Cambridge Cycling Campaign demands ban for Tesco

Store bad for road safety

by Kevin Emery   August 7, 2009  

road.cc news

Cyclists have enough to worry about on the roads with motorists and pedestrians causing havoc. But riders in Cambridge could also have 34ft lorries to contend with thanks to a new Tesco store opening in the city.

The Tesco Express store is set to open in Mill Road on Wednesday, August 26 but with less than three weeks until the shop opens its doors Cambridge Cycling Campaign has called on the council to take enforcement action against the supermarket and stop the opening.

The group is concerned after Tesco vowed to make on-street deliveries, despite danger warnings from planners. Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s co-ordinator Martin Lucas-Smith said: "Any sensible person would recognise that having a 34ft lorry stopped on Mill Road for 41 minutes a time, twice a day, would be bad for road safety and traffic flow.

"It makes a mockery of the £400,000 to be spent on safety measures in Mill Road, if a key problem - delivery vehicles blocking the road - is made worse by the council failing to enforce a basic planning condition.

"It is too early to say what action we would take next, but the council has no excuse not to serve an injunction after Tesco's admission that they intend just to ignore the rules."

The supermarket giant has been warned by the highways authority, the Planning Inspectorate and city council not to deliver to the front of the store. And 'No Mill Road Tesco' campaigners claim the company will be breaking the law and face fines of up to £1,000 a day if it goes ahead with deliveries. They have written to council planners asking that enforcement action be taken.

Planning officer Peter Carter said: "If Tesco do deliver to the store at the front it may be a threat to safety and we may have to enforce any alleged breach of planning conditions."

A Tesco spokeswoman said: "We will deliver to the front of the store as the previous occupants did and as do most retailers on Mill Road."

For Tesco this is not the first time it has encountered opposition from locals; there has been a 5,000-name petition and demonstrations opposing it, and squatters turned the premises into a social centre before being evicted.