Mill Roaders needed for PhD Research

Kieran Gleave, a second-year PhD student at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge writes:

I am conducting part of my PhD research in Cambridge’s Petersfield and Romsey areas. Through my data collection, I aim to explore the relationships that community identities within the Mill Road area have with the ‘everyday’ traces of the industrial past. In essence, I’m trying to understand how the remnants of the industrial past inspire or shape what it means to belong to a community within the area. 

To collect my data, I’m recruiting local people to get involved with my project by participating in one-to-one interviews.

Kieran Gleave
Poster advertising the research.
Details as in accompanying text.

Kieran seeks to recruit local people who feel a sense of belonging to a community within Petersfield and Romsey to participate in one-to-one interviews for PhD research between June and October 2024. The research aims to explore how the ‘everyday’ traces of the industrial past inspire what it means to belong to a local community within the area.

The research will be through informal one-to-one interviews, of between 30 – 60 minutes, talking about:

  • The community or communities to which you feel a sense of belonging;
  • What it means to belong to these communities;
  • The relationships your community has with the industrial past.

If you are interested in participating, or in learning more about this research, please email Kieran Gleave at ktg29@cam.ac.uk.

If somebody you know might be interested in participating in an interview, or in learning more about this research, please forward this blogpost to them.

‘Heritage-making’ in Cambridge

Rana, a Master’s student at the Department of Archaeology (Heritage Studies) at the University of Cambridge. Has been in touch.

As caption
Mill Road Central Mosque dome, seen from roof-height

I am conducting research on ‘heritage-making’ in Cambridge, looking at the Cambridge Central Mosque in particular and how locals respond to/ engage with the space. This is in relation to broader community and cultural relations in the city.

Rana, MPhil Heritage Studies, University of Cambridge

Rana is hoping to contact individuals in the Mill Road “Community of Communities” who might want to take part in her research.

Taking part in Rana’s research would consist of a chat (around 30 minutes) either online or on the phone.

Rana adds that she would also be happy to meet in-person at the Cambridge Central Mosque, Mill Road, and show them around. She is looking for a diverse range of participants local to the area – no specialist or previous knowledge needed – just anyone who is local and enthusiastic about Cambridge!

If you’re interested, contact Rana through this email link, before 28th  June 2024. She will get in touch to organise a chat.

Rana would also really appreciate you forwarding this blogpost, or the email link to anyone else who you think would be interested in contributing to her research.


See our other posts on Mill Road Central Mosque:


See also the Cambridge Central Mosque website.

BBC Make a Difference Awards

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
Know a local hero in Cambridge?
Make a Difference Awards 2024
Other details as per caption and subsequent text
Click the image above to visit the BBC Make a Difference Awards website
and to read full terms and conditions

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire are searching for local heroes to recognise their efforts.

There are Great Neighbour Community and Volunteer categories for people/groups who help those around them.

Visit the BBC Make a Difference Awards website for category list, terms and privacy notice.

Ed Lloyd Jenkins

Many of us will have fond memories of Ed Lloyd Jenkins. And Mill Roaders may wish to attend Ed’s Memorial Service at St Philip’s Church, 185 Mill Road, CB1 3AN on Saturday, 24th February at 4:30pm.

Photo of Ed with accompanying text:

In loving memory of
Edward Lloyd Jenkins friend, neighbour and Cambridge community champion
Memorial Service
Location - St Philip's Church,
185 Mill Road, CB1 3AN
Date - Saturday, 24 February
Time - 4:30pm
To share your memories of Ed please feel free to add to this online message board

Memories can also be added to this Facebook page for Ed. And appreciative comments can be added below this post.

Mill Road History Society hopes to post a tribute page on the Capturing Cambridge website and there are plans to collate as many of Ed’s poems as possible – anyone with one is asked to email it, along with any photos or memories of him, to millroadhistory@gmail.com.

Cambridge Independent’s Paul Brackley contacted Mill Roaders to compile this lovely piece – Tributes paid to Edward Jenkins: A figure as unique as the community he loved in Mill Road, Cambridge By Paul Brackley – 26th January 2024. We couldn’t better this, so we won’t try.

See also Ed’s poem MILL ROAD 2018 on the Mill Road Poetry page, and The Road – The Film (2013) in collaboration with John Caldwell.

Community Grants from Cambridge City Council

Could you, or your group, help to improve people’s lives, locally?

Click the image to read the the guidelines and start your application

If only you had a little bit of funding…

Community groups can apply for up to £5,000 grant funding from Cambridge City Council’s Area Committee Community Grants scheme.

Voluntary and community organisations, or groups of local residents, can apply for the grants. But hurry, the deadline for applications is 31st January 2024.

Get your paperwork in good shape. (You’re getting public money, so you need to show that everything is legit.) And get cracking.

Apply online. Click here to read the the guidelines and start your application.

Grants could be for venue hire to host activities; costs to run activities that benefit people on low incomes; or activities that reduce poverty.


Provision of mini allotment planters and mural signage for Ainsworth Street community garden plus additional new allotment planter to be located in Ainsworth playpark.
Aims…

  • Improve urban landscape.
  • Encourage social connectedness and reduce isolation through engagement in community activities.

Twice monthly Toy Library at Ross Street Community Centre.
Aims…

  • Reduce social and economic inequality for local families via free sessions.
  • Allow families regardless of income to access safe, good quality toys and equipment at a nominal charge.

Weekly summer holiday activities for children aged 6-18 years particularly those living in social tenancies.
Aims…

  • Provide physical and creative opportunities in a structured and positive environment to those who would not otherwise have access.
  • Reduce social isolation and improve confidence and mental wellbeing through making new friends and playing together.

Successful applications will be for activities which reduce social and/or economic inequality for Cambridge City residents with the most need, taking place between 1st April 2024 and 31st March 2025, in a defined area of the city.

Need more guidelines on what makes a successful application? You can read the full list of successful and unsuccessful applications from last year, in the PDFs below.

Need a little more guidance from the Grants Officers? You can contact them by email grants@cambridge.gov.uk or phone 01223 457875.

Click the image to read the the guidelines and start your application

Grafton Centre Redevelopment – How Big?

A planning application for quadrupling the height and mass of the Grafton Centre has attracted far less attention and comment than the parallel one for the Beehive site. Almost none. But it would have comparable impact on the Mill Road Conservation Area environment, including the ‘green lung’ of St Matthew’s Piece. Read/download the documentation on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Portal, here.

Showing existing Grafton Centre – height 10.5 m to 14 m

The applicant’s Landscape And Public Realm statements fail to mention that the proposed structures would look directly into the residential housing estate, on the opposite side of East Road (from south to north – Amblecote, Fazeley House, Shenstone House, Wheaton House, Hilderstone House, and the new housing, under construction on the site of the former garages). Views shown from the proposed structure’s roof terrace reveal just how much the building will dominate the skyscape from much of central Cambridge. See the documentation on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Portal.

Showing proposed Grafton Centre with a height up to 41 m

There has been no consultation in the Mill Road Conservation Area, although the views from so many of these homes and streets would be dramatically impacted by substantial changes to the skyline from this enormous development.

An objection to these proposals (PDF 2.9MB) in the name of Friends of St Matthew’s Piece has been submitted to Greater Cambridge Shared Planning. 

The dramatic graphics (above), in addition to those in the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece submitted objection, show the existing vs minimum heights of the structures proposed in Planning Application 23/02685/FUL. The actual impact would be even worse, as the footprint also expands, and the height of the proposed structures rise to 41m. If we add in flues and vents, which (as revealed in the Beehive application) can rise to 25% again of these building heights, these proposals will dominate the skyline over a wide area of the city’s Petersfield ward.

To make clear what this means for residents of the Mill Road Conservation Area, not one of whom was at any stage informed of or consulted on these proposals, a technically adept Friend of St Matthew’s Piece has taken the developer’s precise figures from today’s new image and made an animated gif to show what the Old vs New Grafton Centre would look like, combining (a) info from this most recent image from the developer with (b) the image the developer provided on p.33 of their Design & Access Survey of the existing “low level” Grafton Centre…

Image as foregoing text.

The formal comment deadline for Planning Application 23/02685/FUL passed on Tuesday 28th November 2023. However public comments can still be uploaded to the the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Portal – and will be taken into account – right up until the date of the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee meeting at which this application will be considered, which has not yet been scheduled.


More about Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.


Blogposts on other issues concerning St Matthew’s Piece


If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

Musical Christmas Party…

?? The Peg Leg Pub Band have the answer. And they’re coming to Mill Road! And the gig is open to a all… And it’s only £10 on the door! ? ????

as caption
Four of the band, in action.
Christmas Party
In aid of the Red Cross
PEG LEG PUB BAND
Toe-Tappin’ Hand-Clappin’ Finger-Snapin’ Thigh-Slappin’ Musical Fun
  
The Salisbury Club, 272 Mill Road from 8pm, Saturday 16th December 2023 Tickets £10 on the door
Click the image to download a printable PDF of this poster

I have never had a night in the pub as enjoyable as this one

Lisa, the Black Horse, Swaffham Bulbeck, New Years Eve 2022

Find out more about The Peg Leg Pub Band.

St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Saved!

Graphic: Three trees , worker wielding chainsaw crossed out
Text: Out three St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Saved!

At the 1st November 2023 Cambridge City Council Planning Committee meeting, the three 125-year-old threatened London Plane Trees along Sturton Street were vigorously and successfully defended.


Relief after Cambridge park’s mature trees saved from the chop By Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 01 November 2023


Around 40-50 members of the public lined the outer rows of seats in the main Council chamber. Some carried banners and placards, which were held aloft throughout. 

Powerful and clear speeches in strong defence of the trees were given by Friends of St Matthew’s Piece, by all three of our Petersfield ward Councillors – Councillor Mike Davey, Labour, Leader of the Council; Councillor Richard Robertson, Labour; Councillor Katie Thornburrow, Labour, Executive Councillor for Planning, Building Control and Infrastructure – and also by Councillor Jean Glasberg, Newnham, Green Party, Green & Independent (Spokes) for Communities, Open Spaces and City Services, Climate Action and Environment.

Aerial view of the three trees

Several of these speeches cited recent incisive legal input from the highly respected expert planning solicitor Richard Buxton. This is not the first time Richard has been key to protecting St Matthew’s Piece. See March & July 2007 in – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.)

A thorough and penetrating debate took place about many aspects of the application to fell these three trees. All of the voting Planning Committee Members diligently interrogated the complex issues objectively. Most made a point of specifically mentioning the many emails they had received directly from local residents – these clearly had an important impact.

The decision to refuse the application was finally taken – and it was unanimous – to the enormous relief and delight of all the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporters in the chamber. Robust and detailed ‘Reasons to Refuse’ were then formally agreed.

We must all remain vigilant, to continue to ensure these precious trees last another 125 years – and more!

Graphic: Trees with hearts
Text: THANK YOU SO MUCH  FOR YOUR HELP
From Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

Moreover, St Matthew’s Piece needs support in protection from inappropriate development. Scroll down to read more


THE ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.

This – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.) – is the history of how the land on which these trees stand was bought in the 1890s, with public money – and given to the local community forever … but then lost by our local councils. The current owners are multinational banking interests and property investors.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.


Earlier blogposts on the three trees


Blogposts on other issues concerning St Matthew’s Piece

Proposed St Matthew’s Piece development inbound list above

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this and other blogposts about St Matthew’s Piece, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

St Matthew’s Piece Trees – The Crucial Meeting

Photo of banner on the at-risk trees
  • The crucial meeting on the fate of the three threatened trees is tomorrow Wednesday 1st November. 
  • It will be at 10 am in the main Council Chamber at the Guildhall
  • It is open to the public, via the Peas Hill entrance only, from 9.30 am
  • First real item of business on the agenda – please come, and please be prompt
  • It would be very helpful for as many supporters as possible to be there!
  • If we can’t save these 3 highly protected trees, NO tree in Cambridge is safe.
Photo of the three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece
The three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece

Extracts of a letter by an Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporter to the Planning Committee:

…With family in Sheffield and in Plymouth, I’m very aware of how much is at stake tomorrow for all concerned in this application/decision, including yourselves….
   

I’ve just read the latest report from Joanna Davies to the Committee. I write with other decision-making processes in my mind regarding Council tree officers, favouring the removal of trees at this period of climate chaos. 

Tree officers are being asked to take decisions that require professional knowledge and skill, a multi-disciplinary approach, and ethical thinking that the current regulatory framework does not allow for. In this case, Ms Davies is not competent to answer questions about building methods and therefore about buildings allegedly affected by tree roots, nor is she mandated (or qualified) to question the potential involvement and motives of the owners of the land on which the three trees sit. Yet these are crucial questions that may affect … these terrible acts of destruction, and part of the story of our area. They are not relevant to a tree officer but they are, in reality, central to questions of justice and the preservation of Petersfield.

[Did] the additional advice Ms Davies sought about this application lead to a thorough on-site inspection of the allegedly threatened building? … Was this in fact merely a paper exercise, just checking the bureaucratic competence of the insurers claim?

In Sheffield … the destruction of mature trees has been experienced by the public as acts of slaughter, even murder. There is no comfort in the argument that no one responsible actually broke the law. Traditionally ‘safe’ left wing constituencies have voted against Labour councillors as a direct consequence of decision making that resulted in mature trees being felled against public wishes. 

Trees are experienced everywhere as living beings who share our lives, and the regulations to which Ms Davies is bound, and the processes by which such decisions are made, are clearly inadequate. I hope councillors can find that … there remain too many questions in this case that … she is neither authorised nor professionally competent to answer.

These heavy matters now rest with yourselves. I hope the wisest and most morally fair decision is taken tomorrow…


THE ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.

This – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.) – is the history of how the land on which these trees stand was bought in the 1890s, with public money – and given to the local community forever … but then lost by our local councils. The current owners are multinational banking interests and property investors.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.

Earlier Mill Road Bridges blogposts on the three trees are referenced below:


THANK YOU SO MUCH  FOR YOUR HELP
From Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

St Matthew’s Piece Trees – The Final Frontier?

URGENT ACTION NEEDED
3 TREES AT THREAT OF
FELLING ON THE PIECE

THREE MAGNIFICENT TREES

Photo of the three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece

On Wednesday 1st November 2023, the fate of the three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece is the first item of real business at Cambridge City Council’s Planning Committee. 10am, Guildhall.

The Planning Committee is open to the public. Please attend the meeting, and encourage others to attend.


THE CONTINUING THREAT

An insurance company is demanding that these 125-year-old trees be felled. They are acting for the absentee landlord of 193 Sturton Street, a neglected HMO (house in multiple occupancy) built 100 years after these trees were planted.

Friends of St Matthew’s Piece has strongly challenged the submitted evidence that the trees (rather than e.g., shoddy construction) are the cause of any damage to the house – Objection to 23/0119/TTPO – from the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece and Supplementary Objection to 23/0119/TTPO – from the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece (Click to open in Google Docs.)

Many hundreds of objections have been written by local residents directly to Councillors, as well as formally to the Council.


THE AUGUST REPRIEVE

On Tuesday 1st Aug 2023, at 21:21, hours ahead of the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday 2nd August 2023, the item was removed from the agenda. Campaigners received an email in the name of the three city councillors for the Petersfield ward.

Thank you for your email expressing concern and objecting to the felling of these trees. The three of us, the city ward councillors for Petersfield, are very pleased to be able to tell you that the planning application seeking to have the trees felled is being taken off the agenda for the meeting of the Planning Committee tomorrow.

Working together with the Friends of St Matthew’s Pieces we were able to raise more and more technical and legal issues that had not been considered, at least not sufficiently. It became clear that the Committee would not have enough information to assess properly the application and it would have to be deferred pending consideration of the whole matter and especially the new information and questions being raised.

It should not be assumed that this is the end of the matter though. Unless the applicant withdraws the application it will come back to a further meeting of the Planning Committee. We will continue to work hard to get full recognition of the importance of the 3 trees and the importance of not setting a precedent which might endanger further trees.

Apologies that this is not an individual response to your email but there have been so many objectors and we want to give you the news as soon as possible. Thanks again for your contribution to the issue.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Cllr Richard Robertson and Cllr Mike Davey

HOWEVER…

The latest report to Cambridge City Council Planning Committee (Presenting Officer Joanna Davies) appears to weight the arguments in favour of removal of these three 100+ year-old trees.

Image of front page of
Report to Cambridge City Council Planning Committee
Presenting Officer Joanna Davies
Report to Cambridge City Council Planning Committee (Presenting Officer Joanna Davies)
Click the image to view/download the 32-page PDF

Mike, a key Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporter read the Officer’s Report and concluded: 

“…while on its face it gives the decision to the council members (who, after all, are responsible for the decision), it appears to me to be weighted against refusal of consent. While amenity is recognised, it is immediately undermined… If I were a disinterested council member, I would read the document as telling me that the costs and risks involved in refusing consent clearly outweigh amenity etc… that is how I read it.”. 


These attitudes must be overcome to save these trees.


OTHER BATTLES TO SAVE TREES

Residents (rightly) have strong feelings about preserving the beauty, the majesty and the amenity of mature trees. How has it played out elsewhere? Will St Matthew’s Piece be another Alexandra Gardens? Or another Sheffield? Or Plymouth? Are the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee members soon to be ex-councillors?

Cambridge: 24/7 watch?

Local residents may recall the long-running dispute about the trees at Alexandra Gardens Residents set up 24/7 watch over Alexandra Gardens trees in Cambridge to ‘keep chainsaws at bay’ [Mike Scialom – Cambridge Independent – 06 August 2021]

Sheffield: direct action, security guards, assaults, arrests?

A programme of felling of street trees continued for two years, leading to horrendous reputational damage, to the city and the city council with widespread coverage in national news media. Only after the ruling party on Sheffield City Council (Labour) lost a number of seats in the local election, did talks start with protesters.

Chainsaws, disguises and toxic tea: the battle for Sheffield’s trees [by Samira Shackle, Guardian, Tue 24 Oct 2023]

Plymouth: “secretive night-time vandalism”?

Council leader Richard Bingley (Conservative) who signed off night-time mass felling as part of £12m regeneration scheme was forced into early resignation.

Plymouth council leader quits after approving cutting down of 110 trees [PA Media, Guardian, Thu 23 Mar]

Cambridge City Council’s Planning Committee is open to the public. Please attend the meeting, and encourage others to attend. City Councillors must understand residents strength of feeling, and councillors’ duty to their electorate.


THE ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.

This – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.) – is the history of how the land on which these trees stand was bought in the 1890s, with public money – and given to the local community forever … but then lost by our local councils. The current owners are multinational banking interests and property investors.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.

Earlier Mill Road Bridges blogposts on the three trees are referenced below:


THANK YOU SO MUCH  FOR YOUR HELP
From Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.