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Mystery surrounds plans for new Tesco in Cambridge after alcohol licence 'rejected'

Mystery surrounds plans for new Tesco in Cambridge after alcohol licence ‘rejected’

Plans for a new Tesco in an upmarket city centre street with boarded-up shops could be in doubt – after the city council denied its licence to sell alcohol.

Three of the empty shops in Christ’s Lane, Cambridge, were earmarked for a new supermarket after Tesco submitted plans last year.

Residents were optimistic the supermarket could improve the area after notices were put on windows of each of the three shops.

The street has had empty shops since 2017, when sales became tough because of “homeless people and drug takers.”

But the council has reportedly rejected the alcohol licence in Christ’s Lane because of concerns over creating a “cumulative impact zone” of places selling booze in the city centre.

On February 4, the same committee denied Tesco in East Road a licence to sell alcohol after hearing that there had been anti-social behaviour in the area.

The alcohol licence rejection is unlikely to affect plans for the new Tesco, but the company has said it is reviewing its options.

A spokeswoman from Tesco said: “We’re disappointed with the decision and are reviewing our options for the proposed store.

“We will keep the community updated with any decisions.”

Why do people want a Tesco in Christ’s Lane?

Four businesses shut up shop in 2017, including women‘s underwear store Triumph, restaurant Giraffe, Two Seasons outdoor wear and bathroom store Fired Earth.

Japanese restaurant Sushimania has now opened in the premises of the old Giraffe eatery.

At the time, Triumph’s manager, Lesley Lebbon told the News that sales became tough because of “homeless people and drug takers.”

“We come in in the mornings and there are used needles lying about all over the road,” she said previously. “Who’d want to take their children to a shopping street when its like that?

“One day when one of my staff arrived for work, she found a man in our entrance with his trousers down – she didn’t stop to ask why – and the shops here often get homeless people sleeping in the doorways.”

The empty shops had their doorways boarded up in February last year to stop “unwanted attention and provide a safe environment for contractors.”

When news that Tesco was looking to submit the plans were revealed, a resident of Christ’s Lane said: “We are extremely happy with it, if it is approved. Deep down we all wish it was a Waitrose but we’ll happily make do for Tesco.

“It will be a big boom to the area. It will also make the area much safer, because that corridor is extremely dangerous.”

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