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

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