But it’s not just parties, and not just the Jubilee…
Groups of local residents or voluntary groups can apply to the Cambridge City Council’s area committees for funding for projects, activities or services.
The priorities for Area Committee Community Grants specifically focus on reducing social and economic inequality for disadvantaged residents. Projects or activities should benefit a specific community or people living in a particular area.
The application process for the 2022/23 round of area committee funding is now open. The closing date for completed applications for groups in and around the Mill Road area is Tuesday 8th February 2022.
The Oxford-Cambridge Arc (the Arc) is a globally significant area between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. It is formed of five ceremonial counties: Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.
It supports over two million jobs, adds over £110 billion to the economy every year and houses one of the fastest growing economies in England.
There is an opportunity, recognised by government and local partners, to build a better economic, social and environmental future for the area. With high-quality, well-connected and sustainable communities making the Arc an even more beautiful place to live, work and visit.
‘High-quality’, ‘well-connected’, ‘sustainable’, ‘even more beautiful’ – what’s not to like? Or is the ‘opportunity’, no more than ‘high quality’ hot air, helping ‘well-connected’, people and PLCs ‘sustain’ high earnings?
The government has been thinking of the idea of an Oxford-Cambridge arc for over six years and this is first time the public has been asked for feedback.
Lara Davenport-Ray, Huntingdonshire Green Party
We’re getting good feedback from a wide variety of people and that will provide really helpful input to the policy propositions that we will generate over the next few months into 2022
Chris Pincher, Minister for Housing
I think it’s important, if you are going to develop such a long piece of land, you don’t leave us as a housing estate for the big cities at either end.
Business owner Philippa Shoobert, of engineering and software firm Smart Control Solutions, St Neots
I’m worried the Oxford-Cambridge arc and level of development they’re proposing is going to detract from our character as a historic town, and the rural nature of surrounding towns and villages, and I don’t think building that many houses will help us achieve our zero-carbon goals.
The Times, Guardian, Financial Times and others have reported on the concerns about China’s growing involvement in Cambridge. Residents are asking, “Is Cambridge and the Ox-Cam Arc part of China’s Belt and Road initiative?”
Wendy Blythe, Chair, Federation of Cambridge Residents’ Associations, addressing the ‘Supersize Cambridge’ event
Ms Blythe highlighted a tweet, earlier this year, by Ant Breach, senior researcher for Centre for Cities, a think tank funded by Cambridge University Chancellor, Lord Sainsbury, in which Breach said, “I make no apologies for demanding growth and a spicy hot labour market.”
People are asking, “Who are the interests promoting this ‘spicy hot labour market?'”
Wendy Blythe [ibid]
Developers and house builders?
The beneficiaries of such development will not be local people but shareholders of global companies and the losers will be the vulnerable across a broad range of species. It was a stimulating set of talks.
Who are the Arc’s ‘movers-and-shakers’?
On 21st September 2017, the creation of a new lectureship, in Chinese urban development, funded through a gift of £1m to Cambridge University’s Department of Land Economy, was announced after a signing ceremony held in Hong Kong. The donor was Justin Chiu, a director of CK Asset Holdings, which owns Greene King, the Bury St Edmunds based brewer and pub retailer.
CK Asset Holdings, a property investment company, was founded by the Hong Kong businessman Li Ka Shing and is now chaired by his son Victor, as is its sister company, CK Hutchison Holdings. The latter is another Hong Kong based conglomerate, whose UK investments include the majority of UK Power Networks, Northumbrian Water Group, the 3 mobile phone network and Hutchison Port Holdings (a private holding company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, operators of Harwich International Port, London Thamesport and Felixstowe Port, much of the freehold of the latter being owned by Trinity College).
Writing in Cambridge University Land Society Magazine 2019 (p 108), Professor Colin Lizieri, then Head of the Department of Land Economy and Grosvenor Professor of Real Estate Finance, said:
We […] welcomed Dr Li Wan as the new Chinese Urban Development lecturer (the post funded by a generous donation from Dr Justin Chiu). Li’s expertise lies in spatial modelling of cities and infrastructure. After completing his PhD (in the Architecture department at Cambridge), he has been working in the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and developing models for cities in China, in Korea and in the UK. His knowledge of modelling and the use of large digital data sets will be very valuable for both our research and teaching and complements Dr Elisabete Silva’s work with the Interdisciplinary Spatial Analysis Lab (LISA) and with Dr Thies Lindenthal’s big data work as part of our growing emphasis on technological change and transformation of urban land and property markets.
The postholder, Dr Li Wan, worked on Land Use-based Integrated Sustainability Assessment (LUISA) modelling for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER). The modelling work, for which he was the lead from 2017-2019, was funded by the business group Cambridge Ahead and the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority. To download a high resolution version of the CPIER Final Report (PDF), click here.
Planning for growth – the application of a new spatial equilibrium model for Cambridge and Beijing
By Dr Li Wan, University Lecturer in Chinese Urban development, Department of Land Economy BArch, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)
This short article introduces the application of a new spatial equilibrium model (LUISA) developed by Cambridge scholars for supporting the strategic planning of two fast- growing city regions – the Greater Cambridge in the UK and the Greater Beijing in China.
Greater Cambridge is an economic hot spot where growth has outpaced the rest of the UK throughout the past decade. But the economic success comes with a price: house prices have soared – the city’s average house price is now 16 times the median salary; worsening traffic congestion and air pollution is threatening the vitality of the city; and public services are being put under strain by the growing population. …
To quantify the possible futures of the Greater Cambridge city region, the modelling research started with a ‘business as usual’ scenario, assuming that the region grows according to current trends of employment growth and local plans for housing. This scenario showed that even a modest rise in jobs would lead to considerable wage pressure in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire and an unmanageable amount of in- commuting which would choke growth. The LUISA model was then used to explore a range of alternative spatial strategies that aim to balancing (sic) the growth of employment, housing and transport infrastructure:
Densification – concentrating new employment and housing within the city boundaries: this can accommodate the largest amount of jobs and people around existing and new rail hubs, but could risk worsening congestion and air quality in spite of convenient public transport access;
Fringe growth – extending urban areas around the edges of the city: this brings the highest financial returns with more modest building construction costs, but needs to use Green Belt land and will increase car use;
Dispersal – encouraging growth to go to market towns or newly created settlements beyond the Green Belt: this could spread the growth and gain social and environmental benefits, but would rely on the willingness of companies to move away from current centres of high productivity;
Transport corridors – developing new sites for jobs and housing along existing and new fast public transit services that emanate from Cambridge: this offers space for continued growth of existing business clusters while unlocking potential of new sites that could attract growth, but this requires the highest infrastructure investment.
Click the link in the citation (above) to read/download the publication cited.
But, the Ox-Cam Arc’s stated objective is to “enhance the area’s natural environment and biodiversity.” What’s wrong with that?
With a strategic approach to planning for growth, we can enhance the area’s natural environment and biodiversity, ensure communities and businesses have access to the infrastructure they need, and ensure new development is more affordable and beautiful so that it enhances places across the Arc.
David Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Ecology at the University of Oxford, representing the Stop the Arc Group, gave a keynote speech on how increasing house building in the areas linking Oxford and Cambridge by 53% to 61%, when the average need, nationally, is assessed at a 13% increase, is unsustainable for our environment. Water shortages, pollution and loss of biodiversity will be the outcome, despite planners claiming that they are going to “double nature”. It was pointed out that politicians still follow the mantra that economic growth is the gauge of societal and electoral advantage, ignoring our environment’s fitness for human habitation.
The voices of the people need to be heard loud and clear, and the government consultation has too many “leading” questions for it to deliver accurate results. That is why the campaigning group Stop the Arc has created an alternative questionnaire to that created by the government for the stage 1 consultation. The survey is quick to complete (about 5 five minutes) so PLEASE take the time to do it, and then to pass on the link to as many people as possible.
Campaign to Protect Rural England, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
We’re abusing rivers in this country on a scale that we have never done at any point in the past. And yet, here we are, the proud possessor of 85% of the world’s total supply of chalk streams and not one of them is in good environmental health.
ITV News Anglia reporter Hannah Pettifer caught up with Feargal Sharkey on the banks of the River Lea in Hertfordshire, on Tuesday 22nd June 2021. To read a summary and view the report on the ITV News Anglia website, click here.
Spot the ‘Undertone’ of Sharkey’s contempt for the Environment Agency…
See also, The Oxford-Cambridge Arc; An Environmental Catastrophe – with Professor David Rogers.
Anyone for Greenwashing?
As we rebuild our economic life, we should do it on green principles, averting a crisis many times greater than the coronavirus: climate breakdown and the collapse of our life-support systems.
This means no more fossil fuel-based infrastructure. Even existing infrastructure, according to climate scientists, could push us past crucial thresholds. It means an end to megaprojects whose main purpose is enriching construction companies.
Perhaps the definitive example of such projects in the UK is the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. It’s a plan to build a conurbation of 1 million homes – twice the size of Birmingham – from Oxford to Cambridge. This is far beyond the region’s housing demand. Its purpose, government agencies admit, is not to meet the need for homes, but “to maximise [the area’s] economic potential”.
But [recently], a new campaign came to the rescue. It has rebranded the project “Nature’s Arc”. Apparently, with some adjustments, this massive exercise in concrete pouring “could show how development can restore nature, rather than destroy it”. Building up to a million homes, the new PR blitz tells us, is “the perfect opportunity to invest in nature, improve people’s lives and realise the green recovery.”
Cambridge and the surrounding area has always been a great place to live. But what will it be like in 20 years? The city is facing a period of huge change. The local population is growing and getting older. There is an urgent need for more housing. Resources are under pressure. And transport networks are becoming increasingly congested.
Two of CambridgePPF’s trustees – Matthew Bullock and Peter Landshoff – are members of the Cambridge Ahead board and are helping to put together its initial projects. Matthew Bullock is a member of the project group looking to ‘Clarify The Growth Agenda’ and Peter Landshoff is involved in the body’s work to ‘Improve the Quality of Life’ in the city.
Business, enterprise and employment are flourishing in Greater Cambridge. But housing and infrastructure are struggling to match the jobs boom, and gaps in social equality keep widening.
University academics are connecting their insights, data and algorithms to find solutions to the area’s ‘growing pains’.
“Economic growth is like a bonfire,” says Matthew Bullock. “You can get a bonfire going and expand it as long as you keep feeding the centre. But you can’t pick a bonfire up and move it somewhere else.”
Bullock is talking about the economy of Greater Cambridge, where a staggering level of growth has outpaced the rest of the UK over the past decade. As one of the founders of the business and academic organisation Cambridge Ahead, Bullock has been helping to shape a vision for Cambridge and the people who live and work in the area.
“Growth here comes up through the floorboards,” says Bullock, who was one of the original financiers of the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ – the development and growth in high-tech businesses in and around the city since the late 1970s – and is now Master of St Edmund’s College.
The debate about growth around Cambridge is still far from settled.
The government wants growth because it yields more tax revenues to pay for pensions, healthcare and all the other public services without raising tax rates. Why Cambridge? Because jobs here are, roughly speaking, more profitable than elsewhere in the country. In part that is because of the concentration of talent and new ideas within the university, research and start-up ecosystem.
What is happening to bus services around Cambridge?
Stagecoach East is far from unique in having staffing problems – and they’re not the only operator to have been cancelling services recently as a consequence. In order to (try to) provide a little more stability for passengers, they will be implementing a number of changes to Cambridge-area services from Sunday 24th October.
With passenger numbers below pre-Covid levels, some operators are reducing journeys on higher frequency routes in order to minimise the number of drivers required. This runs counter to the ethos of the Bus Recovery Grant and to the needs of passengers. In marginal and rural areas where services were already basic, the impact is particularly severe with people now struggling to access work, education, apprenticeships and healthcare.
“We need to give people better transport choices.And fast.”
‘Slow travel’ is all the rage in the Sunday colour supplements, but has less of a pull when balancing up how to get from Cambridge to Huntingdon on an overcast Wednesday morning in October. We know there’s an urgent need to reduce the number of journeys made by private car, which means making the change a realistic option for more people. So it seemed like a good idea to remind myself what the bus journey was like.
Unsurprisingly, the trip showed how much more investment and imagination is needed in public transport.
Recent statements by the Government and Tory think tanks seek to justify their repeated attacks on the planning system as a contribution to the Levelling Up agenda of the Johnson government. [However] planning reforms will do nothing to level up or reduce glaring geographical inequalities in our country: in fact, they will make these disparities even worse.
In 2021 we are facing the challenge of possible new planning ‘reforms’ based upon […] the idea that planning is the reason for falling housing affordability so relaxations of planning will provide the solution.
[M]ore planning permissions will lead developers and land owners to develop more and bring prices down. It has yet to be explained why developers should continue to build when selling prices are falling, indeed they seem to be adept at avoiding ever doing that by trickling-out their completions slowly enough to maintain high selling prices.
But what planning reforms would support long term locality improvement for the worst hit areas? We can state six broad criteria to start with:
Reforms must give localities public steering strength, by withdrawing the recent rash of permitted development rights (which strip places and communities of power) and ensuring local plans can take back control of how space is used.
Within localities, reforms must strengthen the roles played by citizens and communities, without whose active creativity and support neither Levelling Up nor adequate response to the climate emergency will be possible.
Reforms must enable decisions at the right level, by creating strong strategic plans for economic development and housing with long term funding attached.
Planning must make public health a key objective of decisions about new development.
Reforms must make zero-carbon a core requirement of every Plan and every substantialplanning application decision.
Social housing & special needs housing should be prioritised to help reverse themechanism which makes housing worsen inequality.
The Ox-Cam Arc and the growth of Cambridge are issues which affect us all – those living in and around Mill Road, in Cambridge, all of the surrounding villages and our nearby market towns. The post is open for contributions. You are welcome to continue the debate.
… to raise funds for local community-based Cambridge Sustainable Food’s food justice work across the city.
Cambridge Sustainable Food provide food justice work across the city. They work with residents, businesses, organisations and community groups to advocate for, and enable access to, healthy and sustainably produced food that is good for people and good for the planet.
Tackling food-related inequality is one of today’s most urgent challenges if we are to stem the rising tide of hunger, obesity and other diet-related ill-health such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Cambridge Sustainable Food convenes Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance, a multi-agency partnership which aims to reduce food poverty locally. Read more about this work here, the emergency food access here, and read/download the Covid-19 Emergency Food Response April 2020 – March 2021 (PDF) here.
Maurizio is on the run!
Mill Road’s godfather of pizza and pasta is taking part in the Cambridge Half Marathon on Sunday 17th October 2021.
You can help Maurizio raise funds for local community-based Cambridge Sustainable Food’s food justice work across the city and reach his £500 target by donating what you can via his GoFundMe page, here.
Eat for our Future Campaign
Food poverty is only one aspect of Cambridge Sustainable Food’s work. Food needs to be not only good for people and the planet, but also good for local economies, businesses and jobs.
As part of the newly launched Eat for our Future Campaign Cambridge Sustainable Food will be holding a variety of events across October to help Cambridge eat a Climate Diet, with in-person stalls where you can ask your questions and make a pledge, online events chaired by local sustainable food experts to guide you to a diet that is kinder to the planet, and running seminars for businesses to help them serve food for the future.
Stewart Taylor, Vicar of St Philip’s Church for the past 30 years, is retiring at the end of September and will be greatly missed by parishioners and the wider community.
Many people who are not churchgoers will know Stewart and Sarah through the many ways in which St Phillip’s is embedded in the community. If you would like to say a fond farewell, here are some other the weekend’s events.
Saturday 25th September 3pm – 4pm: Presentation with speeches in the Church
Sunday 26thSeptember 10.30am: Stewart’s final service. As you would imagine, St Philip’s are expecting high numbers of people in attendance. There will be no distancing in church, but please (if you can) wear a mask throughout the service and the building will be kept well ventilated. Refreshments will be served afterwards.
More details details can be found on the St Phillip’s Cambridge website and in the latest edition of Lookout in which members of St Philip’s share memories of, and tributes to Stewart and Sarah.
The recent death, aged 85, of former proprietor Gerd Browne (née Hamer) – Norwegian ski champion, intrepid adventurer, active member of the Buddhist community and anti-nuclear campaigner – has prompted us to publish some memories of the much-loved – now much-missed – Browne’s Bookstore, and of its proprietor and staff.
Born in 1936, Gerd completed an English and teaching degree at Oslo University and was working at a Norwegian ski resort when she met her husband-to-be Patrick Browne in 1960. The couple married in 1962 in Norway. They lived in London, before spending two years in Italy, with their eldest child, Cecilie, still a young baby at the time.
The family lived in Cambridge from 1965-1974 –during which time Gerd gave birth to their two sons, Alex (b 1965) and Anthony (b 1967) – before moving to a 10-acre smallholding in Fowlmere, half of which was planted with potatoes. Gerd threw her energy into vegetables, and chickens, and starting the Bookstore, as well as bringing up her three children.
Gerd moved to Cambridge in 1982 after separating from Patrick, becoming politically active in the anti-nuclear movement, including visiting Greenham Common. In 1984 she bought the house in Newnham where she lived for 37 years, until her death, this year.
Family get-togethers for Gerd and her three children may have been interesting, as her children have rather different political persuasions. Cecilie has been an environmental activist, Alex has been an animal rights activist, while Anthony was an adviser to then London mayor Boris Johnson before being elected as Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire.
Gerd died peacefully at Addenbrooke’s on 4th July 2021, following a short illness.
For 30 years Browne’s Bookstore – opening in 1976 as a husband and wife joint enterprise, before husband Patrick moved on to publishing – was a Mill Road institution, closing its doors to customers for the final time in 2007. When the Bookstore opened in 1976 it also sold potatoes by the sack, from the family smallholding in Fowlmere. Very Mill Road!
When Browne’s was extended to include the former tiny haberdashery shop – ‘Stitches’ – next door at 54a, daughter Cecilie was employed to design and paint the new double shop front. (See the photo at the head of this post.) She also designed plastic bags and bookmarks with the slogan: Come and browse at Browne’s.
For more than 30 years, Browne’s Bookstore flourished; an institution, a constant of life in and around Mill Road.
Gerd Browne loved her shop; and, perhaps because it was a small local enterprise and they were a small team, the staff all cared about Browne’s too. For many of them Gerd was a friend as well as an employer. She shared her ideas with them and listened, open-mindedly, to theirs. She was thoughtful, and generous.
In autumn a jostling stream of students arrived, needing course-books, advice and information – keeping everyone more than busy; then flowers for the workers came from Gerd. At Christmas there was an evening out together. And, after the New Year stocktaking, when friends and partners were invited in for a day of book counting, she took everyone to the Salisbury Arms, around the corner in Tenison Road, for a companionable meal.
Browne’s was never just any old bookshop. It was useful, regarded with deep affection, and familiar to so many people.
Do you want the latest novel by your favourite author? Browne’s will probably have it.
The big book shops have all told you that the book which you want is out of print, unavailable? Browne’s will somehow track it down.
You need an obscure come on pamphlet published in 1946? Browne’s will get you a copy.
There is a birthday coming up and you’ve forgotten to buy a card? Browne’s have a wonderful selection; and wrapping paper, too, if you need it.
You’ve been cooped up with the children for seemingly endless days of rain. Take them to Browne’s. They can choose a book and sit on the floor in the children section whilst you socialise and browse; then you can go home refreshed and read their choice till bedtime.
Do you want to put up a notice? It can be displayed on Browne’s free noticeboard. Where can you find the leaflet that’s going around? At Browne’s.
The list of roles played by Browne’s is seemingly endless. You met all sorts of people there. Local authors. Local artists. Eccentrics. Academics. Hippies. Three successive generations of the same family.
People on the street still stop to talk to one-time customers and one-time members of staff. They all say the same things:
Oh, I DO miss Browne’s. I STILL miss Browne’s.
Elizabeth (Mysia) Baggs and Sally-Ann Ball, former employees
Gerd was a joy to work for – very ethical and good to her staff.
Gill Wakefield, former book-keeper
Meet some of the Bookstore staff
Interior and exterior views
When Browne’s Bookstore closed its doors to customers for the final time in 2007, independent bookshops across the UK had been closing down at a rate of two per week for some time. Gerd had held out for as long as she could in order to keep her loyal staff employed, but with the rapid rise of internet book sales and the end of her contract with Norwegian libraries, there was no option but to close.
Customers’ memories (and memories of customers)
I have pleasant memories of browsing through bookshelves brimming with so much useful and interesting literature, in Browne’s Bookstore.
I suppose the most significant memory is that of negotiating with Mrs Browne’s son, c 1986, to set up an exchange system for A level (and O level added later) Physics & Mathematics text books, to help the relatively impoverished students of my Evening Class at what was then the Technical College. (Although I admit to also informing my students at St Andrew’s VIth Form College, where I was head tutor in Maths & Physics, of the arrangement!) He was very obliging and the arrangement was a great success, both for the students and for Browne’s, and ran for some years as the Tech morphed into a Poly, and beyond.
Ed Lloyd Jenkins, local resident
People would pop in for a chat, whether it was the two old ladies needing an ear for their woes, families coming in with their children, students returning to introduce partners and offspring, all were welcome.
Mysia Baggs, former employee
One day, a young woman took her time choosing which of two brand new, and very expensive, academic books was in the best condition.
Having made her choice, and paid for her purchase, she revealed that, with heavy books like these, she always cut them into sections at the spine, as this made it lighter to carry just the one or two sections needed for her studies on any particular day.
Sally-Ann Ball, former employee
I used to buy some of my undergraduate text books from Browne’s bookstore in the mid 1990s. It was especially convenient, because at that time we lived in Norfolk, so I travelled to Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, by rail.
I’d often pop into Browne’s to and from the station. They had a great range of academic books, including second hand texts, and the staff were always extremely helpful.
In 1998 we moved to Perowne Street, so I enjoyed a few years of browsing Browne’s on a very regular basis. Sadly by the time I took my Master’s degree, the store had closed.
Carol Ann Wood, local author and resident
At some time in the 1980s I read a review in The Observer of a first novel that sounded interesting. I meant to keep the review but forgot.
It was several weeks before I could afford to buy a book by which time I had forgotten both the name of the book and the author.
I went to Browne’s and explained the situation to Gerd and said that all I could remember was that the photo of the author was a woman wearing glasses and that the review had referenced King Lear.
Within 30 seconds I had Jane Smiley’s ‘1000 Acres’ in my hand! I was extremely impressed!
Andy Laing, local resident
I was a great fan of Browne’s Bookstore from its opening day.
I remember ordering an obscure academic book from them not long after opening as they were often quicker than the large established bookshops such as Heffers. (This was long before the internet!) ‘Computing methods in Crystallography’ by J. Rollett.
When it came in Mr & Mrs Browne said it is far too expensive (£21) and they could not possibly charge me that, so they gave it to me at wholesale price.
You may like to see these three drawings I made of Browne’s Bookstore over the years. For the eagle-eyed: the pavement A-board sign still exists outside Arjuna, repainted.
Sam Motherwell, local artist, and resident
And finally, which shop was which?
We were asked: “Did Browne’s take over the former Last Exit bookshop premises?” We checked. No. Last Exit was at Nº 54 and is now the premises of Mr Ho, Chinese restaurant.
Discover more about Nº54 Mill Road, in its incarnations as Last Exit, Bar Italia, Bosphorus and Tulip Restaurant – with a tiny glimpse of Stitches at Nº54a – on the Capturing Cambridge website.
And, “Wasn’t Andy’s Records at Nº56?” Yes, but… both shops shared the same street number, though entirely separate premises!
This post is open for comments. Please add your own recollections of browsing at Browne’s.
In the real world the relationship between cause and effect can be difficult to trace but that is the task that Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee faced in deciding the future of Mill Road Bridge.
Nobody doubts that Mill Road Traders experienced hard times during the pandemic, but was their hardship the result of restricted access to Mill Road Bridge? Or could it have been part of a wider decline in trade, which caused huge retail giants such as John Lewis and others to teeter, with Debenhams, Top Shop and others vanishing from our High Streets and shopping centres?
The Highways and Transport Committee’s decision to reopen the bridge, which was passed by the acting Chair’s casting vote on Tuesday 27th July appears to endorse this correlation. A connection between poor respiratory health prior to lockdown and pollutants that exceed those levels considered acceptable by the WHO, was not endorsed by that majority of one.
The positive aspect of this decision is that there will be a consultation on the experiences of residents and traders and the impacts that removing the restrictions on the bridge will have on health, collisions and an upturn in trade. These are trends that must be monitored.
Meanwhile, there is a question mark over whether the abrupt ending of the scheme could have financial implications for Cambridgeshire County Council’s future central government (DfT) funding for active transport schemes.
In a sign of the growing frustration within government at some councils, both Conservative and Labour, which have removed active travel schemes in the face of sometimes noisy objections, transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris is formally writing to the leaders of all English local authorities with transport responsibilities.
Authored by Linda Jones, Emeritus Professor of Health, The Open University (also former Cambridgeshire County Councillor for Petersfield Division in Cambridge) the report highlights Cambridge residents’ dissatisfaction, with fewer than 6% happy with their experience as a pedestrian.
Nearly every respondent mentioned the state of the pavements themselves, with nearly 3/4 of respondents complaining about pavements blocked by parked vehicles. Cambridgeshire County Council have had powers for over a decade to tackle the issue of vehicles obstructing our pavements. And it wouldn’t put a penny on the council tax – enforcement would be self-financing as penalty charge revenue would help to pay the salaries of the existing enforcement officers.
Week of Action Monday 12th July – Sunday 18th July 2021
The Living Streets organisation is hoping to map some of the obstructions that clutter our pavements throughout this week. Can you help to highlight the problems which pedestrians face in and around Mill Road?
If you can, please take some time, during the week, to record the locations of misplaced or broken street furniture and guard rails, A-boards cluttering narrow pavements, badly located bike racks, disused phone boxes, traffic signs or street lamps in the middle of pavements and other obstruction. Enter those details in the simple map provided, together with a photograph if you can take one.
However… Traders are permitted to place sign-boards, produce stalls, tables and chairs on their forecourt area. Often the only way to distinguish between the footway and the forecourt is a line of paving blocks. Take a look at the annotated photo, below.
Cambridge City Council’s consultation is open from 2nd July to 15th August 2021.
Litter has been a long-standing problem for Cambridge, as the photo and linked article, below, illustrate.
Tidying litter costs us all a lot of money every year, so maintaining a cleaner, greener Cambridge is a priority in Cambridge City Council’s Corporate Plan. It’s unrealistic to expect a completely litter-free city, but the council want to significantly reduce it and increase re-use and recycling.
The council are developing a litter strategy, which will cover the management of litter on streets and open spaces. It will include flytipping and street sweeping.
Cambridge City Council need to hear your views on litter and the litter-cleaning services they provide. This will help the council to shape future priorities and recognise what they do well and where they could make improvements.
It would be great if Mill Road area residents respond. Whilst many respondents may focus on the city’s more well-known open spaces – like Parker’s Piece, Jesus Green and Midsummer Common – along with the historic city centre, we need to make our local needs known.
Mill Road Cemetery has its own problems, as do Romsey Rec, Coleridge Rec and St Matthew’s Piece, But what about our side streets? Is your side street near to a take-away? Does each morning bring a regular harvest of discarded drinks cans, expanded polystyrene boxes and part-eaten food? Does it suffer from fly-tipping?
The survey should take about 15 minutes, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve been a good citizen by taking part, and, as a bonus, you can enter a prize draw for £100 of vouchers at the end!
The survey closes at midnight on 15th August 2021. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about it or the council’s work to prevent litter. They can also provide a printed version of the survey if you know someone without internet access who would like to participate.