Tesco “acquire an interest in the site”.
Wilco decide to move to Cherry Hinton Road.
Tesco officially registered as having leased the site for 15 years.
Tesco put in first applications for an extension plus refrigeration and air conditioning plant; a shopfront and signage; and a cash machine. Applications are incomplete and council planners tell them to resubmit.
Tesco resubmit their applications.
Public meeting organised by local residents, to express opposition to Tesco’s plans. Over 400 people turn up.
No Mill Road Tesco Campaign formed.
Petition to keep Tesco off Mill Road started
Several hundred local people write to council planners, objecting to Tesco’s applications.
3,000 people have now signed the petition.
1 November: First council committee at which the applications could have been decided, if local opposition had not slowed the process down.
Tesco tell the Campaign that they do not own the site, they have only leased it (for 15 years). Despite this denial, 8 days later (9th November 2007) Tesco are registered as owners of the site, a fact they do not mention publicly until late February 2009.
Tesco’s PR man tells the campaign that “If people didn’t want us to be here, it would be silly for us to be here.”
600 people march down Mill Road, in protest against Tesco’s plans.
Over 4000 people have now signed the petition.
Tesco’s planner tells the council that “The existing building [...] could not accommodate the use as an Express store” because it is too small and the wrong shape.
Councillors due to decide on applications. Council planners issue report recommending approval of Tesco’s applications, but the report is so badly flawed that, after complaints from the campaign and others, the report is withdrawn and the decision postponed.
28 January: Date on which Tesco said they originally planned to open.
Council planners issue a new report. They still recommend approval of all applications. Tesco’s PR man says “We are delighted that the council officers have recommended, again, our plans for approval. It isn’t an issue of who shouts the loudest but who can make the argument on the important technical issues that the council needs to consider.”
Councillors unanimously reject Tesco’s application for an extension plus refrigeration and air conditioning plant, because they do not meet planning requirements on highway safety and do not retain sufficient parking space and access. They approve Tesco’s applications for a sign and a cash machine. Tesco’s PR man says “This is good news for Tesco. We can now put up the sign and the ATM which means we could open the shop tomorrow.” They don’t.
Tesco appeal the refusal of extension and plant.
Introduction of a Cumulative Impact Zone on Mill Road. There will now be a presumption of refusal of any applications for a licence to sell alcohol on Mill Road. Tesco are now extremely unlikely to be given an alcohol licence if they ever get planning permission for the store.
Tesco say that they will start work on the store in July. The campaign points out this would mean they were intending to start work before they got planning permission. (It never happens.)
Squatters (unconnected with the campaign) move into the site and open a social centre. Tesco say they will not be evicting the squatters until they are able to start work on the store. This later turns out to be untrue.
Tesco make another application, for air conditioning and refrigeration plant.
Over 5000 people have now signed the petition.
Once again, council planners recommend approval for Tesco’s application.
Councillors reject Tesco’s application on grounds of highway safety and because the application does not address questions about noise pollution, servicing, storage and car parking. The next morning, although they still can’t start work on the store, Tesco send bailiffs in to evict the social centre. The Cambridge Evening News calls on Tesco to “admit defeat”.
Tesco appeals against refusal of the application for air conditioning and refrigeration plant.
Public inquiry into refusal of the first application. Tesco’s transport expert tells the inquiry that Tesco need to be allowed to use large delivery vehicles at the site, and that any approval that limited them to using smaller vans would be of no use to them.
The Planning Inspector dismisses Tesco’s appeal against the first refusal, on the grounds that all proposed delivery options for the store would “pose unacceptable risks to highway safety”. Tesco’s spokeswoman says that “we are obviously extremely disappointed”. The Cambridge Evening News says that, “in the interests of local democracy”, the decision “should be the final nail in the coffin” of a Tesco Express on Mill Road.
Proofs of evidence by Tesco and the council are due to be sent to the Planning Inspectorate, for the second appeal. Instead, Tesco withdraw their appeal without explanation.
Despite having said the existing building would be too small for a Tesco Express, Tesco say they are still looking at ways to open on the site.
21 March: Local people have kept Tesco off Mill Road for 500 days.