Archive for February 2008

More radio coverage on 209radio

A piece reporting on the Campaign will go out on Friday 22nd February 2008.

Singing songs celebrating local communities around the world

The weekend, outside the proposed Tesco site, a group of singers from the Campaign sang songs celebrating local communities around the world. Thanks to all who took part!

Singing outside the proposed Tesco site

Singing outside the proposed Tesco site

CEN article: Watchdog deals blow to protest

Note: We contacted the Cambridge Evening News to correct them on the very misleading title of this article and to inform them of omissions in the reporting.

CAMPAIGNERS against a Tesco in Cambridge have been dealt a cruel blow by a Government watchdog.

The Competition Commission has approved supermarkets’ expansion plans sparking fears that Mill Road will become a ‘ghost town’ if Tesco opens a store there.

A national inquiry was launched following concerns that supermarkets are becoming too powerful.

Home - Protest is staged against plans for a Tesco in Mill Road

One of the recent protests staged against the planned Tesco on Mill Road.

They were accused of using below-cost selling on products to ensure that smaller rivals could not compete.

But the Commission concluded: “UK grocery retailers are in general delivering a good deal for consumers.”

It decided that more supermarkets will be needed to extend competition to maintain high levels of service.

The move is a kick in the teeth for the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign. Tesco has three planning applications for an express shop in Mill Road.

Emma Lindsay, of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign, who kick-started the protest after discovering the supermarket giant’s plans for the street famed for its unique shops, said she was saddened by the decision by the “toothless watchdog”.
She said: “I am not happy about it. I think the commission should have taken into account the impact of Tesco on small shops like we have on Mill Road. Tesco could destroy the place as we know and love it if it opens there. It already has more than 50 per cent of the grocery market in Cambridge.

“It is very disappointing but the fight will go on. I don’t think the people of Cambridge will give up lightly.”

But the watchdog is proposing some measures to curb the major retailers’ power. A supermarket ombudsman to protect suppliers from bullyboy tactics will be set up.

And a “competition test” will be established to aid councils who are responsible for supermarket planning applications.

It would give local authorities the right to favour applications from supermarkets which would provide competition to dominant stores.

But a spokeswoman for Friends of the Earth said: “The competition test will do nothing to help local shops or to promote real retail diversity.”

The Campaign to Protect Rural England said the proposals would effectively allow the big four to carve up Britain’s grocery market between them.

Cambridge Evening News, 18/02/2008

Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme features the Cambridge campaign against Mill Road Tesco

BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme on 15th February featured Cambridge’s campaign against Mill Road Tesco as its main case study.

CEN article: Check out traffic chaos, protest urges

By Rachel Extance

Home - Traffic for Mill Road

Protesters say we may see scenes like this more often with a new Tesco.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a Tesco store on Cambridge’s Mill Road claim it will cause traffic chaos.

Members of the No Mill Road Tesco campaign group have been talking to people living near the Chesterton Tesco Express about what deliveries are like.

They say there is “constant noise” and large HGVs turn up four or five times a day. Residents living at the Mill Road end of Sedgwick Street also complain about large numbers of cars pulling up outside the shop and being parked illegally while people nip in for groceries.

Tesco want to extend the former Wilco building in Mill Road, install new signs and a cash machine to make an Express store.

The plans were to be decided last month but planning chiefs decided the report councillors would base their decision on did not go into enough detail.

The issue will now come before Cambridge City Council’s east area committee on March 6 but Tesco has decided to lodge an appeal with the planning inspectorate because the council has taken so long dealing with its application.

No To Mill Road Tesco say the city council states one of its five overall objectives in the Local Transport Plan is objectives ‘to minimise the adverse effects of transport on people and the environment’ and say their research shows Tesco’s application will do the opposite.

The campaigners quote a resident living opposite the Chesterton Tesco Express store who describes how lorries would turn up at 5.30am, despite deliveries not being allowed until 6am. The time has now been moved back to 7am but deliveries take place on weekends as well as Monday to Friday.

The resident said: “The reversing into place outside the shop involves the ‘bleeping’ and then crashing as the tail lift is put down. There is then constant noise as trolleys are pushed up and down the length of the lorries.

“There are a minimum of three deliveries per day and in actual fact there are more like four to five per day. This is because there is a separate bread delivery, then a milk delivery occurs, directly from separate companies, followed by Tesco’s own lorries.”

Public consultation on the applications runs until February 21, anyone who has already submitted their views does not need to do so again.

Cambridge Evening News, 14th February 2008

Press release: ‘It’s like living in a Tesco carpark’

12 February 2008
For immediate release

Among the many grounds for objecting to the proposal to open a Tesco Express store on Mill Road is the disturbance and disruption that just-in-time deliveries would cause to residents and road users.

In the Local Transport Plan, the City Council states as one of its five overall objectives ‘to minimise the adverse effects of transport on people and the environment’.

Tell that to the families living at the Mill Road end of Sedgwick Street, if the experience of a resident living across from the Chesterton Tesco Express is anything to go by. The following is a verbatim report:

‘The time of first delivery was from 5.30am onwards. They could only officially unload at 6 and so would often park up and wait. The reversing into place outside the shop involves the ‘bleeping’ and then crashing as the tail lift is put down. There is then constant noise as trolleys are pushed up and down the length of the lorries. After much complaint the deliveries now happen from 7am onwards. But this also includes Saturdays and Sundays.

‘There are a MINIMUM of 3 deliveries per day and in actual fact there are more like 4-5 per day. This is because there is a separate bread delivery, then a milk delivery occurs (directly from separate companies), followed by Tesco’s own lorries.

‘The size of the Tesco lorries is also an issue as they are huge HGVs. Not only is this leading to more wear and tear on the speed bumps in Chesterton but the lorries stick out into the street when they are parked.

‘Especially at peak times (8.30-9.30am and then 5pm-8pm) there are huge numbers of cars pulling up for Tesco’s. There are double yellow lines that people park on illegally. Then there’s the problems of people constantly doing three-point turns and reversing round corners of adjacent roads. As a cyclist there are more hazards of car doors opening, pedestrians stepping into the road without looking, and cars pulling in and out of parking spaces.’

This is what the residents of Romsey have to look forward to if Cambridge City Council’s East Area Committee gives in to Tesco’s bullying tactics [2].

Local councillors will make their decision about Tesco’s applications on 6 March, and the public have until 21 February to submit comments and objections. (But if you objected to Tesco’s original applications, there is no need to resubmit your objections). Links to Tesco’s planning applications, and details of how you can object, can be found on


Notes for Editors

[1] From the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Tesco: The Supermarket that’s eating Britain televised on 17 February 2007

[2] Because of the Council’s delay in reaching a decision ‘partly due to the huge number of well-founded objections from local people’ Tesco has decided to lodge an ‘Appeal for Non-determination’, effectively bypassing local decision-making by going over the heads of the Council to the Planning Inspectorate. This puts additional pressure on councillors because the City council – and therefore council taxpayers – would be liable for the costs if Tesco’s appeal were successful.

City Council recognises public concern for Tesco proposal

The minutes of the full City Council meeting of 6th December 2007 [agenda] have been published recently. They show that a motion (8e) put forward by Councillor Nimmo Smith on the subject of the Tesco applications was passed nem con, 19 votes in favour – 0 against.

Continue reading ‘City Council recognises public concern for Tesco proposal’ »

Update on Tesco’s non-determination appeal and new applications

On 16th January 2008, the City Council withdrew their report on the (2007) applications following a formal complaint by ourselves. As a result, they were not considered by the East Area Committee on 17th January 2008. [Read more detail …]

At this point, Tesco, who had been happy for the decisions to be taken on 17th January – well past the normal 8 week deadline for planning decisions – decided to bypass local democracy by appealing on the grounds of non-determination. This takes the decisions out of the hands of our local councillors and means they will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, probably by Public Inquiry.

At the same time, Tesco lodged 3 new identical applications. These will now be decided by the East Area Committee on 6th March (venue not yet decided). The inference is clear; if approval is given, Tesco will withdraw their appeal.

Any objections submitted to the previous applications will be reported in the case officer’s report regarding the new applications. There is, therefore, no need for you to resubmit objections, unless you have new reasons to object. We will shortly be officially resubmitting the Campaign’s objections, possibly with some updates if found necessary.

We remain confident that our councillors will make the right decision, based on the very solid planning grounds we have given them.

We will update as soon as we have any more news or a confirmed venue for the 6th March.

Deliveries to the Tesco Express, High St, Chesterton

We have been sent a report from a nearby resident of the Tesco Express in High St, Chesterton about the problems of lorry deliveries and other traffic issues at that location.

CAN Gathering – speaker meeting

CAN (Cambridge Action Network) are hosting a gathering at Friends’ Meeting House on Thurday 7th February 2008, at 7pm.

A representative of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign will report on progress with our Campaign.