From SchNews – www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news656.htm
For the last 378 days and counting, local campaigners have managed to
thwart Tesco’s plans to open an ‘Express’ store on Cambridge’s Mill
Road. The street has a large number of mainly independent shops – a
rare sight these days when every town centre is an identikit high
street set of corporate chains.
The proposed site has been standing empty for over a year now.
When local residents learned of Tesco’s plans, they formed the No
Mill Road Tesco campaign group (www.nomillroadtesco.org). After
organizing a petition that raised more than four thousand signatures,
they held various demos outside the site and a march along Mill Road
that attracted some 500 demonstrators.
In May, the groundfloor of the building was squatted and turned into
a social centre (www.millroadsocialcentre.wordpress.com). The space,
after being cleared and redecorated, hosted a large number of events,
including dance classes, art exhibitions, acoustic gigs and a comedy
Breaking promises made at their possession hearing, Tesco called in
the bailiffs in July, confident that their appeal to an earlier
refusal of their planning application would be upheld. As it turns
out, it wasn’t. Since then Tesco have launched two further appeals,
the first of which was resoundingly rejected earlier last week
(12th), on the grounds that twice daily deliveries by huge delivery
trucks would cause havoc on this already dangerous stretch of road,
used by a large number of cyclists.
There will be a second public enquiry, regarding alternative
proposals, leading to a further waste of public money. This is
Tesco’s time-honoured strategy – keep appealing until local councils
and residents run out of money or their strength of will.
The new store is ‘obviously sorely needed’ – why, Tesco only currently
take 51 pence out of every grocery pound spend in Cambridge. That’s
barely a majority let alone monopoly domination! Besides, Tesco want
to cash in as the credit-crunched consumer class mistakenly fall for
their marketing spin of ‘value’.
* For more about Tesco see www.tescopoly.org