“The current bridge restrictions are having a detrimental effect on Mill Road Traders, residents and shoppers”
This was the message delivered by Shapour Meftah, chair of Mill Road Traders’ Association to senior County Councillors, council officers and contractors, at a meeting, on Wednesday 9th September at 2.30pm on Donkey Common, (next to Parkside Pools).
Cambridgeshire County Council and contractors were represented by Chair and Vice Chair of Highways and Transport Committee, Ian Bates and Mark Howell, contractor Skansa’s Principle Engineer, Anthony Eades, and County officers; Sonia Hansen (Traffic Manager) and Andhika Caddy (Engineer).
Traders cited these reasons for opposing the bridge restrictions:
- Added extra time to people’s daily travel/commute
- Causing not less but MORE pollution because alternative routes for car drivers take longer and are over-congested
- No access to disabled badge holders and emergency vehicles
- The bollards and barriers have narrowed the road and resulted in more major traffic incidents along Mill Road and danger to cyclists and pedestrians
- The dangers of the build out particularly to cyclists with on coming traffic as well as buses which try to overtake parents with their children
- Disconnecting people from one side of Mill road to the other; It was explained to those present that Mill Road is not divided by the two boundaries it is ONE road
- Following the 2019 rail works on the bridge and the ongoing gas works one obstacle after another has paralysed businesses and Mill Road has not been given a chance to get back on its feet after months of national pandemic lockdown and enforced closure of businesses
- Closing the bridge hasn’t helped at all towards social distancing which is, by the government’s own admission not such a risk when passing someone in the street (sic on the closed bridge itself which was the contrived reason given for its closure) whereas gathering or waiting outside restaurants may be
- People don’t feel safe walking; the government emphasis on encouraging people not to use public transport has made people feel that they are safer in their cars.
- A number of shops are closing down on Mill Road due to the lack of footfall which has been caused by the bridge closure to cars
The Mill Road Traders’ Association Survey results and the ongoing Open Mill Road Bridge Petition which has already attracted over 2000 signatures was presented to Councillor Ian Bates and his team.
The survey assessed the impact of the bridge restrictions on both traders and residents within the Petersfield and Romsey wards. 187 Businesses were sent out surveys and 170 responses were received. The 17 businesses which did not respond are no longer trading at this moment. See graphics, below.
- 4.8 % (8 businesses) in Mill Road support the current restrictions
- 87.6% of businesses want the bridge fully open
- 7.6 % of businesses don’t mind
- 92.9 % are independent businesses
- 7.1 % are not independent
- 100% of businesses felt that the Council Consultation was inadequate
- 76.5% of independent businesses say that they are suffering
- 17.6% of businesses report no change
- 5.9% say they have benefitted from the restrictions
Councillor Ian Bates responded was that the County Council are listening and will will be reviewing the results of the Mill Road Traders’ Association survey. For the time being, Traders and Residents have been advised by the County Council to send all their objections to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leading members of Mill Road Traders’ Association say that they doubt the sincerity of this ‘listening’, noting that the Minister of Transport who awarded the funds to the county for these ‘temporary measures’ Grant Shapps has forced his own constituency at Welwyn to reverse the restrictions on the high street saying that it benefitted no one.
See this comment, relating to one of our other posts about the one-way scheme and suspension of parking bays in Welwyn.Mill Road Bridges Web Editor
The Mill Road Traders’ Association can be contacted for comments at email@example.com.
Please note: Mill Road Bridges is happy to publish views from any section of Mill Road’s Community of Communities. And to host comments, replies and debate.
The publication of this post by Mill Road Bridges should not be considered an endorsement of the views of the Mill Road Traders’ Association nor of the objections to the Mill Road traffic-reduction measures and associated restrictions on the railway bridge. Neither should this statement be read as one of opposition to their views.
The press release, upon which this post is based, released under the name of Shapour Meftah, Chair, Mill Road Traders’ Association, continues with allegations of ‘collaboration’ and ‘bias’.
Mill Road Bridges does not wish to censor any viewpoint but declines to publish such allegations. Were the press release to be found on the Mill Road Traders’ Association website, we would link to that, for people to view and form their own opinion. The Traders’ website, however, does not appear to have been updated recently.
We take a similar attitude to comments on our website. We aspire to host polite debate on all matters concerning Mill Road.