Archive for the ‘Press releases’ Category.

Architects compete to find better use for Mill Road site

For immediate release

A group of Cambridge University architecture students is holding a competition to find an alternative use for the old Wilco site on Mill Road, which Tesco has earmarked for the site of its fourteenth store in Cambridge. The group, Architecture Sans Frontiers Cambridge, is asking students to design a building or space which can be used by the community.

The competition, independently organized by ASF Cambridge but to be held at the University Department of Architecture [1], is scheduled to start at lunchtime on Friday 29th February, and finish in the evening on the Saturday 1st March. A reception and display of the entries, open to the public, will begin at 5pm on Saturday. The press is also invited to attend.

Sheila Jeffery, who has been looking into possible alternative uses for the Wilco site on behalf of the No Mill Road Tesco campaign, will be among the judges.

“Architecture Sans Frontiers Cambridge is about learning from architects around the world to develop and promote sustainability and community in architecture,” explained ASF Cambridge Co-President Robert Percy. “We consider having a real local issue as key to the relevance of this project, and the Mill Road community, as one of the most vibrant and united in Cambridge, is the perfect example.”

Sheila Jeffery added: “The No Mill Road Tesco Campaign is pleased to support Architecture Sans Frontiers with this competition as it is an ideal opportunity to show that sustainability and community need to be considered in architecture in projects in this country, on both new buildings and in refurbishing existing ones. This competition gives us all the opportunity to see what could be done with this site to the benefit of the community – giving it something it wants.”

Press release: Survey shows real traffic impact of Tesco Express

On-street parking and all-day deliveries –survey shows the real impact of a Tesco Express

Tesco’s assertions about the levels of additional traffic its proposed store in Mill Road would generate have been called into question by a survey of an existing Tesco Express in Cherry Hinton.

Tesco’s claim that few people visit Tesco Express stores by car seemed so unlikely that volunteers decided to monitor the visitors and deliveries to the Tesco Express in Cherry Hinton High Street on two days in mid-February.

During almost 12 hours on Tuesday 12 February, 110 people parked their cars on the street in order to visit the Cherry Hinton store.  On Friday 15 February this rose to 142 during a nine-and-a-half hour period –an average of 15 people an hour parking on the street in order to use the Tesco store.

These figures do not include people who used nearby car parks. The site of the Cherry Hinton Tesco Express is surrounded by parking facilities, including a 40-bay car park shared by local shops.

Mill Road, by contrast, offers little in the way of public parking, and the parking in adjacent side streets is already insufficient for the needs of residents. An additional influx of car-borne shoppers visiting the proposed Tesco Express would inevitably increase traffic congestion –and Tesco is actually asking for 18 parking spaces to be removed to make room for an extension to the store, and access for its delivery lorries.

What the volunteer monitors had not expected to find was the huge discrepancy between the number of deliveries by lorry which Tesco says the Mill Road store can expect, and the actual figure at Cherry Hinton.

Tesco has said there would be 30 deliveries per week to the Mill Road store. But between 6.45 am and 6.30pm on 12 February, there were nine deliveries to the Cherry Hinton store, and on Friday 15 February, there were five. This store is actually open 15 hours a day, so the daily figure may be higher.

“In less than two full days, the Cherry Hinton store received almost half their projected weekly total deliveries, so it is clear that there will be far more than they say,” said Richard Rippin of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign. “On Tuesday, one lorry turned up before the time it was allowed to unload, as people who live near the Tesco Express on Chesterton Road have told us happens most days.”

Richard Rippin added that the peak times for shoppers arriving by car and parking on the street are the morning and evening rush hour periods. “This tells us that a significant number of customers appear to be stopping on the way to and from work to do ‘top-up’ shopping by car. Since Mill Road is one of the main routes into and out of the city centre, we can be sure that at the times of day when Mill Road is already heavily congested, there would be more traffic congestion created by people, many of them likely to be parking illegally, dropping into the Tesco Express.”

The No Mill Road Tesco campaign has passed the full data from the two days’ monitoring to members of the East Area Committee and the planning officers. The Committee will meet at 7.30 on the 6 March, at St Philips Church, Mill Road, to decide on Tesco’s three new applications.

Press release: ‘It’s like living in a Tesco carpark’

12 February 2008
For immediate release

Among the many grounds for objecting to the proposal to open a Tesco Express store on Mill Road is the disturbance and disruption that just-in-time deliveries would cause to residents and road users.

In the Local Transport Plan, the City Council states as one of its five overall objectives ‘to minimise the adverse effects of transport on people and the environment’.

Tell that to the families living at the Mill Road end of Sedgwick Street, if the experience of a resident living across from the Chesterton Tesco Express is anything to go by. The following is a verbatim report:

‘The time of first delivery was from 5.30am onwards. They could only officially unload at 6 and so would often park up and wait. The reversing into place outside the shop involves the ‘bleeping’ and then crashing as the tail lift is put down. There is then constant noise as trolleys are pushed up and down the length of the lorries. After much complaint the deliveries now happen from 7am onwards. But this also includes Saturdays and Sundays.

‘There are a MINIMUM of 3 deliveries per day and in actual fact there are more like 4-5 per day. This is because there is a separate bread delivery, then a milk delivery occurs (directly from separate companies), followed by Tesco’s own lorries.

‘The size of the Tesco lorries is also an issue as they are huge HGVs. Not only is this leading to more wear and tear on the speed bumps in Chesterton but the lorries stick out into the street when they are parked.

‘Especially at peak times (8.30-9.30am and then 5pm-8pm) there are huge numbers of cars pulling up for Tesco’s. There are double yellow lines that people park on illegally. Then there’s the problems of people constantly doing three-point turns and reversing round corners of adjacent roads. As a cyclist there are more hazards of car doors opening, pedestrians stepping into the road without looking, and cars pulling in and out of parking spaces.’

This is what the residents of Romsey have to look forward to if Cambridge City Council’s East Area Committee gives in to Tesco’s bullying tactics [2].

Local councillors will make their decision about Tesco’s applications on 6 March, and the public have until 21 February to submit comments and objections. (But if you objected to Tesco’s original applications, there is no need to resubmit your objections). Links to Tesco’s planning applications, and details of how you can object, can be found on


Notes for Editors

[1] From the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Tesco: The Supermarket that’s eating Britain televised on 17 February 2007

[2] Because of the Council’s delay in reaching a decision ‘partly due to the huge number of well-founded objections from local people’ Tesco has decided to lodge an ‘Appeal for Non-determination’, effectively bypassing local decision-making by going over the heads of the Council to the Planning Inspectorate. This puts additional pressure on councillors because the City council – and therefore council taxpayers – would be liable for the costs if Tesco’s appeal were successful.

Press release: No Mill Road Tesco Campaign Comments on Tesco’s Decision to Lodge Non-Determination Appeal

Press release: issued 22nd January

We are surprised to hear that Tesco have now decided to lodge an appeal for non-determination when this option has been available to them for several weeks. We can only assume this is because they did not consider that their applications would withstand the closer scrutiny that they will receive in the new planning officers’ report.

Tesco say that the choice to avoid an appeal now lies with the council – presumably if they vote in favour of Tesco. This is precisely the type of arm-twisting tactic that gives companies such as Tesco a bad name. In taking this step, Tesco have shown their lack of respect for local democracy by attempting to pressurise council officers and the councillors before the decisions have been taken.

By choosing to lodge an appeal now, Tesco are potentially costing Cambridge council tax payers money with the costs they will claim from the council. The council has regrettably failed to meet planning deadlines, and Tesco have chosen to appeal before the planning decisions were taken, triggering an expensive legal process. The No Mill Road Tesco campaign, however, has respected every deadline set. This is in contrast to the repeated submission of new information and proposals by Tesco in the last three months – actions that must, presumably, have contributed to the delay about which they now complain.

If Tesco really believe in local democracy, they will withdraw their appeal and allow local councillors to take the decisions on 28th February. Given that Tesco claim to listen to the local community, however, and that they have ignored the 5,000 signatures on our petition and the 1,100 planning objections lodged, this is unlikely to happen.

Tesco say that all sensible perspective has been lost on the issue. That depends on what they think is important. Tesco may not think that their plans to reduce car parking matters, but local residents in a part of Cambridge already renowned for its lack of parking spaces feel differently. Tesco may not think that reversing 10-metre lorries down narrow residential streets every day is important, but as residents of an area with one of the worst road safety records in the county, we disagree. Many of these accidents happen on exactly the kind of street corner where Tesco propose to build their development; they may not think that’s important either, but we do.

We also think it’s important that our local community flourishes as a centre where people can work, shop and live. Evidence from all over the country shows that the proposed Tesco store would threaten that. Tesco may not care about that; we do.

Equally, we think that planning decisions need to be made on the basis of the guidelines that the council have established for themselves, as well as on national guidance. We think that both of these show that the application should be rejected.

We would encourage Tesco to rethink this decision which undermines the normal processes of local government and makes them look as if they are trying to get the result they want by putting pressure on the decision-makers. If they are confident of their applications they can save themselves and everyone else time and money by letting the normal planning process take its course.

Press release: Council decision on Tesco “could change the character of Mill Road forever”

Decision day is fast approaching for the proposal to open a Tesco store on Mill Road. An overwhelming majority [1] of Mill Road residents and shoppers are opposed to the proposal, which threatens the many independent and local shops that give Mill Road its unique cosmopolitan character.

On Thursday 17th January, Cambridge City Council’s East Area Committee will meet at 7.15 for a 7.30 start at St Philips Church, 185 Mill Road, to decide on Tesco’s applications for the former Wilco site. These include a new shop-front in Tesco’s ubiquitous livery, 15-metre illuminated signs, and a large extension to the back of the building, with noisy refrigeration and air conditioning units to be installed close to homes on Sedgwick Street.

Tesco has also told the council that they will be asking for the removal of 18 car parking spaces, including four spaces on Sedgwick Street, so that they can reverse their lorries onto the site several times a day.

The No Mill Road Tesco campaign [2], which has collected more than 5,200 signatures from residents opposed to the Tesco store, is urging as many people as possible to attend, so that councillors are in no doubt about the strength of public feeling.

“In its Local Plan, the Council committed itself to preventing any developments that would harm the vitality and viability of local centres, like Mill Road, ” said Sonia Cooter, coordinator of the NoMillRoadTesco campaign. “Yet case after case across the country shows that where a Tesco Express opens, other shops, especially small, independent shops, go out of business. These are the shops that Mill Road is known and loved for.

“If they want to meet their commitments to safeguard the future of this area as a place to work and live and shop, they will reject these applications. Last year, Barnet Council successfully rejected a similar application on exactly these grounds; we hope that our councillors value our community enough to do the same.”

She added there are many other substantial grounds upon which the applications could and should be rejected, including the increase in congestion which the continual arrival of just-in-time deliveries will cause. “The increase in traffic would also put pedestrians and cyclists, including children travelling to Coleridge and St Philips schools, at risk, and would add to delays for motorists who depend on Mill Road. Residents of Sedgwick Street and other streets around Mill Road would be particularly hard-hit by the loss of parking spaces, which are already desperately short in the area.”

Anyone who submitted a written objection during the consultation period is entitled to speak against the proposals during the meeting, provided they have notified the Area Committee Manager, Mr John Blunt, by 12 noon on Wednesday 16th January. Mr Blunt can be contacted on 01223 457012 or via e-mail,, or by writing c/o Room 11, The Guildhall, Cambridge CB2 3QJ.

Notes for Editors

[1] Over 1200 written objections to the Tesco proposals were received during the consultation period. Council officers have privately commented that a normal response to a planning application of this kind would be 10 to 12 written objections.


Press release: 300 people take part in March against Mill Road Tesco

An estimated 300 people braced the cold weather today to march down Mill Road in protest against the planned opening of a Tesco Express store on the street.

Local residents, shoppers and traders marched down Mill Road in an act of defiance that will send a strong message to add to the petition of over 4000 signatures already gathered against the proposal.

Before the march began, City Council Leader Ian Nimmo-Smith spoke to the assembled crowds. “It is an oddity that the most serious aspect of the proposal of opening a store on Mill Road is something the planning committee can not take into account. That is the great concern that a valuable and unique collection of independent shops could be marginalised and lose viability” he said.

Ben Bradnack, City Councillor for Petersfield, added “This is a case of a community which functions as a community. It is the local community which is fighting this battle, and it will be a victory for the local community if we win”.

After the march, local campaigner Richard Rippin commented “The march was a great success today. The fact that so many people came out in such cold weather shows the strength of feeling in this community. Some argue Tesco will bring choice, but we love Mill Road the way it is. We already have a fantastic choice of independent shops here, all of which would be threatened if Tesco opened. We don’t want Mill Road to be another identikit street like every other high street in Britain, and that’s why we’re marching today, and that’s why we’ll keep fighting.”

The campaign are now waiting for the decision of the City Council on Tesco’s three planning applications. To get involved in the campaign visit The next meeting will be on Wednesday 28th November at 6.30pm in the Baptist Church, Mill Road.


Notes for Editors:

For more information see

No-to-Tesco march will celebrate Mill Road

Mill Road area residents, shoppers and traders will march in a show of opposition to Tesco’s plans to open a store on Cambridge’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan street. 10,000 postcards advertising the march have been distributed in the city, and the organisers expect a huge show of support from people who value the real choice and diversity offered by Mill Road’s independent shops [1].

The marchers will gather on the green beside Parkside swimming pool (known locally as Donkey Common) at 12 noon on Saturday 24th November.

Before the march begins, Mill Road shopkeepers and concerned local politicians will say a few words, and there will be messages of support from other groups who are fighting to keep Tesco out of their communities -including some who have succeeded [2].

The march will end at the former Wilco site on Mill Road Broadway, which Tesco had already secured with a 15-year lease before making its plans public.

“As we want to cause minimum disruption to the busy life of Mill Road, when we reach the Wilco site we will keep the proceedings brief before dispersing,” said NoMillRoadTesco campaign coordinator Sonia Cooter.

Tesco already has three supermarkets and three smaller Express stores in the city, and according to the UK’s Competition Commission, pockets 51 pence out of every pound spent on groceries in Cambridge [3].

Research has shown that money spent at independent shops continues to circulate locally, supporting a range of jobs from window-cleaners to accountants. Supermarkets tend to make use of large cleaning, accountancy and other business services companies from outside the area, and this money – and the jobs it pays for – are lost to the local economy [4].

“When we first proposed the march, somebody suggested that we make it a funeral for Mill Road, complete with hearse,” Sonia Cooter added. “But the huge groundswell of public opinion reflected in the 4000-plus petition signatures and 1100 written objections have convinced us that Tesco can be beaten. We have therefore decided to make the march a celebration of Mill Road’s life and culture.”

For interviews on the day, contact Richard Rippin

For other contacts see

Notes for editors

[1] A shopping basket comparison between a local Tesco Express store and the independent shops on Mill Road, debunked the myth that Tesco brings lower prices. See here for details:

[2] The campaign against Tesco on Mill Road is supported by groups and parties across the community and the political spectrum. See: for details.

[3] . For a summary, see

[4]  “Buying local worth 400 per cent more”, New Economics Foundation and Northumberland County Council, March 2005:

Press release: Leader of Cambridge City Council calls for Office of Fair Trading intervention

The following press release below has been issued by the Leader of Cambridge City Council.

The letter to the Office of Fair Trading from the Leader of Cambridge City Council can be read online.

Competition review needed on Tesco proposal

The Leader of Cambridge City Council has called for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate proposals for a Tesco on Mill Road.

Local residents and traders are very concerned about the effect that a Tesco Express Store on the site would have on the independent traders of Mill Road. Councillor Ian Nimmo-Smith has written to the Office of Fair Trading asking for an urgent review by the Competition Commission.

Councillor Ian Nimmo-Smith commented:

“Tesco already has three supermarkets and three Express stores in Cambridge and has very few major rivals in the city. The addition of a Tesco store in Mill Road will further increase the company’s dominance within Cambridge as well as risking seriously damaging the diverse and independent stores on Mill Road.

“I have asked for an urgent investigation by the Competition Commission into Tesco’s proposed new store.”

Richard Rippin from the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign said:

“We’re delighted that we have cross party support at the City Council and that Cllr Nimmo-Smith has taken the step of referring this matter to the OFT. The incredibly strong feeling among local people and local politicians gives us confidence that together we can keep Tescos out and keep Mill Road special”

Press release: 100s More Names on “Stop Tesco’s” Petition

Just a week after a petition signed by thousands of local people was presented to Cambridge City Council, opposing Tesco’s plans to open a store on the city’s iconic Mill Road, another huge list of objectors will be handed into the Guildhall this Friday.

Campaign Co-ordinator Sonia Cooter, who will be presenting the new petition, said:

“Clearly we’re delighted that hundreds more people have signed up to the campaign in the last week. People who live and work around Mill Road really don’t want Tesco’s marching in and wrecking the unique character of our neighbourhood – and this is what we will be impressing on Tesco’s corporate affairs manager Michael Kissman, who we hope to be meeting soon.”

She added

“Do Tesco’s really want to move into area where thousands of people are saying “GO AWAY”, when they are already so well represented in the Cambridge area?”

The date for objections to Tesco’s current planning applications for the Mill Road site expires on the 19th but it is expected that several more applications would need to be lodged if the scheme was to go ahead and a local furore, that has already attracted national attention, seems destined to run on for the foreseeable future.

Press release: campaigners to hand in a petition of over 2250 signatures

Press release – 11/10/07 – For immediate release

No Mill Road Tesco campaigners to hand in a petition of over 2250 signatures to city planners

On Friday 12th October, a huge petition signed by concerned residents, workers and shoppers from the Mill Road area will be submitted to the Planning Department at the Cambridge City Council. This submission by the No Mill Road Tesco campaign coincides with the deadline for objections to the planning applications Tesco have filed. Tesco have leased the old Wilco site and are waiting for planning permission before converting the site into a Tesco store. The message from local residents to the city planners is clear – ‘Please help us ensure Tesco stays away from Mill Road’.

In just three weeks since the start of the campaign, the petition has collected in excess of 2250 signatures, and more a coming in every day. Local councillors, traders, community and faith groups and residents are backing the No Mill Road Tesco campaign. Hundreds people have signed up to receive campaign updates by email.

Sonia Cooter from the No Mill Road Tesco campaign said ‘The size of this petition shows how strongly local people feel about Tesco. People who live, shop and work in this area have built up relationships with local traders and appreciate the diversity of goods and services available. Tesco is the exact opposite of everything we love about this area. When we already have so many Tesco stores in and around Cambridge, opening yet another store on Mill Road is crazy. There are also a range of planning issues such as lorries having to unload from the pavement, waste disposal problems, inability to access their proposed rear parking area, traffic generation, and lack of cycle parking.’

‘I hope this petition sends a clear message to decision makers that local people don’t want the supermarket giant here and to Tesco themselves, that they are simply not welcome’.


Notes for Editors:

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY – handing in the petition at 12:30, Guildhall, Market Square

More information about the campaign can be found
at .

Details about Tesco’s planning applications and some objections can be found on our website.

This includes the results of a shopping basket comparison which found goods from a Tesco Express store to be MORE expensive than goods from Mill Road shops (including the existing Co-op store).