CEN article: Leader steps up Tesco shop war

Tesco has been reported to the Office of Fair Trading.

Coun Ian Nimmo-Smith, leader of Cambridge City Council, has written to the watchdog asking for an investigation into Tesco’s bid to open an Express store in Mill Road, Cambridge.

He has asked for the plans to be scrutinised by the Competition Commission due to the “current dominance of Tesco within the local retail area and the likely adverse affect on a diverse but fragile range of local independent shops and services”.

He has urged the OFT to act before the planning application is decided next month.

The local community has launched a vociferous campaign against Tesco’s proposals and more than 4,000 people have signed a petition against them. The first of two public meetings about the plans will be held tonight at the Baptist Church, Mill Road, from 6pm and another will be held on November 5 from 6.30pm.

Coun Nimmo-Smith said: “Tesco already has three supermarkets and three Express stores in Cambridge and has very few major rivals in the city.

“I have asked for an urgent investigation by the Competition Commission into Tesco’s proposed new store.”

The move was welcomed by Richard Rippin from the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign.

He said: “We are delighted we have cross party support at the city council and that Coun Nimmo-Smith has taken the step of referring this matter to the OFT. The incredibly strong feeling among local people and local politicians gives us confidence that together we can keep Tesco out and keep Mill Road special.”

Meanwhile the supermarket giant has agreed to pay for a CCTV camera in Cherry Hinton High Street just days after another night of hooliganism.

Councillors, police and supermarket representatives met this week to discuss plans to install cameras.

As reported in the News, Cherry Hinton’s Royal British Legion was attacked by youngsters on Friday during a Hallowe’en evening in the hall. Guests locked themselves in when the youngsters started pelting the building with stones.

Local councillors have long been campaigning for CCTV cameras to be installed because of frequent acts of vandalism and a summer which saw two robberies.

Cambridge Evening News, 25th October 2007

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