Friday, August 7, 2009

Mill Road Tesco Heading for the Courts

The saga over the proposed Tesco store on Mill Road could be heading for the courts imminently.

Tesco has made it clear it intends to open its store on 26th of August, and has told the press that it intends to deliver to the store from Mill Road itself, in apparent contradiction of a planning condition relating to the site.

Campaigners including No to Mill Road Tesco and Cambridge Cycling Campaign are particularly concerned about the safety aspects of deliveries from Mill Road, and are calling on the Council to take pre-emptive action, for example, by taking out an injunction.

I am not against a Tesco on Mill Road in principle, but many of the details, including their requirements for very frequent deliveries that will be hard to satisfy safely are clearly very problematic, and Tescos should not be able to get away with bending the rules for its own convenience at the expense of public safety. I have been asking for weeks now for the Council to clarify its position, and agree a course of action. The Council however is still reviewing the legal position, and has suggested that any pre-emptive actions on its part will have to go through the normal committee procedure. The best it has come up with is a statement:

"There is a lawful planning consent for the use of 163-167 Mill Road for retail use which requires deliveries to be made only from a rear service yard. We are urgently contacting Tesco to establish the company's intention for the premises given the lawful consent. If it becomes clear that enforcement action may be necessary then the officers will report to members as soon as possible on options for further action"

This is a hopelessly inadequate response in view of the imminence of the store opening - I am calling on the Council to come up with some recommendations urgently, brief all relevant local Councillors and then immediately put recommendations for approval by the appropriate Councillors as part of the Council's procedures for urgent decisions.

It sounds like the patience of No to Mill Road Tesco has now been tested beyond the limit. They have engaged lawyers, and given the Council a deadline of today to confirm they will be seeking an injunction preventing Tesco deliveries from Mill Road (or for Tesco to confirm they will not breach the planning condition) - if no reassurances are forthcoming they will be in court without further notice to seek a judicial review of the Council's decision not to seek an injunction.


Ruth said...

Hi Chris,
I think today's deadline was to get confirmation that a decision wouldn't be put off for another couple of weeks - no-one was expecting an actual decision today I think. We will see what happens...

Local residents not getting a prompt and clear answer from council officials is one thing, undesirable though that is, but councillors not getting one is really bizarre.

watti said...

Well, they're not even open yet and they already singlehandedly managed to block Mill Road, with a transit, a truck and an artic, and a forklift at 8.00 - 8.30 this morning. Sneakily the artic was parked outside the coop to make people believe that it wasn't them but I have pictures of the forklift reversing into Mill Road and then being mounted on the back of the artic.

I think the whole thing wouldn't be so bad if Tesco didn't have such an "above the law" attitude about the whole thing

PS, I have pictures of the whole thing

Martin said...

watti - I suggest you e-mail those pictures to the No Mill Road Tesco people - they have various pictures on their website with contractors doing things they shouldn't.