Archive for January 2008

Documents for EAC Councillors

We have sent five documents to Councillors of the East Area Committee in advance of the meeting on Thursday 17th January:

Open letter to Councillors

We have sent an open letter to Councillors on the East Area Committee meeting in advance of the Thursday meeting.

Traders’ quotes

East Area Committee to make decision – be there: 7.30pm, Thursday 17th January 2008, St Philips Church, 185 Mill Road

STOP PRESS: The East Area Committee meeting of 17th January will now no longer cover the Tesco application. See most recent news story.

The rest of this message below is maintained below for the sake of archiving the details.

EAC flyerAfter huge delays, the Planning Officer’s reports have been published. Despite the unprecedented numbers of objections, they recommend approval. However, it is the role of the elected Councillors to make the decision. (There are plenty of cases elsewhere that we have documented where Councillors have refused Tesco’s applications, and we urge Councillors here to do the same on Mill Road.)The councillors will be sitting in front of the people who voted them into office as they vote. And representatives from Tesco will be there too. The more of us there on the evening, the more the councillors will be reminded that they are there to represent the interests of their own constituents, not Tesco’s shareholders. Please come if you can.The decision will be made by the East Area Committee on 7.30pm, Thursday 17th January 2008, St Philips Church, 185 Mill Road. Please come and witness the discussion, and show your support against Tesco.Available online is:

Local councillors will vote on approving or rejecting Tesco’s three planning applications at this meeting.

One of the planning applications is for a store extension. Tesco have stated they cannot open the store without this extension, so this planning decision has the power to stop a Tesco opening on Mill Road.

Since October 2007:

  • 1,100 of us have written to the council objecting to these planning applications
  • 5,000 of us have signed a massive No Tesco on Mill Road petition
  • 600 of us marched down Mill Road on that freezing Saturday in November

And now, on Thursday 17th January, it’s decision time. The meeting starts at 7.30pm in the church. We’ll be gathering on the old Wilco site to talk to the media and grab the attention of passers by from 6.45pm onwards.

In the meantime, please write to your Councillors to tell them how you want them to vote on the 17th. You can find their email addresses at: or they are listed here:

  • Romsey
    • Catherine Smart < >
    • Sarah Ellis-Miller <>
    • Raj Shah <>
  • Petersfield:
    • Ben Bradnack < >
    • Kevin Blencowe <>
    • Lucy Walker <>
  • Coleridge:
    • Jeremy Benstead <>
    • Lewis Herbert <>
    • Tariq Sadiq <>
  • Abbey:
    • Caroline Hart <>
    • Miriam Lynn <>
    • John Durrant <>

Tell them to:

  • Pay attention to the planning objections made by the No Mill Road Tesco campaign and individuals about concerns that Tesco have no suitable place to make their deliveries, road safety, waste disposal, the removal of 18 parking spaces at the rear of the site and on Sedgewick street and other issues detailed at
  • The vitality and viability of Mill Road is a priority of the council’s own local plan for the area. Voting for Tesco goes against the council’s own plans for the future of the last remaining area in Cambridge where independent stores have not been forced out by national and multinational chains.
  • Councillors need to have the courage to listen to the people who put them in their seats, including you – the 5,000 signatures on the petition and the hundreds of written objections to the council and the march in opposition to a Tesco store on Mill Road are signs of local democracy in action. Councillors have listened to their constituents in other areas of the UK and stood up to Tesco, we hope our councillors have the confidence to do the same.

This ‘Dispatches’ documentary shown on Channel 4 gives some idea of how Tesco’s have managed to steamroll over the planning process in other ares in the UK:

And please sign up to the announcements e-mail list on if you haven’t done so already.

[Facebook event details]

Press release: Council decision on Tesco “could change the character of Mill Road forever”

Decision day is fast approaching for the proposal to open a Tesco store on Mill Road. An overwhelming majority [1] of Mill Road residents and shoppers are opposed to the proposal, which threatens the many independent and local shops that give Mill Road its unique cosmopolitan character.

On Thursday 17th January, Cambridge City Council’s East Area Committee will meet at 7.15 for a 7.30 start at St Philips Church, 185 Mill Road, to decide on Tesco’s applications for the former Wilco site. These include a new shop-front in Tesco’s ubiquitous livery, 15-metre illuminated signs, and a large extension to the back of the building, with noisy refrigeration and air conditioning units to be installed close to homes on Sedgwick Street.

Tesco has also told the council that they will be asking for the removal of 18 car parking spaces, including four spaces on Sedgwick Street, so that they can reverse their lorries onto the site several times a day.

The No Mill Road Tesco campaign [2], which has collected more than 5,200 signatures from residents opposed to the Tesco store, is urging as many people as possible to attend, so that councillors are in no doubt about the strength of public feeling.

“In its Local Plan, the Council committed itself to preventing any developments that would harm the vitality and viability of local centres, like Mill Road, ” said Sonia Cooter, coordinator of the NoMillRoadTesco campaign. “Yet case after case across the country shows that where a Tesco Express opens, other shops, especially small, independent shops, go out of business. These are the shops that Mill Road is known and loved for.

“If they want to meet their commitments to safeguard the future of this area as a place to work and live and shop, they will reject these applications. Last year, Barnet Council successfully rejected a similar application on exactly these grounds; we hope that our councillors value our community enough to do the same.”

She added there are many other substantial grounds upon which the applications could and should be rejected, including the increase in congestion which the continual arrival of just-in-time deliveries will cause. “The increase in traffic would also put pedestrians and cyclists, including children travelling to Coleridge and St Philips schools, at risk, and would add to delays for motorists who depend on Mill Road. Residents of Sedgwick Street and other streets around Mill Road would be particularly hard-hit by the loss of parking spaces, which are already desperately short in the area.”

Anyone who submitted a written objection during the consultation period is entitled to speak against the proposals during the meeting, provided they have notified the Area Committee Manager, Mr John Blunt, by 12 noon on Wednesday 16th January. Mr Blunt can be contacted on 01223 457012 or via e-mail,, or by writing c/o Room 11, The Guildhall, Cambridge CB2 3QJ.

Notes for Editors

[1] Over 1200 written objections to the Tesco proposals were received during the consultation period. Council officers have privately commented that a normal response to a planning application of this kind would be 10 to 12 written objections.


CEN article: No-Tesco campaign entering the final stretch

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a Tesco store want residents to make their feelings clear to councillors.

Members of the No Mill Road Tesco campaign say most of the public back their bid to stop the supermarket giant opening an Express store on a street known for its independent shops.

On Saturday, campaigners walked from Cambridge’s Guildhall to the proposed site of the store, the former Wilco building on Mill Road, encouraging people to attend the crucial council meeting where the final decision on Tesco’s plans will be made.

Cambridge City Council planning officers have recommended to the east area planning committee that it approve the scheme when it meets at St Philip’s Church on Mill Road on Thursday at 7.30pm.

Sonia Cooter, co-ordinator of No Mill Road Tesco, acknowledged that some residents do want the store but believes that view is misguided.

She said: “People think this will be like the Tesco on Newmarket Road, but it will be a Tesco Express.

“The shopping basket comparison on our website is completely genuine. It shows that independent stores on Mill Road are cheaper.”

Ms Cooter believes a Tesco Express would end the Mill Road shopping experience known to generations of Cambridge residents.

She said: “The special character of Mill Road is all based around small, independent shops.

“If people want to have their say, they should contact their councillor and they should come to the planning committee meeting.”

Cambridge Evening News, 14th January 2008

Distribution of flyers in town on Saturday

This Saturday, 12th January 2008, we will be walking from the Guildhall to the Wilco site, distributing fliers to raise awareness of the East Area Committee meeting next Thursday, and you are very welcome to come along and join us at 2pm outside the Guildhall. We want to make sure as many people attend the East Area Committee meeting as possible.

(Despite the way it was covered in the Cambridge Evening News, there is not a march as such tomorrow.)

Blow for Tesco Mill Road campaigners

[This article mentions that some objections came from abroad; however, it fails to make clear that the vast majority of the enormous number of applications came from local residents. The Tesco spokesperson also fails to address the fact that there were no supporting letters submitted whatsoever.]

By Raymond Brown

Letters - Tesco Protest
Protestors against the new Tesco store.

CAMPAIGNERS against a Tesco store have been dealt a cruel blow.

Continue reading ‘Blow for Tesco Mill Road campaigners’ »

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

Tesco pulls out of Darlington store plans – campaigning works!

Yet another example of Tesco pulling out of plans after local opposition. [See more …]

Tesco puts garage site up for sale

Supermarket chain Tesco has pulled out of plans to open its first store in Darlington.

Tesco yesterday admitted it had dropped proposals to build an Express shop on a former petrol station in the town’s North Road.

A spokesman revealed it had, instead, put the site up for sale.

Juliette Bishop, from Tesco, said: “We are disappointed that our planning application for the site on North Road has been unsuccessful.

“We remain convinced that our plans would benefit the local area, as well as regenerating a derelict site.

“However, after taking some time to consider our options, we have decided to no longer progress plans for this site.”

Councillors rejected the third set of plans for the former Shell garage on December 12.

Tesco had also appealed against the council’s previous refusal for the 107,000 sq ft store in the Harrowgate Hill area of the town.

Councillor Mark Burton, who represents Harrowgate Hill on Darlington Borough Council, had earlier this week contacted the company to ensure the site was tidied up as Tesco had promised last month.

He said: “I am very surprised.

Tesco generally fights tooth and nail.

“It would be nice to see it sold onto a housing developer for houses relatively the same as those in the area.”

Tesco bought the site for £500,000 last January, four months after an initial set of plans for a mini-supermarket were refused.

Coun Burton said: “I can see it being derelict for quite some time. That is the last thing people really want.”

Shell closed the petrol station in February 2005 and put the site up for sale.

The site was then plagued by anti-social behaviour until fencing was erected around it.

In August 2006, plans were unveiled for a 24-hour Tesco store and 130 apartments on the present town hall site.

The council later refused the plans after a petition with more than 10,000 names was handed in to the council.

Tesco’s only presence in Darlington is a One Stop shop, in Yarm Road, whose parent company was bought by the chain in Jaunary 2003. It still operates under the One Stop name.

The Northern Echo, Wednesday 9th January 2008