Labour councillor accused of failing residents over Tesco

August 21, 2009 2:22 PM

Cambridge City Council leader, Ian Nimmo-Smith has attacked Labour councillor, Kevin Blencowe for failing to give residents a fair chance to have their say on the Tesco plans for Mill Road.

He condemned Cllr Blencowe for his handling of a special meeting called to discuss the giant supermarket chain's threat to break a planning condition and deliver to the front of its new store.

Residents voiced their dismay at the East Area Committee Meeting yesterday morning (Thursday) when the Chair, Cllr Blencowe, constantly interrupted their comments and questions.

Cllr Nimmo-Smith said: "The way that Cllr Blencowe conducted this meeting was antagonistic to the public who were not given a fair opportunity to express pertinent points of view.

"He tried to control the meeting from start to finish and continuously gave his own personal point of view without even checking if he were speaking for the committee.

"If he felt members of the public were straying from the subject, he jumped down their throats."

The committee met to decide the options for enforcement action against Tesco to stop it making deliveries from Mill Road or Catharine Street in breach of the existing planning restriction.

But the committee was told new correspondence from Tesco had assured the council that the company would abide by planning rules.

In light of the new evidence, members agreed not to take action against Tesco and to secure an enforceable undertaking from them to observe the rule. They also agreed, however, to authorise council officers to take

urgent enforcement action should the company break the planning condition.

"It was very unclear from the muddled way the meeting was chaired that this new important evidence had come to light," added Cllr Nimmo-Smith.

"Cllr Blencowe had stated that he didn't see the need for this special meeting and he appeared to do everything in his power to undermine the authority of the committee."

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