Azara Blog: The academic middle class of Cambridge do not like Tesco

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Date published: 2007/10/22

The Cambridge Evening News says:

More than 4,000 people have signed up to stop Tesco opening a new supermarket in Cambridge.

A 4,136-signature petition was formally handed to Cambridge City Council on Friday.

The No Mill Road Tesco campaign has gained momentum in recent weeks thanks to public meetings, street busking events and a growing online presence, including a protest website and Facebook group.

Several hundred objections have also been sent to the council's planning team, which extended a deadline for comments following the postal strike.

The furore surrounds three planning applications submitted by Tesco to convert the former Wilco building in Mill Road into a store.

The latest email, sent on Friday evening from the group, said: "Our campaign has received support from the MP, David Howarth, and the leader of the council, Ian Nimmo-Smith. We are delighted to have cross-party support and hope the combination of political support and, most importantly, the enormous strength of public feeling will persuade Tesco they are not wanted on Mill Road.

"We have also formally submitted our objections to Tesco's planning applications. We made 11 separate planning objections to the proposed extension, all based on solid planning grounds."
...
The council is expected to make a decision by mid-November.

The academic middle class in action. But since Cambridge is run by the academic middle class there is every chance that Tesco's application will be turned down. (If you don't like a planning application you can just say the magic word "traffic" as a justification, so if the council wants to turn it down that will no doubt be top of their excuses.) On the other hand, Tesco already has four much bigger stores in the Cambridge area, so they must have had some influence on the planning system in the past. Do we need another supermarket in that part of town? Probably not, given that the big Sainsbury's is not far from there. (And no doubt Sainsbury is happy for the academic middle class to help keep out the competition.) If anywhere could do with a supermarket it is north-west Cambridge. There was a perfect opportunity to put a Sainsbury's on the Arbury Park site a decade ago, but unfortunately interested parties stopped that from happening.

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