Archive for March 2008

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.


Interview on BBC Radio Cambs: decision day

We were interviewed on BBC Radio Cambs today about the Tesco plans and the decision to be made tonight.


Elected Councillors of the East Area Committee will make the decision on the Tesco planning applications for Mill Road on 6th March. Details of the meeting are:

Date: Thursday 6 March 2008
Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start
Place: St Philips Church, 185 Mill Road, Cambridge

Read the arguments …

Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader

Trader Trader Trader Trader Trader

Thanks to John Volynchook for the photos of traders.

Press release: Planning officers’ advice on Tesco’s Mill Road plans contains key factual mistakes, and contravenes Council’s own planning guidance

5 March 2008; for immediate release

The No Mill Road Tesco campaign have condemned the Council planning officers’ recommendation of approval for Tesco’s Mill Road plans as unsound, based on flawed interpretation of planning guidance and key factual mistakes.

The Campaign’s report, sent to East Area Committee councillors, who will be voting on the decision on Thursday, concludes that it would be unreasonable “to approve proposals with the capacity to so seriously damage residential amenity, highway safety, and the local centre, when approval is based on such incomplete and seriously flawed advice”.

Continue reading ‘Press release: Planning officers’ advice on Tesco’s Mill Road plans contains key factual mistakes, and contravenes Council’s own planning guidance’ »

Dear Councillors …

We have now written to all Councillors on the East Area Committee with a letter giving our views on the officers’ report. This is a key document and equips Councillors with well-researched arguments why the store should be rejected, on a whole range of grounds.

Read our letter …

New shopping basket comparison

We’ve done a new shopping basket comparison! The results speak for themselves.

Summary of results:

  • Cherry Hinton Tesco Express : £42.65
  • Newmarket Road Tesco: £33.84
  • Shopping from a collection of local shops (Hilarys, Bangla Bazar, Yasrab, Londis, Balvs, Co-op) : £38.32

For this shopping basket, the Cherry Hinton Tesco Express prices worked out a huge 26% more expensive than its sister store in Newmarket Road. And the Tesco Express is still a whopping 11% more expensive than shopping for the same goods at a handful of local shops on Mill Road.