Tesco faces major challenges over Mill Road store

August 25, 2009 12:27 PM
Kilian Bourke

Kilian Bourke

Cambridge Liberal Democrats have warned that supermarket giant, Tesco, faces major challenges as it prepares to open its new Mill Road store.

They claim its victory could be short-lived as it will struggle to make deliveries through the city's narrow back streets to the shop's rear service yard without damaging parked cars.

And, if the company tries to deliver to the front of the new Tesco Express store, it will cause mayhem in Mill Road and Cambridge City Council will take legal action.

Romsey county councillor, Kilian Bourke said the Lib Dems have always maintained that the delivery system was dangerous - a view backed up by central government when Tesco lost its appeal for an extension to the Mill Road store.

He said: "We are in the extraordinary situation of being able to see that the delivery system would be dangerous, having central government confirm this, but with no power to prevent it.

"This underlines a clear need for local authorities to be given greater control over planning laws. The existing planning process is clearly not doing its job when a government inspector can identify a development as unsafe and dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists, yet the city council is powerless to act."

"Tesco may be opening, but it is going to have great difficulty operating without causing real problems for local residents. It is obliged to deliver around the narrow backstreets, which may well prove physically impossible."

A government inspector, who rejected Tesco's appeal to extend the store, said of the delivery system in relation to the extension plans: "The use of the loop (through Catharine Street and Sedgwick Street) and rear yard by Tesco lorries would pose unacceptable risks to highway safety." And he added that it "would pose a significant increase in the risk of accidents, damage and injury to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians round the loop."

Petersfield County Council Nichola Harrison said: "Many of the residents and traders of Mill Road were adamant from the outset that this new Tesco store would be bad news for the area.

"Only time will tell whether Tesco will be able to cope with the delivery restrictions imposed on it by this site. In the meantime, residents can rest assured that the Lib Dems will act immediately if the company tries to break planning conditions and deliver from the front of this store."

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