CEN article: Last-ditch bid to keep Tesco store out

CAMPAIGNERS are making a last-minute bid to sway councillors who will decide whether controversial proposals for a Tesco store in Mill Road, Cambridge, should go ahead.

The No Mill Road Tesco committee has sent a heartfelt open letter to members of Cambridge City Council’s East Area Committee asking them to reject the proposals and “protect the vitality and viability of Mill Road”.

Tesco has applied for permission to extend the former Wilco building in Mill Road and install new signs and a cash machine to create an Express store.

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition against the plans, and more than 1,100 have written letters of objection.

But planning officers at Cambridge City Council have recommended the plans for approval.

Campaigners are not giving up hope.

The letter reads: “While you consider the planning officers’ reports and our detailed response to them, which we have sent to you, please also think about the following things:

“Tesco want to drive 10m lorries and other delivery vehicles the wrong way down a one-way street at least 30 times per week until 11 o’clock at night. Their ‘just in time’ policy means it is likely to be much more than that.

“The side streets of Romsey are already extremely congested and hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Tesco want to remove 18 car parking spaces from an area of Cambridge with huge existing parking problems, even though the store and its cash point would generate much more demand for parking spaces in the area.

“The Local Plan requires you to protect the vitality and viability of Mill Road. All the evidence shows that a Tesco Express would force small, independent businesses to close. In the words of one local trader: ‘I fear Tesco’s biggest impact will be on the independent spirit of Mill Road. We won’t be able to compete financially.'” They claim Cambridge is England’s ninth most Tescodominated town and ask: “Do we really want to help Cambridge move up that particular league table?”

The East Area Committee meets at St Philip’s Church, 185 Mill Road, tomorrow (Thursday, 17 January) at 7.30pm.

Cambridge Evening News, 11th January 2008

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