Archive for August 2009

CEN article: Tesco set for 15th city store

Note: NMRT has no view on other Tesco stores around Cambridge. However, this story will be of interest to some of our supporters, and it also mentions the artistic protest event which took place at the weekend.


TESCO is considering opening another store in Cambridge – the supermarket giant’s 15th in the city.

The former Dreams bed shop in East Road has been earmarked as a prime site for an Express store.

The latest proposed scheme would be less than one mile from the controversial store in Mill Road, which is set to open on August 26.

There has been furious opposition to the Mill Road shop, due to the street’s reputation for unique, independent retailers.

More than 5,000 people signed a petition against it, but some residents are in favour, saying Tesco will bring cheaper prices.

The No Mill Road Tesco Campaign this weekend held a demonstration at the site for the second Saturday in a row.

And Cambridge City Council is today (Monday, 17 August) set to decide on an alcohol licence for the store.

Beverley Carpenter, the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign co-ordinator, said: “It was quite a lively protest.

“We were protesting about the licensing application. We decorated the fence around the site with lager cans. We are hopeful the application will be turned down.”

She said while the group felt it was “really inappropriate” to have a Tesco store on Mill Road, it did not hold particular views on applications at other sites in the city.

Dreams, the bed linen and furniture store, has moved to the Beehive centre and held its grand opening this weekend.

Glen Deadman, assistant manager of Dreams, said: “I think it would be good if Tesco is moving to our old site.

There are so many students and people on that road that would use it. The road needs brightening up.”

London-based CgMs, which has been the planning agent for Tesco’s Mill Road store, is also overseeing applications to Cambridge City Council for the East Road venture.

Plans for “plant works to rear enclosed by 2m high hit and miss fence” at the site were approved earlier this year.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “We are always on the lookout for possible new sites all over the country and are often in negotiations for suitable schemes for Express stores.

“However, these often never materialise and until an agreement is reached or an application made we would not comment on individual cases.”

Cambridge Evening News, 17th August 2009

Tesco Mill Road alcohol licensing meeting


The decision whether to allow Tesco to sell alcohol on Mill Road, an area with a known alcohol problem and recently designated as a alcohol Cumulative Impact Zone, will be decided this week.

The meeting is at 10am on Monday 17th August 2009, at the Guildhall. The meeting is open to all, and we encourage NMRT supporters to attend if they are not at work that day.

The police have objected, and engaged a lawyer to write their objection.

There have been 120 representations submitted about Tesco’s application.

The full agenda and main paper for the meeting has been published.

Artistic response to Tesco’s licensing application

NoMillRoad Tesco Lager

Saturday 15th August, 12-1pm will see another event outside the Wilco site. We will be continuing to put pressure on the council to act but also raising awareness about the Tesco’s application for an alcohol licence (which is due to be heard on Monday at the Guildhall at 10.00am).

We would ask you to come along and dress the fence with us between 12 and 1pm, bringing with you empty beer cans to form part of our artistic intervention.

Please come and make your voice heard in an artistic and legal way!

Plan of Tesco’s store, for “upmarket” people

We have noticed some interesting things in Tesco’s store plan, which forms part of their alcohol licence application.

On the balance between types of stock:

  • The proportion of shelf space for alcohol is inconsistent; the list down the side mentions 6 “mods” (shelving units, basically) for beer wine and spirits, but the drawing itself shows 10 “mods” for booze.]
  • 10 out of 82 mods represents 12% of the store’s shelf space to be given over to selling booze.
  • 12% of the store’s shelf space means booze represents twice as much as the total space planned for milk, juice, butter, cheese, meat and poultry combined.

On the basis of these figures, the place looks like an off licence/sandwich and snack shop (lots of crisps and sweets)/newsagents, with not very much of the store selling “real” food.

On the right hand side is marked “Affluence: Upmarket”.

The delivery regime also contains an admission of breaking the planning regulations: “Deliveries: Via Entrance”.

Click to view the full-size version

They are also planning to sell “deserts” …

Traffic problem evidence being collected

A new section of our website contains collated reports of:

  • Traffic problems being created by Tesco’s operation, including lorry blocking and driving on the pavement)
  • Evidence of unloading during the banned period
  • Evidence of unloading from the front of the site (which is disallowed by planning condition)

If you spot anything similar, which may indicate a breach of planning condition or an offence of obstruction or driving on the pavement, please:

  1. E-mail your report and photos to . We will put this evidence online but anonymise it (unless you state you are happy to have your name public)
  2. If you feel that a breach of planning permission has taken place (see below for guidance), please contact the Council:
  3. If you feel that an offence of obstruction or driving on the pavement has been committed, report this to the police at 0345 4564564 (local rate number).
East Area Committee members have given the senior planners powers to take enforcement action in respect of breaches of planning permission regarding deliveries.

Reporting a breach of condition:

The relevant condition being breached is:

Planning permission C/71/0826 for the building at 163-167 Mill Road.

“Condition: No loading or unloading of  goods,  including  fuel,  shall take place otherwise than within the curtilage of the site.”

The reason:  “To  avoid  obstruction  of  the  surrounding  streets  and  to safeguard the amenities of adjacent premises”.

Details of how to report a suspected breach of condition are at

Please report suspected breaches as soon as possible.

Quotation from a blog post on traffic issues

We have come across a blog post made on another website, and are reproducing it here as further evidence of the problems already being created by Tesco’s operation:

“My flatmate stood at the bus syop on the Broadway for some 25 minutes on Wednesday 12 August (9.25 am to 9.45 am) and watched a delivery taking place to the Tesco site. A wagon was parked on the street whilst a piece of bulky equipment was being unloaded. Although large, the wagon was smaller than the usual Tesco mobile warehouse. Cyclists and pedestrians struggled to get past (although the fence contributed to that) and the traffic became something of a nightmare (for part of the time there was also a vehicle parked on the opposite side of the road a little further down. Not only was traffic reduced to single lane, the buses and larger vehicles struggled to manage that at times. Tesco suggest they will be doing this at least twice a day, despite knowing they will be in breach of the planning condition. It seems Tesco are not prepared to admit bought the wrong site and go away – presumably losing one battle may encourage more people to stand up to their bullying tactics. Apparently they may also be looking to open a store on East Road, where deliveries will take place across the Adam and Eve Car Park, another traffic nightmare waiting to happen. They have outline permission there, probably because the Tesco name wasn’t mentioned in the application.”

Pavement driving

Here are some pictures from another supporter.

Again they show deliveries being undertaken from the front of the site.

“Here are some more pictures for your collection. Two of the security van parked on the front and then driving over the pavement last night. Workmen at the front of the store this morning.”

P1000456 [640x480] P1000458 [640x480] P1000459 [640x480]

Cash machine installation (12th August 2009)

Sent to us by a supporter.

Tesco have this morning installed a cash machine on site.  Here are some photos of the lorry that made the delivery.

A video clip was also taken by the same photographer.

DSC04572 DSC04573 DSC04574 DSC04575

Contractors block Mill Road and set up diversion (12th August 2009)

Sent to us by a supporter. Some quotations from the e-mail we received from this supporter are underneath.

IMG00075-20090812-0645 IMG00076-20090812-0647 IMG00077-20090812-0647 IMG00078-20090812-0648 IMG00079-20090812-0648 IMG00082-20090812-0649 IMG00083-20090812-0649 IMG00084-20090812-0650 IMG00085-20090812-0651 IMG00086-20090812-0651

Some quotations from the e-mail we received from this supporter:

I was cycling along Mill Road towards town at around 6:40am when I found the road blocked at the junction with Hope Street .  Pictures attached.  I’m afraid the quality of some of them is not great, but there
are a few that will give you an idea of what was going on.  One of the men confirmed they were Tesco contractors.

“I was cycling along Mill Road towards town at around 6:40am this morning when I found the road blocked at the junction with Hope Street.  The attached pictures are of poor quality, but there are a few that will give you an idea of what was going on.  One of the men confirmed they were Tesco contractors.

They had two large lorries pulled up on the road so they could unload to the front of the store. They were parked on one carriageway and were using a kind of mini forklift truck to unload from the side of the vehicles into the other carriageway, thereby blocking the whole road.  They had a blue diversion sign encouraging people to divert down Hope Street.  Many, but not all did.  When people insisted on passing they waved them through, but unfortunately those doing the waving did not have a co-ordinated approach to this, so they ended up with a bus and van head-on that would have crashed if the van driver had not realised what was happening.  Most cyclists simply rode on the pavement.  Just as I left a police car came past also travelling towards town.  Miraculously the diversion sign seemed to have vanished, I’m not sure if the police car stopped as this happened just as I was cycling away, needless to say down Hope Street.”

“Are the residents of Hope Street  etc happy that drivers are being told to use their roads as a rat run?”

“Was the contractor authorised by the County Council to effectively close the road and use signage and stewards to divert traffic in this way?”

“Were the contractor’s employees suitably qualified to set up this diversion?”

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