Archive for August 2009

AGM call

As notified to the supporters’ e-mail list:

The AGM of the Mill Road Society (under which No Mill Road Tesco runs) will be held on Tuesday 1st September at 7.30pm St Phillips Church.

We will be updating everyone on recent activities, electing new committee members and making decisions about the future of the campaign.

Please do come along if you are able. It is important that we continue to receive input from as many supporters as possible.


  1. Report back on current legal situation
  2. Discussion of Saturday 12th September event
  3. Future direction of the campaign and ongoing activities
  4. Presentation of Accounts
  5. Election of Committee
  6. Any Other Business

Lorry Watch: Tesco using unmarked vans

We are continuing to monitor the lorry situation.

Interestingly, we have evidence that Tesco are using unmarked vans, i.e. without the Tesco logo on, to deliver round the ‘loop’.

So watch out for white lorries without any markings but also for contractor vehicles, namely “Expert Logistics” and “Petit Forestier” (both seen parked at back of Tesco site on Saturday).

Dear supporters

P1120894Dear Supporters,

Despite two council decisions, one public inquiry and the best efforts of several thousand local residents over two years, Tesco are opening on Mill Road tomorrow, 26th August 2009.

We expect that a judicial review of the situation will happen later – hopefully very soon – but in the meantime, a judge has decided not to stop Tesco opening for now. With that in mind, we would like to say what we think this does, and doesn’t, mean, and what we want to do next.

The fact that very few local residents seem to want them while thousands want them to stay away; that they already own 13 stores in our small city, and are already trying to open yet another, on East Road; that their delivery operations have been judged to be dangerous by all competent authorities that have looked at them (and by Tesco themselves); that they would be more expensive and offer less choice than the existing shops; that they have been refused applications for the site again and again – none of this has been enough to stop them opening.

We think that any system where this can happen is a system that is deeply flawed and needs fixing. We think that local residents should have a meaningful voice in what happens to their community, so that when a dangerous and unpopular scheme like this appears, the community can take action to stop it.

But we also think that however unhappy we may be about Tesco opening, that the community has won far more than Tesco from this fight, and we won from the moment that the first person signed the petition, or put a poster up in their window, or went to a campaign meeting.

Whatever happens in the future, Tesco will never get back the more than £4.6 million in lost turnover that we estimate the delay in opening has cost them. They will always have been humiliated at two council meetings, a public inquiry and an alcohol license hearing. The delay meant, too, that they have had to open after Mill Road became a cumulative impact zone, meaning that they did not get an alcohol license. The efforts of the local community to highlight the dangers of deliveries and the noise and nuisance of their plans also meant that they had to open a much smaller store than they wanted, and one that is more expensive to operate. All this means that the local community has managed to permanently restrict the damage that this store can do to the area.

In contrast, the community has gained more than any of us could ever have imagined when the campaign started, almost two years ago. Many of us know our neighbours better, use our local shops more, and have learned to do things that we never thought we could do. The campaign has shown that thousands of people of every political viewpoint, age, religious view, and background can put aside the things that divide them and stand up together for something that unites them.

The mural on the Mill Road bridge says “respect and diversity in our community”. We think this campaign has proved that this is exactly what the Mill Road community is like. We always knew that Mill Road was a special place; that’s why we’ve all fought so hard to protect it. The two years of that fight have shown us how right we were.

So, even if Tesco are eventually allowed to stay open on Mill Road, we think that the community is much stronger and Tesco is weaker as a result of what has happened here.

So what happens next? Well, that depends on the outcome of the legal process, but in any case there are two things we would like to ask you to do if you have supported the campaign. These reflect the two concerns that have come up again and again over the last two years – the threat to road safety and the threat to local shops.

We are asking everyone to keep an eye on Tesco’s deliveries. They are not allowed to stop lorries (their own or their suppliers’) on the street – either on Mill Road or Sedgwick Street. They have to respect the one way system. If they don’t, or if they stop on the street, let us know and let planning enforcement and the police know.


Traders of Mill Road: Support variety and choice on Mill Road

Secondly, and just as importantly, the best way that you can show your continued opposition to Tesco is to support your local independent shops. It’s likely that most of us will never want buy anything from this store, but more important than a boycott of a dull, overpriced chain store is a commitment to actively support the diverse and independent shops that Tesco threatens. Tesco will only hurt these businesses if we let it; so we’re asking all supporters to buy something from an independent business on Mill Road tomorrow. And to do the same the next day. And the day after that. Using our local shops is the way to keep them alive.

We will let you know as soon as we have any news about the legal action, but until then these are things that we can do, starting tomorrow, to help our community.

With all our best wishes and gratitude for your support,

The No Mill Road Tesco Campaign Committee

PS There will not be a protest at the opening of the store.

Legal action – money raised

Dear Supporters,

We emailed you on Saturday to ask if you could help us with the costs of legal action. Thanks to your amazing generosity, we have now raised enough money to cover these costs. The fact that the target has been reached so quickly is the clearest possible signal of how strongly we all feel about the situation and the need for legal action to resolve it.

With huge thanks,
The No Mill Road Tesco Campaign

Lorry problems already

Here is a report from a local resident which was copied to us and which refers to incidents merely hours after the opening of the store. Note in particular the driver of Tesco’s own lorries stating that the delivery arrangements were ‘ridiculous’.

Dear Mr Payne

I am writing to you to report activity which I believe to be dangerous and illegal in relation to deliveries at 163-167 Mill Road. I urge the City Council to take action against this. If you are not the person responsible for taking the action, please let me know who I should contact instead.

Between 9.00am and 9.30am this morning (Tuesday 25 August) I witnessed the following:

A lorry registration HX53GWW (the “First Lorry”) was present in the rear yard of 163-167 Mill Road, having presumably just finished a delivery.

A lorry registration AY57EFE (the “Second Lorry”) reversed from Mill Road into Sedgwick Street, contrary to the one-way restrictions, and stopped on the double yellow lines on the east side of Sedgwick Street between the entrance to the rear yard of 163-167 Mill Road and the junction with Mill Road. This lorry had clearly been stationary on Mill Road prior to reversing into Sedgwick Street. The driver of the Second Lorry got out of his vehicle and spoke to some people in the rear yard.

After several minutes, a lorry registration MX58RFO (the “Third Lorry”) drove up Sedgwick Street (in the correct direction) and stopped behind the Second Lorry. Sedgwick Street was completely blocked to vehicular traffic (including cyclists) at this point.

The driver of the Second Lorry got back into his vehicle and drove off into Mill Road. The First Lorry then reversed out of the yard into Sedgwick Street, and drove off as well. At this point the Third Lorry drove forwards into the space vacated by the Second Lorry, i.e. on the double yellow lines on the east side of Sedgwick Street between the entrance to the rear yard of 163-167 Mill Road and the junction with Mill Road.

The driver of the Third Lorry got out of his vehicle and went to speak to people in the rear yard. I heard the driver say the words: “That’s not what is says on my risk assessment” and “What do you think I’m driving, a transit van? This is a 21 ton vehicle”. He suggested that somebody from the yard might like to carry out the manoeuvre instead of him. I spoke to the driver of the Lorry and established that he had been asked to reverse into the yard, whereas his ‘risk assessment’ stated that he should drive in forwards and then turn round within the curtilage of the site. He also commented to me that he had found it very difficult to negotiate the back streets and he had passed extremely close to parked vehicles. He said it was ‘ridiculous’ to deliver to the site in this way.

Due to the parking spaces which have recently been painted on the rear yard surface, many vehicles had parked there, and it appeared to be physically impossible to make a delivery with the Third Lorry, which was significantly larger than the First Lorry already within the yard when I arrived at the site.

I had to leave at 9.30am to go to work. At this point the Third Lorry was still parked on the double yellow lines on the east side of Sedgwick Street between the entrance to the rear yard of 163-167 Mill Road and the junction with Mill Road. I witnessed one more lorry pass the site, which had to drive onto the pavement on the west side of Sedgwick Street in order to get past.

It is quite obvious to me that such arrangements are an accident waiting to happen, and that action should be taken to prevent this danger to public safety. As I mentioned at the start of my email, if you are not the person to take this action, please put me in contact with the person who can deal with the isssues.

CEN article: High Court bid to stop Tesco


[NB: NMRT is not, and has never been associated with any attacks on staff and we deplore the suggestion here that this could be the case.]

ANTI-Tesco campaigners are heading to the High Court today in a last-ditch attempt to stop the supermarket giant opening in Cambridge’s Mill Road.

The Express store is due to open on Wednesday but No Mill Road Tesco has refused to admit defeat.

Campaigners are heading to London’s High Court to try to force Cambridge City Council to take action over Tesco’s plans to deliver to the store, which protesters have branded illegal and “dangerous”.

If the case against Cambridge City Council to force it to stop Tesco making deliveries goes ahead, there could also be a judicial review later this week.

The campaigners were out in force again on Saturday.

Campaign spokeswoman Ruth Deyermond vowed that the fight would continue.

She said: “This is a matter that is now before the High Court, and we are very interested to see their judgement of Tesco and the council’s actions.”

There has been furious opposition to the shop with more than 5,000 people signing a petition against it, but some residents are in favour, saying Tesco will bring cheaper prices.

Tesco chiefs say work is now almost finished on the new store which opens at 8am on Wednesday followed by the official launch at 10.30am.

Then store staff will celebrate by making a £500 donation to Arthur Rank Hospice.

Store manager Terry Barker is looking forward to working with his new team. The store will create 20 jobs.

He said: “We are delighted that we can create stable jobs for local people in this time of uncertainty. We look forward to playing an active role in the local community.”

The new store will open from 6am until 11pm seven days a week. It will also have a free cash machine although it will not sell alcohol after Cambridge City Council threw out a licence application last week following objections from the public and police.

Security guards will also patrol the stores in an “unusual step” by Tesco bosses who fear attacks on staff and customers from protesters.

It will also make deliveries to the back of the store after a U-turn on onstreet deliveries following warnings the move would be “dangerous”.

Cambridge Evening News, 24th August 2009

Press release: No Mill Road Tesco Campaign takes Cambridge City Council to court over failure to enforce planning restrictions

Richard Rippin, a member of the No Mill Road Tesco (NMRT) Campaign, will today seek a High Court Interim Order to halt deliveries to the proposed Cambridge store and ban the use of the Air Conditioning units that seem to have been installed contrary to planning controls.

Despite having no safe and legal means of delivering to the proposed Tesco Express site, the company intend to open the store this coming Wednesday. The City Council have been aware of these plans for at least six weeks but have done nothing to prevent them coming to fruition, and formalised their position of inaction at a meeting of their East Area Committee last Wednesday.

Further to the Interim Order, the campaign is also seeking a Judicial Review of the Council’s failure to act to prevent the unsafe operation of the store.

NMRT Committee Member Richard Rippin said, “As a resident of the area for 15 years, I know how dangerous Tesco’s delivery plans are. Everyone who lives in the area knows how narrow Mill Road is and how many road accidents there are already. Everyone who lives here also knows it would be impossible to send lorries around the area’s narrow residential streets several times a day.

“We are sad to be in the position of having to take the Council to the High Court, but we feel that we’ve have been left with no alternative. Whether Tesco try to deliver to the front or around the back in these lorries, they would be doing something which they are either specifically banned from doing at the site, or which a series of relevant professionals, including their own consultants, have said would be impractical and unsafe. The council have had several weeks to take action to stop this happening. On Wednesday they again decided to delay.”

Notes for Editors:

Richard Rippin can be contacted on 07886 757987 or

The NMRT Campaign has been running since September 2007 – see

During this time Tesco have lost 3 planning applications, an alcohol license application and a public enquiry. Many of these defeats have been based on the fact that there is simply no safe way to service this site with in the region of 35 deliveries per week, using large vehicles which would either have to block a major route in and out of the city centre for extended periods each day, or navigate around narrow one way streets, which Tesco themselves have said was unworkable.

Over 5000 local people have signed a petition against the proposed store.

Tesco lorries down Sedgwick Street already causing problems

Entirely as predicted, Tesco’s lorries delivering to the back of the store are already causing problems down Sedwick Street.

These pictures were sent to us by a local resident of the street. If you have any more, please e-mail them to us via the address on our contact details page.

The lorry driver has had to exit the vehicle and move wing mirrors. Notice the proximity to the parked cars.

P1000476a P1000479a

Tune in to Radio 209 on Monday

We are due to take part in an interview on 209 radio at 5.30pm on Monday. Do tune in!

‘Be a lorry!’ bike ride

A group of local people have arranged a bike ride round the ‘loop’ which supporters may be interested to hear about.

Midday, Saturday 22nd August.