Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category.

The end of Tesco

Tesco now closedTesco has finally closed its store on Mill Road today.

When plans for a store were first announced back in 2007, thousands of people opposed it. Local residents came together to say that another supermarket wasn’t wanted or needed on a street famous for its independent businesses. They organised, they marched, they wrote objections.

Thanks to that community effort, the store that finally opened two years later was smaller and less disruptive to the families living around it.

Because the site was already a shop, Tesco were able to go ahead and open, even after they were repeatedly refused permission for their expansion plans. But because of those refusals, the store was more expensive to run and not able to sell alcohol.

When it finally opened, many people chose not to shop there, preferring to support the local independent shops, run by people who were members of the community, or to use the Co-op that had been part of Mill Road for over a century.

The result was that the Tesco store that most local people never wanted and never used was a loss-making site from the start. In the first months of its operation, people who worked there said that it was losing £10,000 a week. If that carried on, it will have lost over £6 million in the years it was open.

We don’t actually know how much Tesco lost by refusing to listen to local shoppers and forcing open the store. But we doubt they’d be closing if they were making a profit.

So today marks the end of Tesco on Mill Road.

But what’s ending is less important than what won’t change.

In one way, Tesco perhaps did us a favour in 2007. It made thousands of us realise just how much we valued what was unique about Mill Road. It made us realise that we didn’t want to lose that special character.  And it made us more aware of the area as a community. It brought us together.

A lot has changed on Mill Road since 2007. Some shops and restaurants have closed and new ones have opened. It now has a beautiful, award-winning mosque. We’ve lost amazing people who worked for and shared their love of the area.

But despite the changes, it remains the same: a diverse, thriving community with the unique character that made people work so hard to protect it. Long after Tesco has been forgotten here, Mill Road will continue to be a place where people want to live and work, where they want to shop and eat, and come together as a community.

So, thank you to everyone who has helped to make this a place we want to be – a place worth fighting for.

See you on Mill Road.

A poem, from Ed Jenkins, whose videos from 2007-9 you can also browse.

The ‘Express’ has been derailed
Yes Tesco in Romsey has failed,
Campaigners said when Wilco left
Tesco eventually will fail the test.

They fought long and hard,
But Police held the trump card,
The Company was told,
‘No alcohol will be sold’.

Road safety became an issue
With danger seen in any queue,
Unloading supplies taking time,
Keeping traffic in frustrating line.

So deliveries had to be done
Round narrow streets by tiny van,
Only little and often to happen
No large loads to break the pattern.

The time has come,
Campaigners have won,
And now they can say,
‘No Tesco in Mill Road’ is back to stay.

Ed Jenkins, 28th May 2022

10 years ago

Tesco opened their store 10 years ago today.

The store looks as if it is unprofitable as ever. Despite its probable loss-making, Tesco will probably never pull out, which would be to acknowledge that one of the largest anti-Tesco campaigns in the country was right.

This is a small store with a limited range that is hard to service. Thanks to our efforts, Tesco failed to get an extension, failed to be able to deliver using the large lorries they wanted, cannot deliver from on Mill Road, and cannot sell alcohol. They lost planning applications as well as an appeal in front of a government inspector, and had to rely on the existing very limited shop permission.

Rarely do you see many customers in what is a small store offering nothing that other local shops and the Co-op already have.

Millions of pounds have been taken out of the Mill Road area as a result of this store over the last ten years, reducing the viability of the other shops.

We encourage people to Shop Local and support your local traders.

Milly Card – Mill Road’s loyalty card scheme

The Milly Card is Mill Road’s loyalty card scheme. The scheme is run by The Mill Road Society, an off-shoot of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign.

The Milly Card loyalty scheme exists to encourage people to use the shops and other services available on Mill Road, Cambridge, and the area around Mill Road.

The purpose of the scheme is to allow local residents to show their suport for local traders and for Mill Road traders to have the opportunity to respond generously. This scheme will encourage business profits and goodwill to circulate within our community for the benefit of all who live here.

Membership costs £2 per person. This gives a MILLY membership card, which, when presented to participating traders, will entitile the holder to special offers and discounts. The list of offers is available on the Milly Card website.

Use the Application Form to apply for a Milly Card.

For full details of the scheme, go to the Milly Card website at

The Milly stall in Hope St Yard for two hours on 16th May saw lots of interest and new sign-ups.

Formal decision notice on alcohol appeal

As we reported a month ago on February 25th, Tesco lost their attempt to sell booze on Mill Road – an area which is now a Cumulative Impact Zone (which creates an assumption against the granting of new licenses).

We have today (16th March 2010) received the formal decision notice from the City Council. Their e-mail reads as below:

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 15:55:33 +0000
From: licensing at
Subject: Tesco, 163/167 Mill Road – Appeal decision

To all persons who made representations to the above application for a premises licence.

We are pleased to tell you that the hearing of Tesco’s appeal against the Council’s refusal to grant a Premises Licence for the Mill Road store concluded on Thursday 25th February 2010 and the appeal was dismissed.  This means that Tesco Stores in Mill Road is unable to sell alcohol.

Please find attached a copy of the formal written decision which we have now received from the Magistrates Court.

Licensing Team
Environmental Services
Cambridge City Council
01223 457879

Tesco LOSE their licensing application appeal

NEWS JUST IN: Tesco have LOST their attempt to sell booze on Mill Road – an area which is now a Cumulative Impact Zone (which creates an assumption against the granting of new licenses).

More details and commentary on this will follow in due course.

Tesco silently change their alcohol policy just before Mill Road licensing hearing begins

A member of the public has pointed out on his blog that Tesco have removed a key part of their alcohol policy, just before the Mill Road licensing hearing began.

The text that has been removed is:

“A flexible approach to licensing: We do not apply for licences in areas with known disorder issues and we review existing licences where evidence emerges that late-night alcohol sales are contributing to problem drinking.”

Below is the evidence of this sneaky change. Click on each screenshot below to see the full version and read the changed text.

Before: Tesco’s current Corporate Page promoting its “responsible” attitude to the sale of alcohol:

[Note that the yellow highlighting is merely present because Google’s cache highlights the search term used when finding the page.]

After: The same page before it was quoted as evidence against Tesco in their recent court action to be allowed to sell alcohol in one of its Cambridge stores in an area “with known disorder issues”:

Licensing appeal in progress

The licensing appeal is in progress.

Tesco have proposed various conditions as a way of trying to get a licence – including not advertising alcohol on their windows. (This is somewhat ironic given that Tesco were caught only last month advertising wine in their Mill Road window, which attracted the interest of the regulatory authorities …)

We will update on the outcome of the appeal when we have it.

Tesco licensing appeal date set

We have now heard that the date of the licensing appeal is 23rd – 25th February, to be held at Cambridge Magistrates Court.

We understand there are 18 witnesses in total.

Tesco advertising half-price wine on Mill Road

Why are Tesco advertising half-price wine on Mill Road, an area with a known with an alcohol problem, when they were refused a license to sell alcohol?

Introducing the Milly Card

A message from the Mill Road Society …

Dear supporter,

As part of our support for traders in the we are launching a Mill Road traders discount scheme. This scheme called ‘Milly’ will be launched at the Winter Fair where we hope to get lots of members of the public to sign up to the scheme. Prior to this we are endeavouring to get as many of the local traders on board as possible with discount and other special offers.

Read our briefing, ‘Introducing The Milly Card’. It will cost £2 for members of the public to join and get a Milly card. For the traders, the cost will only be the cost of discounts and special offers that they wish to offer.

We are looking for people to help us in discussions with the traders. Please help us if you can talk to traders (shops, restaurants, service providers) in the Mill Road area about the scheme and hopefully get them on board.

We are also looking for some volunteers to help us run the Milly stall at the Winter Fair.

If you are willing to help with either of the above, please e-mail us – we are coordinating the discussions with the traders. (If you know any traders particularly well or have a preference over who you would like to contact – please let us know).

We hope that you will support our Milly and assist us with the launch. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.