Archive for November 2007

CEN article: Pupils add their voice to new Tesco debate

Cambridge - St Philip's Primary School Children Tesco Protest
Year 6 pupils at St Philip’s School with their protest letters

PRIMARY schoolchildren have joined the fight against a planned new Tesco in Mill Road.

Youngsters from nearby St Philip’s Primary School have bombarded the Newswith letters criticising plans by the supermarket giant to open an Express store at the former Wilco site.

The flurry of letters follows a school project on the issue, which saw Year 6 pupils take to the streets to interview 234 people on Mill Road, with 70 per cent saying ‘no’ to Tesco.

It follows a demonstration by 600 residents against the plans on Saturday, while a 4,136-name petition has also been submitted to Cambridge City Council opposing the proposals.

The results of the pupils’ poll are yet another blow to the proposals, which campaigners fear will kill off many of the Mill Road’s small shops and ruin the road’s vibrant community spirit.

Nine-year-old Chloe Beddall was passionately against the plans, saying:

“I would absolutely hate it if all the little businesses were forced to shut down.

All these important shops will never be used again if Tesco moves in.”

And 10-year-old Archie Proctors added: “What about the traffic?

“How can we fit big lorries down the already-full street? I would hate to bike down an even more dangerous road when I was almost knocked off today (Thursday, 29 November).”

Max Nentwich, 10, said his investigation had confirmed his feelings about the Tesco plans.

He said: “I am absolutely appalled at Tesco moving in on Mill Road. Are we expected to watch as the street’s diversity falls into ruin.

“I am proud of the local shops as you get to know the shopkeepers.”

However, some pupils were not swayed by the results of their investigation.

Joshua Watson, 10, said: “What about the elderly? Would they want to walk all the way to Sainsbury to get the food they want? Ignore all who say no to Tesco.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “This will be a small convenience store that will serve many people in the local area.

“It will be half the size of the existing Coop on Mill Road, and we have received many letters of support for it.”

Meanwhile, the issue has continued to split opinion across Cambridge and beyond.

Cambridge Evening News, 30/11/2007

Video from the march

Thanks to Sarah W for this video.

Mill Road Winter Fair – Saturday 1st December

Come and see our stall at the Mill Road Winter Fair!

Also, let us know if you can help in any way. We will be discussing organisation of the stall, and much more, at the meeting on Wednesday 28th November 2007, at 6.30pm at Mill Road Baptist Church.

March demonstrates level of public concern

Thank you to the hundreds of you (estimates range from 250 to 800) who joined us on our hugely successful march down Mill Road on Saturday 24th November.

It truly was a day to remember, from gathering outside the swimming pool, listening to speeches by Councillors and messages of support from the MP, other successful anti-Tesco campaigns and local groups, to the joy of walking down our Mill Road behind a samba band! The police were a great support; they maintained a discreet presence to ensure the safety of the marchers. Everyone who marched behaved impeccably and (we hope!) had a great time. A short speech by Abdul Arain from Al Amin closed proceedings outside the Wilco site and everybody dispersed peacefully and quickly. Thank you in particular to the members of the samba band who lead the way with such enthusiasm, and to the people who acted as stewards.

Over 4000 people have signed a petition, and a remarkable 1100 people sent in written objections to the City Council regarding Tesco’s planning applications. A poll in the local Cambridge Evening News suggests 75% of people across the city are opposed to the proposed increase in Tesco’s dominant position in Cambridge. The multinational giant already controls 51% of the grocery market here – putting us in the top 10 Tesco-dominated places in the UK. According to a recent Competition Commission report such dominance – surprise, surprise – has a negative impact on the consumer.

The day will have sent a very clear message to Tesco of a community united in opposition to their proposals.

We are meeting this week on Wednesday 28th November, 6.30 at the Baptist Church Mill Road. We will mainly be discussing our plans for the Winter Fair on Saturday 1st December, but there will be a fairly brief general discussion. All are welcome so please do come along.

Photos and reports:

Photos copyright respective contributors to Indymedia – thanks to them for these.

Press release: 300 people take part in March against Mill Road Tesco

An estimated 300 people braced the cold weather today to march down Mill Road in protest against the planned opening of a Tesco Express store on the street.

Local residents, shoppers and traders marched down Mill Road in an act of defiance that will send a strong message to add to the petition of over 4000 signatures already gathered against the proposal.

Before the march began, City Council Leader Ian Nimmo-Smith spoke to the assembled crowds. “It is an oddity that the most serious aspect of the proposal of opening a store on Mill Road is something the planning committee can not take into account. That is the great concern that a valuable and unique collection of independent shops could be marginalised and lose viability” he said.

Ben Bradnack, City Councillor for Petersfield, added “This is a case of a community which functions as a community. It is the local community which is fighting this battle, and it will be a victory for the local community if we win”.

After the march, local campaigner Richard Rippin commented “The march was a great success today. The fact that so many people came out in such cold weather shows the strength of feeling in this community. Some argue Tesco will bring choice, but we love Mill Road the way it is. We already have a fantastic choice of independent shops here, all of which would be threatened if Tesco opened. We don’t want Mill Road to be another identikit street like every other high street in Britain, and that’s why we’re marching today, and that’s why we’ll keep fighting.”

The campaign are now waiting for the decision of the City Council on Tesco’s three planning applications. To get involved in the campaign visit The next meeting will be on Wednesday 28th November at 6.30pm in the Baptist Church, Mill Road.


Notes for Editors:

For more information see

Messages of support for the March

We have already had various messages of support for the March:

“We send you our support. Preserve your local shops as we have tried to do in our town. keep Mill Road Local. There are enough supermarkets in Cambridge.”

From Saffron Walden & District Friends of the Earth

Message of support from the home village of Tesco chief exec Terry Leahy. David and fellow campaigners have been fighting off the planned tesco in their village for some time and they have offered to do what ever they can to support our campaign here in Cambridge.

David Holland – “Keep Cuffley Rural”

The Keep Chorlton Interesting group has been campaigning since March against the application to build a Tesco Express in Chorlton, Manchester and is a coalition of local people, councillors and independent retail businesses. Last Thursday we won an important step forward in the campaign against the Tesco application.

The Council Planning Department’s recommendation was to approve the application. But following our campaign the planning committee councillors voted unanimously for a “Minded to Refuse” motion. We still have a lot of work to do – but this was an important victory.

We take heart from Finchley where the Council’s decision to refuse a Tesco Express was upheld by the Planning Inspectorate. We can – and will – win – so can your campaign.

Keep Chorlton Interesting group, Chorlton, Manchester

Keep Tesco off Mill Road, Cambridge!

Tesco have submitted plans to move into Mill Road, Cambridge, one of Cambridge’s most cosmopolitan areas. Over 4000 people have signed a petition against this and there remains huge public concern. Please join our announcements e-mail list to receive occasional updates about the Campaign and read why you should support our efforts to keep Tesco off Mill Road

No-to-Tesco march will celebrate Mill Road

Mill Road area residents, shoppers and traders will march in a show of opposition to Tesco’s plans to open a store on Cambridge’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan street. 10,000 postcards advertising the march have been distributed in the city, and the organisers expect a huge show of support from people who value the real choice and diversity offered by Mill Road’s independent shops [1].

The marchers will gather on the green beside Parkside swimming pool (known locally as Donkey Common) at 12 noon on Saturday 24th November.

Before the march begins, Mill Road shopkeepers and concerned local politicians will say a few words, and there will be messages of support from other groups who are fighting to keep Tesco out of their communities -including some who have succeeded [2].

The march will end at the former Wilco site on Mill Road Broadway, which Tesco had already secured with a 15-year lease before making its plans public.

“As we want to cause minimum disruption to the busy life of Mill Road, when we reach the Wilco site we will keep the proceedings brief before dispersing,” said NoMillRoadTesco campaign coordinator Sonia Cooter.

Tesco already has three supermarkets and three smaller Express stores in the city, and according to the UK’s Competition Commission, pockets 51 pence out of every pound spent on groceries in Cambridge [3].

Research has shown that money spent at independent shops continues to circulate locally, supporting a range of jobs from window-cleaners to accountants. Supermarkets tend to make use of large cleaning, accountancy and other business services companies from outside the area, and this money – and the jobs it pays for – are lost to the local economy [4].

“When we first proposed the march, somebody suggested that we make it a funeral for Mill Road, complete with hearse,” Sonia Cooter added. “But the huge groundswell of public opinion reflected in the 4000-plus petition signatures and 1100 written objections have convinced us that Tesco can be beaten. We have therefore decided to make the march a celebration of Mill Road’s life and culture.”

For interviews on the day, contact Richard Rippin

For other contacts see

Notes for editors

[1] A shopping basket comparison between a local Tesco Express store and the independent shops on Mill Road, debunked the myth that Tesco brings lower prices. See here for details:

[2] The campaign against Tesco on Mill Road is supported by groups and parties across the community and the political spectrum. See: for details.

[3] . For a summary, see

[4]  “Buying local worth 400 per cent more”, New Economics Foundation and Northumberland County Council, March 2005:

Tesco superstore rejected by Norfolk council – campaigning works!

Conservationists have hailed a council’s decision to refuse permission for a Tesco supermarket in the Norfolk seaside town of Sheringham.

  Tesco Extra store: The decision has been hailed as a 'real victory'
Tesco store: The decision has been hailed as a ‘real victory’

Councillors from North Norfolk district council took the decision unanimously, by a vote of 17-0, against a recommendation from their officials to approve the 1500 sq metre store.

The controversial proposal has been the subject of a ten-year-long battle between the retailer and opponents within the town.

It became a cause célèbre last year when it emerged that the council had signed a legal agreement with Tesco that it had kept secret for years, and that as a result of the agreement the council was blocking the development of an alternative, smaller retail development in the town.

Officials had warned councillors that they would be liable to pay legal costs if the retailer chose to appeal.

Tom Oliver, Head of Rural Policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The decision by North Norfolk District Council sends a clear message of hope for local communities up and down the country that the supermarket onslaught can be successfully resisted

“Those in Government who urge an easing of planning rules for supermarkets should think again and listen to the will of the people expressed today in Norfolk.”

The Government’s forthcoming planning Bill would remove the ability of local planners to decide on the “need” for a retail development.

Sandra Bell, supermarket campaigner for Friends of the Earth said: “The decision to say No to Tesco in Sheringham is a real victory for the local community and for democracy.

“Elected councillors in North Norfolk should be congratulated on standing up to the retail giant and acting to protect the character and vibrancy of this seaside town.

“They were absolutely right to go against the recommendation of planning officers which put forward a flawed case for approving a superstore development which would have wiped out local shops in the town and increased traffic and congestion.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “This is a sad day for the majority of Sheringham’s residents who will now have to wait for a store.”

Tesco still have an appeal outstanding against the alleged failure of the council to decide a planning application for a virtually identical development in 2003. This has yet to be decided by a planning inspector.

Daily Telegraph, 22nd November 2007

March on Saturday 24th November 2007

There will be a march on Saturday 24th November 2007. This major event will go down Mill Road and outline the extent of opposition to Tesco’s proposals.

Date: Saturday, November 24, 2007
Time: Starts at 12pm
Location: Next to Parkside Pool

Over 4000 people have signed the petition. Over 1000 people have objected in writing to the planning applications. We’ve objected with words, now we’re objecting with action.

Join us on a march to celebrate Mill Road and to show our objection to the threat posed to it by Tesco.

We’ll be marching down Mill Road to the old Wilco site to sound of samba beats. Come and join in the fun!

Also, let us know if you can help us with the event in any way.