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From: Jo Makepeace (webmaster@schnews.org.uk)
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 20:09:18 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: SchNEWS 656, Friday 21st November 2008

Mill Road Social Centre continues - Cambridge


For the last 378 days and counting, local campaigners have managed to thwart Tesco's plans to open an 'Express' store on Cambridge's Mill Road. The street has a large number of mainly independent shops - a rare sight these days when every town centre is an identikit high street set of corporate chains.

The proposed site has been standing empty for over a year now.

When local residents learned of Tesco's plans, they formed the No Mill Road Tesco campaign group (www.nomillroadtesco.org). After organizing a petition that raised more than four thousand signatures, they held various demos outside the site and a march along Mill Road that attracted some 500 demonstrators.

In May, the groundfloor of the building was squatted and turned into a social centre (www.millroadsocialcentre.wordpress.com). The space, after being cleared and redecorated, hosted a large number of events, including dance classes, art exhibitions, acoustic gigs and a comedy night.

Breaking promises made at their possession hearing, Tesco called in the bailiffs in July, confident that their appeal to an earlier refusal of their planning application would be upheld. As it turns out, it wasn't. Since then Tesco have launched two further appeals, the first of which was resoundingly rejected earlier last week (12th), on the grounds that twice daily deliveries by huge delivery trucks would cause havoc on this already dangerous stretch of road, used by a large number of cyclists.

There will be a second public enquiry, regarding alternative proposals, leading to a further waste of public money. This is Tesco's time-honoured strategy - keep appealing until local councils and residents run out of money or their strength of will.

The new store is obviously sorely needed - why, Tesco only currently take 51 pence out of every grocery pound spend in Cambridge. That's barely a majority let alone monopoly domination! Besides, Tesco want to cash in as the credit-crunched consumer class mistakenly fall for their marketing spin of 'value'.

* For more about Tesco see http://www.tescopoly.org

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