Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tesco don't mean squat

A while ago I brought you the happy news that Tesco's had failed in their planning applications for the old Wilco store on Mill Road. They couldn't accept that their hopes and dreams had been crushed, so they've persisted in trying to over turn the decision. My opinion is, of course, that Tesco should not move into Mill Road, a view that happens to be shared by 95% of the local community.

Well, I've just been down to the site where an intrepid band of squatters have nipped in and occupied to see if the space could be used for something a little more useful. They're calling it a 'social centre' and they plan to turn the site into a community resource.

Whilst Tesco had let the site turn to filth, when I poked around today the whole place had been cleaned out, the walls were being painted, and the premises were on the road to becoming usable again. It looked really nice and I think that it's important to recognise setting up kids spaces, an ad hoc cinema, teas, coffees and just a place to sit and meet each other is a social good.

The No Mill Road Tesco Campaign has already issued a statement explicitly stating that they do not support the squatters, which is quicker than the Cambridge Evening News, who don't seem to have noticed them yet. In fact they go further and, publicly at least, express regret at this turn of events. "The fact that squatters could occupy the building is further, unfortunate evidence of Tesco’s failure to properly secure and maintain the back of the site, which has been allowed to deteriorate over recent months." But actually the fact that these socially conscious squatters have moved in has meant that deterioration has been reversed. Which is good.

It's a shame they've taken this position but hopefully the campaign will come round when they realise we're not talking about heroin city but a worthy attempt to help the community flourish.

For further thoughts on why Tesco is rubbish see my guest post at Ellee's place (Oct '07) or this set of thoughts that make it clear that it isn't parking problems or traffic that make Tesco a -bad-thing- and we will not have won until the last Tesco is a stinking, smoking pile of slag with one dented tin of economy beans poking through the ruins.

On Friday at seven there's a meeting to help move the project forward. If you're in the area why not pop along?


Renegade Eye said...

I'm sure the sincere reformists, will learn over time, the value of unity and a good program.

Adrian Windisch said...

We lost our campaign in Reading, it opened last month and 7 local shops have now closed. See