CEN article: More than 2,250 join anti-Tesco campaign

A PETITION of more than 2,250 signatures will be handed to the council to protest against a new Tesco opening in Cambridge.

Campaigners are fighting the firm’s plan to open a supermarket in Mill Road. Supporters of the No Mill Road Tesco group will meet at The Guildhall at 12.30pm today to hand their petition to the Planning Department at the Cambridge City Council. It coincides with the deadline for objections to three planning applications Tesco has filed for permission to convert the site, previously used by Wilco, into a store.

A mass busking session at the site took place on Saturday to raise awareness of the protest. A campaign website and Facebook group has also helped generate interest online.

Sonia Cooter, from the No Mill Road Tesco campaign, said: “The size of this petition shows how strongly local people feel about Tesco. People who live, shop and work in this area have built relationships with local traders and appreciate the diversity of goods and services available.

“Tesco is the exact opposite of everything we love about this area. When we already have so many Tesco stores in and around Cambridge, opening yet another on Mill Road is crazy.

“There are planning issues such as lorries having to unload from the pavement, waste disposal problems, inability to access the proposed rear parking area, traffic generation, and lack of cycle parking.

“I hope this petition sends a clear message to decision makers local people don’t want the supermarket giant here and to Tesco themselves they are simply not welcome.”

Campaigner Richard Rippin said: “Tesco may be the biggest and most powerful of all the supermarkets but I don’t think they know what they are taking on here.”

Since the start of the campaign three weeks ago support has been gained from local councillors and community and faith groups, as well as residents, traders and shoppers from the Mill Road area.

Michael Kissman, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said: “We expect it to be a popular store and know there is a demand for another shop. It will bring greater choice and value to this area of Cambridge.

“I have tried to contact the campaign group about how we can design the shop, for example there is different signage we can have. The company is happy to work with local areas. Unfortunately this particular group will not talk to us.”

[Webmaster’s note: the CEN have been informed about the factual inaccuracy in the last paragraph.]

Published in the Cambridge Evening News, 12th October 2007.

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