Archive for 7th March 2008

Victory for No Mill Road Tesco!

Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting at St Philips Church last night, Thursday 6th March. The church was absolutely packed, and councillors were greeted by a row of pictures of Mill Road traders, held up by campaign supporters, to remind them what is at stake. The debate took place in the presence of hundreds of local people, and councillors listened to arguments about the impossibility of Tesco delivering safely and legally to the site, the huge impact on road safety and congestion that would result, the environmental impact of the plans and the noise and light pollution that would result for nearby residents.

As well as the campaign, speakers against Tesco included the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, Friends of the Earth, City Councillors Ben Bradnack and Raj Shah, and County Councillors Nichola Harrison and Alice Douglas. After discussing the arguments, and consulting with the planning officers, the East Area Committee voted to reject the planned extension unanimously, and to contest the existing appeal.

This is a huge blow for Tesco. Although planning permission was granted (with a split vote) for signage and an ATM, and there is no change of use required, since the point was so emphatically made that they could not deliver safely either to the rear or the front of the site, any shop they open will not be able to be stocked!

This will obviously not be the end of the fight, but it is a very important victory. Thank you to everyone for your continued support in this community fight to defeat Tesco.

CEN article: Tesco vow despite Mill Road setback

Note the spin by Tesco in this article despite their clear loss at the East Area Committee …

Home - Protesters have continued their campaign

Tesco protesters have continued their campaign

TESCO bosses have vowed to forge ahead with plans for a store in Mill Road – despite a setback at a planning meeting last night.

Supermarket chiefs told the News today they “could open the store tomorrow” after being granted permission for two signs, a shop front and an ATM.

The tough talking comes after a vote last night against plans to extend the building, on the street famed for its small independent shops.

Tesco does not need planning approval to open the store – but wants the extra space which encroaches onto a car park for storage and deliveries.

Campaigners and residents came out in force for the Cambridge City Council East Area Committee planning meeting at St Philip’s Church, in Mill Road last night.

Home - The site of the proposed Tesco store in Mill Road

The site of the proposed Tesco store in Mill Road

Protesters were armed with signs which have come to symbolise the ‘No Mill Road Tesco’ campaign.

But both sides in the battle are now claiming victory after the decision by councillors.

Michael Kissman, Tesco’s corporate affairs spokesman, said: “This is good news for Tesco. We can now put up the sign and the ATM which means we could open the shop tomorrow.

“With the signage and the shop frontage we now have the basics to open a store. We would like to have the extension because we believe it would be better for the shop, the area and our customers.

“It was a good result for us and we could open up the unit now but it would be better with the extension. The reality is that we have got everything we need to open.

“It would have been a bit odd to open without a sign.

“We will now look at the details of the refusal and decide where to go from here.”

Tom Woodcock, publicity officer for the campaign, was equally defiant and told Tesco it should pack up and leave the site.

He said: “I don’t think Tesco can open the store whether it gets permission for the extension or not.

“It is just not viable for the area and in our calculations would take £2 million out of the local community as most independent traders plough money back into the local economy.

“And we estimate that the store will need up to 70 delivery lorries – the council estimate more than 40 and Tesco says it will be 40. That just won’t be possible in such a busy road. Each delivery would take up to 45 minutes.

“Tesco could open if it wanted to but it would be unsafe to do so. This has not been properly thought out in terms of access. The best thing that Tesco can do is to give up and sell the site.”

The campaign against the store has been mounting since the first application went in last September.

More than 5,000 people signed a petition against the plans, more than 1,000 sent letters of objection and 600 marched in protest through Cambridge.

Cambridge Evening News, 7th March 2008

Mill Road celebrates as local councillors say No to Mill Road Tesco

Press release
For immediate release

Local residents in the Mill Road area celebrated a first win for the No Mill Road Tesco campaign last night as their councillors voted against Tesco’s application for an Express store on Mill Road. Over 250 people attended the meeting to watch the councillors make the decision.

All seven voting councillors of the East Area committee unanimously rejected Tesco’s planning application to build an extension to the rear of the proposed site. As Tesco have said themselves that the extension is crucial to their plans for opening the store, a no from the councillors is a No to Tesco on Mill Road.

Councillors voted on the grounds of the threat to local residents and highway safety posed by Tesco’s plans, as well as the need to preserve parking spaces and other facilities. They also noted the arguments made by the campaign on the threat to the vitality and viability of the local area – they acknowledged the importance of a recent All Party Parliamentary report which found that the closure of small shops is ‘inevitable’ when one of the Big 4 supermarkets open for business nearby.

Sonia Cooter, coordinator of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign said ‘We’re thrilled that our councillors listened to their constituents and voted against Tesco. We would like to express our thanks to them and to the thousands of people who have writen letters, signed the petition and made their voices heard. Today is a real win for local people and local democracy.’


Notes for editors;

1. The East Area committee meeting was held on Thursday March 6th at St Phillips Church on Mill Road.

2. All planning arguments made by the No Mill Road Tesco campaign can be found at

3. The report by the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group can be found here:

4. PHOTO attached: the 250 members of the public attending the meeting held up signs when the vote was cast to tell their councillors what to say to Tesco’s plans.

5. Please contact Shilpa Shah on 07779 658211 for more information

CEN article: Tesco dealt a blow for Mill Road plans

The Cambridge Evening News published an article on the morning after our success, but then removed the article from the online edition.

The article was originally at .

Here is a scan of the paper edition:


Cambridge Crier article: Blow for Tesco’s Mill Road plans


Councillors reject Tesco’s plans

Councillors have rejected Tesco’s plans for the extension to the building, which was the key planning application, following our Campaign.

Thanks to everyone who helped achieve this first victory!

More news will be posted shortly.