back of the site, they want to stop their lorries on Mill Road in order to make their deliveries.
Why these are a bad idea too:
- Tesco say that they want to make 30 deliveries a week, with up to 5 deliveries in any one day. We monitored another Tesco Express store in Cambridge; this showed that there would almost certainly be far more than 30 deliveries to a Mill Road Tesco Express (and we saw 9 deliveries made on a single day – 4 more than Tesco say they would ever make in one day).
- Tesco say that deliveries would take up to 40 minutes each. That means that, by Tesco’s own estimate, Mill Road would be blocked for up to 40 minutes at a time, up to five times a day. Our monitoring showed that it could be blocked for 40 minutes at a time, up to 9 times a day.
Why on-street deliveries would be contrary to planning guidance and expert advice:
- When the current building on this site was built, it was permitted on the condition that deliveries to the site were made to the car park at the rear, not on the street ‘to avoid obstruction of the surrounding streets’.
- The Cambridge Local Plan – the key piece of guidance for councillors making planning decisions – states that:
Service and delivery vehicles that park on the highway can cause an obstruction to other road users. Therefore, any development that will require regular loading or servicing must avoid causing illegal or dangerous parking, by providing appropriate off-street facilities (Cambridge Local Plan, policy 8/2, paragraph 8.21)
- The Highway Authority have said that they are against Tesco delivering to the front of the store from Mill Road because there would be so many deliveries that it would threaten pedestrian safety.
The Council’s Decision
When the council refused permission, it did so in part on the grounds that there are no means of making deliveries except by stopping on Mill Road and that this ‘would seriously prejudice the safety and free flow of traffic on the public highway’. They also said that its ‘unacceptable transport impact’ ‘makes the proposal contrary to Cambridge Local Plan (2006) policy 8/2′.