Archive for the ‘Enforcement’ Category.

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.

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.

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.

FoI request: response received

On 22nd July 2009 we wrote to the City Council planning department with some Freedom of Information requests relating to planning issues at the site. We have now received a response.

Here is the City Council’s response to our FoI request, which also contains our questions interleaved.

Key extracts from it are:

[On the question of whether the previous occupant breached the planning condition that unloading must take place within the site:]

“There is no hard evidence of a continuous 10-year breach by the previous occupant.”

[On the question of the Council’s position on Tesco failing to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness for the site:]

“There has been no decision by the City Council planning officers or others, “to reverse the Council’s position that a Certificate of Lawfulness application by Tesco in relation to 163-167 Mill Road, Cambridge, would enable the Council to “make a proper assessment of the proposed works and give an informed formal legal view as to whether or not these works require planning permission””.”

[On the question of Tesco installing air conditioning:]

“The Council has been advised at meetings that all the air conditioning plant is now to be inside the building. There has however, despite requests, been very little information forthcoming, between 1 December 2008 and 22 July 2009, about what plant is to be introduced inside the building.”

Tesco reply to David Howarth MP’s letter

Tesco have today replied to David Howarth’s letter asking why Tesco plan to break the law.

Here is Tesco’s reply to David Howarth’s letter.

It contains some interesting statements. Tesco themselves have now said (our emphasis):

“As you know the building does have a planning condition, which dates back quite a way that requires deliveries to be made to the rear doors.  This condition was in force prior to the surrounding roads being made into a one way system and would now require delivery vehicles to drive along residential streets.

“As part of our good neighbour policy we always consider local residents and neighbours and this was certainly a factor in our choice to deliver to the front of the store, as did the previous occupants, and most of the other traders along Mill Road do.

“Although we think this is probably the best option for the area I would like to confirm that we plan to service the store from the rear.”

i.e. drive round the loop into the rear of the site, manoeuvre a lorry in (and hope that there is space left in the car park).

East Area Committee to discuss planning enforcement at Tesco site

A meeting of the East Area Committee is to take place this Thursday to discuss planning enforcement at the Tesco site.

Date: Thursday 20 August 2009
Time: 10am
Place: St Phillips Church, 185 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 3AN

The agenda has now been published.

The City Council previously issued a public statement recognising the validity of the planning condition preventing lorries unloading from on Mill Road for this site:

“There is a lawful planning consent for the use of 163-167 Mill Road for retail use which requires deliveries to be made only from a rear service yard. We are urgently contacting Tesco to establish the company’s intention for the premises given the lawful consent. If it becomes clear that enforcement action may be necessary then the officers will report to members as soon as possible on options for further action”

* Read our FAQ for the latest on all aspects of the Mill Road Tesco issue. A legal update will also follow soon.

We would ask supporters to gather outside St Phillips Church at 9.30 to express our view that deliveries by Tesco to the site will be dangerous. Please bring any transport-related banners.

Air conditioning installed by Tesco

Tesco appear to have installed an air conditioning or refrigeration system at the back of the shop.

There seem to be pipes coming out of the back (where we believe there used to be a window), leading up to the roof.

Tesco have been twice refused permission to install air conditioning when they applied.

We are seeking clarification on whether plant has indeed been installed at the back of the site, and if so, when formal confirmation was given to Tesco by the planning department that no further planning permission was needed, and any data supplied by Tesco to show that there would be no noise impacts from the plant.

David Howarth MP asks Tesco chief why they plan to break the law

David Howarth, Cambridge’s MP, has copied us in on a letter he has sent to Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco.

Mr Howarth, who incidentally is also a lawyer, writes:

Dear Sir Terry

I was surprised and disturbed to read that Tesco plc is planning to ignore planning conditions that prevent deliveries to the front of the proposed new store in Mill Road, Cambridge. (See attached news story).

Is it really Tesco policy to ignore those planning conditions or laws it does not like? Is Tesco expecting the local authority to turn a blind eye to this proposed law-breaking?

If it is, I wonder whether Tesco would turn a blind eye if some of its customers decided that they did not wish to obey the law on shoplifting.

I hope you can reassure me on this matter.

Yours sincerely

David Howarth
Member of Parliament for Cambridge