Tesco urges decision on Mill Road store

25 January 2008

Tesco bosses have bypassed councillors over plans for a Mill Road outlet, and have gone straight to the top.

Last week, when the Tesco decision came under review, Cambridge Council postponed an answer to the controversial plans.

Planning officers had recommended the supermarket giant’s plans for approval at a meeting on the 17th January, even though the public has vociferously demonstrated against the possibility of a Mill Road Tesco.

So far more than 500 people have signed a petition against the proposals for the store and more than 1,100 Cambridge residents have written letters expressing their objections.

But the Planning officers decided that details in the report presented to them were not extensive enough, as the No Mill Road Tesco campaign complained that the report was incomplete in its treatment of the issues involved.

Following this further delay, Tesco has lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate and now intends to bypass the councillors all together.

The decision will now be made by an independent planning inspector instead of the council.

The move to bypass the council comes as a decision has failed to be taken within the normal time period.

Governmental guidelines suggest that applications of this size are usually decided within eight weeks.

But a resolution has still not been reached, even though Tesco’s applications for the store were lodged nearly five months ago.

Catherine Watts

Now the local council may face financial penalties for failing to provide an answer to the three Tesco applications.

Tesco’s applications comprise a plan to extend the building formerly belonging to Wilco, as well as to install new signs and a cash machine.

Speaking to the Cambridge Evening News, a Tesco spokesman said: “We have been left no option. Four months on we still have no decision from the council. This creates uncertainty for our business and local people.

“We would prefer the decision to be made locally by Cambridge councillors. By submitting new plans we keep this option open.

“All sensible perspective has been lost. I don’t believe that most of the objectors realise that Tesco already has permission to use the site on Mill Road. The planning applications submitted are not applying for use of the site by Tesco, merely for a new sign, cash machine, store room and plant.”