CEN article: Tesco extends olive branch to Mill Road

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has said it wants to hear from people living in Cambridge’s Mill Road area about what they think of the company’s plans to open up there.Tesco is planning to meet residents, councillors and David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, right, to talk about its plans and said it wants to hear feedback directly from local people.

A spokesman said the company felt some people had “misunderstood the scale of our plans”.

More than 4,000 people have now signed a petition against plans to open a Tesco Express store in Mill Road.

Coun Ian Nimmo-Smith, leader of Cambridge City Council, has even written to the Office of Fair Trading asking for the competition commission to investigate the supermarket’s operations in the city.

Tesco has submitted a planning application for new signage, a cash machine and an extension at the back of the former Wilco premises.

Representatives of the company have met with planning officers to discuss the application.

A company spokesman said: “It was useful for us to hear the feedback of local people. Some groups appear to have misunderstood the scale of our plans. We are proposing a small convenience store that will actually be smaller than the Co-op currently on Mill Road.

“We were able to explain that most customers will come to the store on foot or bike and not by car. We also explained that the deliveries would be handled by small vehicles appropriate to the streets of Cambridge. Anyone expecting 40ft articulated trucks need not worry.

“I am delighted that we have been able to arrange a time to meet some local residents because we want to be a part of the community.”

Mr Howarth said there were still concerns about Tesco’s delivery policy and confirmed he would be meeting the company.

Sonia Cooter, co-ordinator of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign, said: “It is clear that Tesco has underestimated the strength of public feeling against their plan to open a store on Mill Road.

“Any attempt to consult with the community at this late stage in the planning process seems rather patronising. We think the opinions of the people who live, work and shop on Mill Road are more important than that.

“We are certainly willing to listen to whatever Tesco representatives have to say to us, but at this stage in the planning process any meeting with Tesco can’t really involve any more than that.”

Cambridge Evening News, 29 October 2007

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