Archive for 1st October 2008

Public Inquiry Speech – our opening statement

[This was followed by our Planning Statement which will be online in due course. This speech below was to set the tone for why we exist.]

I would like to make a brief statement explaining to the inquiry the reason for the existence of the No Mill Road Tesco campaign, before handing over to my colleague Dr Deyermond, who will cover the campaign’s planning objections to Tesco’s applications.

After all, as a Planning Inspector you visit many towns, making decisions in accordance with national and local planning policy. For someone representing Tesco, this is simply another relatively small store in another street in another town. Next week, no doubt, there will be another case involving another store in another street in another town.

For us, though, this is our town, and our community, and we think it is worth fighting for.

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CEN article: Opening salvos fired at start of Tesco inquiry


BATTLE lines have been drawn between Tesco and Cambridge City Council as the supermarket giant takes its fight to open a store in Mill Road to a planning inspector.

Tesco is appealing to be allowed to build a single-storey extension at the back of the former Wilco store and install refrigeration equipment after the council rejected its plans.

The two sides faced each other at the Guildhall in front of planning inspector David Nicholson, who said there were two key issues in the case: the effect of the proposals on highway safety and on the provision of parking spaces.

Tesco maintains the highways authority was fully aware Mill Road was an accident blackspot with congestion problems when it was consulted and did not object to the plans.

It also argued, in its opening statement, put by its representative Stephen Morgan at the hearing, limited parking spaces are a “good thing”.

The council disputes the suitability of servicing the store by delivering to the front in Mill Road, turning into the service yard at the back or travelling around the oneway streets to get to the store.

It hired chartered engineer Christopher Ackroyd, to assess access to the site following a report commissioned by Tesco which said there was sufficient on-street car parking to meet demand generated by the Express store opening and it would not impact on safety.

Mr Ackroyd said delivery vehicles parking on Mill Road would “definitely be detrimental to highway safety, especially for cyclists”.

Questioned on whether the accident figures for Mill Road by the shop were not as bad as for the whole stretch, he replied: “Whether it’s 31st, first or 15th, I still say it is a problem.”

But he was taken to task by Mr Morgan, who said a large number of cyclists and low percentage of heavy goods vehicles actually meant there was greater capacity on the road.

Mr Morgan said: “You would expect a district centre like this, a successful district centre, to be busy, especially at peak times.

“It is not a reason for turning a development away which is otherwise compliant with policy objectives.”

Later, the inspector heard from two local councillors, Nichola Harrison, who represents Petersfield, and Killian Bourke, from Romsey.

Cllr Harrison said Tesco was trying to squeeze a “quart into a pint pot” by extending the store and that the shop had operated successfully as it was in the past and could do so again.

Cllr Bourke said: “I cannot see how anyone could seriously propose that Tesco delivery vehicles park on Mill Road for up to 40 minutes at a time. This flies in the face of common sense.”

The hearing is expected to continue until Friday.