Author Archive

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.

East Area Committee decides to take no immediate enforcement action against Mill Road Tesco

At today’s East Area Committee, a daytime meeting attended by around 100 people and a meeting seeing uproar at the conduct of the charing of the meeting by Cllr Blencowe, it was decided:

In light of the assurances given by Tesco including by letter dated the 17th of August 2009 and subject to receipt of a satisfactory undertaking on its part to comply with the condition regarding deliveries, no further action is taken at present.


that the Director of Environment and Planning and the Head of Legal Services are given full delegated powers to take enforcement action in the event that Tesco breach the planning condition requiring no loading or unloading of goods, including fuel, to take place otherwise than within the curtilage of the site.

It was noted by one speaker that a representative of Tesco was present at the back of the meeting, but he did not announce his present, and he refused a direct invitation (by that public speaker) to speak.

[Subsequent edit: The Minutes of the meeting are now available.]

Separately, our legal action is continuing.

A very full and accurate report of the meeting has been published by independent resident, Richard Taylor, on his blog, which we recommend all supporters to read.

We agree with the comments made by one reader of that blog that

“chair Cllr Blencowe conducted the meeting in a dreadful manner. He managed to antagonise the entire crowd of about 100 people by continually interrupting speakers and preventing them making their points.”

and we are considering what action, separately, to take on that issue.

Legal update

A considerable amount of legal correspondence regarding High Court action is being undertaken by our lawyer at present, between ourselves, Tesco’s legal representative and Cambridge City Council. This is in the light of various announcements and statements from both Cambridge City Council and Tesco themselves relating to the planning conditions, their enforcement, and delivery options.

We will publish a more detailed update as soon as possible.

Thank you to the very many of you who have contributed to our legal fund. Further donations can be made at Arjuna or Libra Aries.

Letter to nearby residents

We have written a letter to nearby residents on the issues they will be facing when Tesco starts its daily lorry deliveries.