CEN article: Stay away, residents and traders tell Tesco

This article was published in the Cambridge Evening News on Wednesday 25th September 2007.

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has been told to stay away from Cambridge’s most cosmopolitan street.

It plans to open a store in Mill Road in the next few months, but residents and traders are opposed and a group has been set up on social networking site Facebook called “Let’s turn Mill Road into Chains Free Zone”.

A meeting has also been organised to drum up support for the campaign, and a poster advertising it says: “Tesco already controls over 30 per cent of the UK’s grocery market, they don’t need to come here, and we don’t want them.

“We need to stop Mill Road becoming like every other street in the country.”

Emma Lindsay, 23, of Great Eastern Street, Romsey, has organised a petition and put posters in shops in Mill Road.

She said: “It would be a real threat to the independent stores. Everyone who lives in Mill Road loves them because they are so different and diverse, and it would be terrible if a big supermarket like Tesco came in.”

Cambridge Liberal Democrats are supporting the protests – Romsey county councillor Alice Douglas said: “One of the best things about Mill Road is how diverse and vibrant it is.

“We are concerned that some of the small stores may not survive the competition from Tesco.”

Tesco has agreements in place to move into the shop, but is waiting for planning permission to make amendments.

The application for a new shopfront with ATM machine, new sign, and single storey rear extension were submitted to Cambridge City Council last week and a decision is expected on November 12.

Jim Jepp, 37, of Fletcher’s Terrace, Romsey, set up the site on Facebook and is organising the protest meeting.

Mr Jepp said he was hopeful Tesco could still be stopped – he said it was notoriously difficult to secure a drinks licence on the road, and he said if the planning applications to make changes were turned down, Tesco may change its mind.

He added: “There have been more than a 100 local petitions to keep Tesco out of particular areas, and a number of these have been successful, so we are hopeful.”

– The residents’ and traders’ protest meeting is being held in Libra Aries Bookshop, 9 The Broadway, Mill Road, from 7pm tomorrow (Thursday, 27 September).

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