Azara Blog: Latest action in the Tesco Mill Road planning application

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Date published: 2008/03/07

The Cambridge News says:

Tesco bosses have vowed to forge ahead with plans for a store in Mill Road - despite a setback at a planning meeting last night.

Supermarket chiefs told the News today they "could open the store tomorrow" after being granted permission for two signs, a shop front and an ATM.

The tough talking comes after a vote last night against plans to extend the building, on the street famed for its small independent shops.

Tesco does not need planning approval to open the store - but wants the extra space which encroaches onto a car park for storage and deliveries.

Campaigners and residents came out in force for the Cambridge City Council East Area Committee planning meeting at St Philip's Church, in Mill Road last night.
But both sides in the battle are now claiming victory after the decision by councillors.

Michael Kissman, Tesco's corporate affairs spokesman, said: "This is good news for Tesco. We can now put up the sign and the ATM which means we could open the shop tomorrow.
Tom Woodcock, publicity officer for the campaign, was equally defiant and told Tesco it should pack up and leave the site.

He said: "I don't think Tesco can open the store whether it gets permission for the extension or not.

"It is just not viable for the area and in our calculations would take £2 million out of the local community as most independent traders plough money back into the local economy.

Needless to say Cambridge City Council had no real reason to turn down any of the Tesco planning application. But the academic middle class crowd was baying for blood, and the planning committee obviously, and not surprisingly, decided to throw them a few bones to try and keep them satisfied.

Woodcock is unbelievable. He claims the store "is just not viable". Well, if he thinks so then he should let Tesco open it and fail. Evidently he does not think so. Instead he wants to dictate that it should never open, because he thinks he has the right to refuse choice to the people of the Mill Road area about where they should shop. He does not like Tesco so nobody should be allowed to shop there.

You have to wonder why Tesco would want to bother now. They would be perfectly entitled to stick two fingers up to the academic middle class people who run Cambridge and let them stew in their misery. On the other hand, perhaps they want to prove to these people that they will not give into academic middle class ranting.

Whatever, this war is not yet over. The only good thing about the whole incident is that while large chunks of the academic middle class have been preoccupied with this, they have not been able to wreak so much havoc elsewhere in Cambridge.

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