Winter Sparkle for Mill Road

Mill Road Winter Fair cancelled but Mill Road Lanterns will celebrate the Mill Road ‘vibe’

The Grinch (aka Covid-19) might have stolen the Mill Road Winter Fair, but the Winter Fair committee have an alternative plan to celebrate Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities’.

Current Chair of the Fair Committee, Kate Collins, says: “We are so sad to have to cancel what would have been our 16th Fair. The Fair has always been important to traders, performers, and the local community. It is a great way to bring people together and to celebrate this unique part of Cambridge. Government restrictions do not allow large gatherings and it is impossible to know if this will be relaxed by December.

Romans & inter-faith blessings at the Perowne Street stage 2018

With this in mind, we will be coordinating a community project, Mill Road Lanterns, in what would have been the run up to the Fair to draw people to the road and to keep the spirit of the Fair alight. This and other local community projects are funded by a new charity, Love Mill Road, and we are thrilled that this will help to make the Fair more sustainable long- term.”

(See also the earlier Mill Road Bridges post on Mill Road Lanterns.)

60s style at Taank Op[tometrists 2018

Love Mill Road has grown from the Fair and from the legacy of the Suzy Oakes Trust. The charity (which can benefit from Gift Aid) has been established to provide a way to channel sponsorship and donations to Mill Road community projects taking place throughout the year, including the non-commercial aspects of the Mill Road Winter Fair.

Mill Road Lanterns will celebrate the identity and culture of Mill Road, highlighting the diversity, history and independence of the neighbourhood. Throughout the summer, local residents and schoolchildren from some of the side streets off Mill Road have been putting together words and images to reflect what is special about their community. These are being transformed by local artist and illustrator, Penny Sobr, into ten stunning community lanterns which will be hung in shops on either side of the Mill Road Bridge. The lanterns will be illuminated in the first two weeks of December, spanning the weekend when this year’s Fair was to take place. We hope to add further lanterns to represent Mill Road streets, schools and organisations in the years to come and that the lanterns will form the core of the community parade in future Fairs.

An illustrated Mill Road Trail will accompany the lanterns project and will depict the personality and individuality of Cambridge’s most vibrant neighbourhood. It will feature lantern venues as well as other places of interest. The Mill Road Trail will be launched at the end of November; we hope it will encourage people to come to Mill Road to explore its shops, eat in its cafés and generally soak up the special Mill Road vibe.

Finally, for those of you who are missing attending the Fair, from from 1st to 14th December, the Mill Road Winter Fair website will host Mill Road Fair Online, promoting many of the local performers, artists, organisations and charities who would have been there on the day.

We can’t replace the 2020 Fair but, with the help of Love Mill Road, we can shine a spotlight on some of Mill Road’s stories, buildings, history and culture.


Se also:


For more information on Mill Road Lanterns, Mill Road Trail and Mill Road Fair Online, please email pr@millroadwinterfair.org.

If you would like to help Mill Road Lanterns, please email info@millroadwinterfair.org

Thank you, ‘Kate’!

Tracey has contacted us with this heartwarming story…

I’m looking to find a lady who helped me during a crisis so I can thank her and I’m hoping you can help.

About 10am on Friday 11th September I became ill on Mill Road near the disused Micky Flynn building. A lady who I had never met before drove me to A&E at Addenbrooke’s but I was in such a lot of pain that I didn’t think to ask for her contact details.

I think she said her name was Kate (but I might be wrong), I think she was probably in her 40s (again, I might be wrong), she went to fetch her car so must live in the Petersfield area*. She drives a small silver car.

*It may have been parked in Gwydir Street car park.
– Web Editor

I know that’s not an awful lot of information to go on but I wondered if you could publish this, in the hope that someone will know who she is, so I can thank her for her help.

Kind regards,
Tracey.

Are you ‘Kate’? Do you know ‘Kate’? If so, please click here to get in touch with us by email, so we can put you in touch with Tracey.

Under construction

Two major projects are currently under way in the Mill Road area – Maintenance and stabling sidings for Govia Thameslink Railways (with Trainwash facilities of huge concern to Great Eastern Street residents) and Ironworks, the former Mill Road Depot.

Mill Road Scenes
By Ed Jenkins
Cranes on the Former City Council Mill Road depôt and Ridgeon’s Cromwell Road Site developments in Petersfield and Romsey, respectively
‘Sentinels’ Over Petersfield!
A ‘Flock’ of Cranes’ Over The Bridge
Watching over Great Eastern Street!
Open Air Classroom On Site, North of Mill Road Bridge. Project Managers taking advantage of the good late Summer weather!
Cranes standing guard over the Bridge!

Peace campaigner now speaks up for the Piece

She defended her country in the Second World War — now Dorothy Runnicles is defending St Matthew’s Piece. 

By Janet Wright
for Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

Dorothy Runnicles

Developers who want to build a large block of student flats on the edge of this small but well-used Petersfield park slipped a consultation document out in April, while most people were preoccupied with lockdown.

“As a former local resident, now 95, I totally reject the proposed centre,” Dorothy wrote to developers Federated Hermes, along with more than 100 local residents who also sent in their objections. Though confined to her present home in Gloucester by the pandemic, she sent her support to Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

After her wartime service in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, Dorothy became a pacifist, trained as a social worker and is still active in numerous community groups. In recent years she has advised the government, NHS and national charities on issues around inclusion and ageism. Due to represent the navy at the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Dorothy was instead phoned by the Princess Royal when all events were cancelled. 

A founder-member of Petersfield Area Community Trust, she has studied the results of increasing inequality, 20 years after a survey found that 10% of the Petersfield population lived below the poverty line. 

“The statement ‘We’re in it together’ has to be challenged,” Dorothy told Friends of St Matthew’s Piece. “The private business world is achieving what it wants. This area has a long history of continuous development, and of losing community assets.”

Petersfield, though densely populated, has less public open space than any other ward in Cambridge.

Artist’s impression of the student flats hovering over the former Howard Mallett Centre like an alien spaceship

“There are lots of people in Petersfield without gardens, some occupying one room in a house,” says Dorothy. “If people haven’t got gardens and haven’t got much money, they need free access to some open space. That’s being deliberately taken away from Petersfield.”

Click the image to learn about Super Matt’s campaign

The proposed student flats would be built above the former Howard Mallett youth centre – Dorothy notes that rates of youth offending increased after the centre was closed. Developers would also fell at least two of the mighty plane trees that are a feature of St Matthew’s Piece.

“Trees are extremely important,” says Dorothy. All the evidence shows there’s something important about the function of trees. Loss of trees is a health problem. Losing the big trees that are protecting our environment is extremely risky.”


Friends of St Matthew’s Piece can be contacted by email at friends.of.st.matthews.piece@gmail.com or followed and liked (here) on Facebook.


And see the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece campaign video…


Learn more about Dorothy on the National Development Team for Inclusion website, here.

Watch video recordings of Dorothy on Legasee – The Veterans Video Archive, here .


Planning Application – Former Sally Ann’s

Caro Wilson writes:

Please do take the time to study the details of the planning application and add your comments.

A recent view of the former Sally Ann’s shop, Caro Wilson

Readers may not be aware that before 44a Mill Road was the Sally Ann’s shop it was Fine Fare, Cambridge’s first self-service supermarket.

Fine Fare, Mill Road, courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Collection, from the Capturing Cambridge website

Before that it was The Playhouse, Cambridge’s first purpose-built cinema.

Playhouse c1936, from the Capturing Cambridge website

Do take note of its pedimented roof line and do go and take a look at the side wall where generations of children waiting for the Saturday film show carved their initials and made holes in the brick work with their copper pennies.

Side wall August 2015, photo by Simon Middleton, from the Capturing Cambridge website

Read all about the history of this important building 44a Mill Road on the Capturing Cambridge website, compiled by members of the Mill Road History Society

Your comments on the planning application on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning portal could help to persuade the owners of this site to preserve as much as possible of its important heritage.


See also Redeveloping the Mill Road Playhouse Cinema, 26th September 2020, on the Lost Cambridge blog.


Whilst you may add comments below, these will not be seen by officers of the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning partnership, nor be taken into consideration by the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee.

Traders overwhelmingly in favour of re-opening Mill Road bridge to cars

“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: policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

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 millroadtraders@gmail.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.


See also:

Cambridge Central Mosque – open, but not as usual

How is the pandemic affecting our Muslim community? And how is the mosque helping Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities? Our Web-Editor thought it would be good to share the latest update with the whole of Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities’.

Our earlier post on Cambridge Central Mosque in Lockdown reflected the sadness felt by Cambridge’s Muslims (and other Mill Roaders alike) that, after ten years of hard work to bring this beautiful new mosque to fruition, it had to close to worship and all other activities.

We are delighted to learn, in the latest newsletter, of how Cambridge Central Mosque are now able to accommodate worshipers and of outreach work by the brothers and sisters of the mosque.

Click on the image to read/download the full PDF Newsletter

Read, too, about a new sculpture celebrating role of Muslim scholarship and science in transmitting the Zero to the West, ushering in a new era in the development of mathematics.

For those who remember the Monty Python sketch What Did The Romans Ever Do For Us? maybe the Zero – the most revolutionary ‘nothing’ from the Hindu–Arabic numeral system – is the Islamic equivalent.


SPORTS AMBASSADORS

Cambridge Central Mosque will be organising a variety of sports tournaments in the Summer of 2021, and are currently recruiting Sports Ambassadors. Find out more on the Mosque website.


To keep up-to-date with all of the news from Cambridge Central Mosque you can sign up to their newsletter at the foot of the Mosque’s home page and, indeed, at the foot of each post on the Mosque website.


Join the Great British September Clean!

Keep Mill Road Tidy

Click the image to visit the national Great British September Clean website.

CAMBRIDGE City Council has pledged its support for this year’s re-organised Great British September Clean, run by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which takes place from 11- 27 September.

To support this year’s campaign in Cambridge, the City Council will be inviting groups and individuals to get involved and help clear up litter from their local streets, parks and open spaces. The council will be providing litter pickers, hi-vis vests, gloves, and rubbish bags for all those who want to do their bit.

The council will also be leading a programme of organised clean up events throughout the city, over the two-week campaign period, working with community groups and individual volunteers.

Click the image to view/download the full Cambridge City Council press release
Organised local clean up events in the Mill Road area are:
  • Sunday 20 September, Mill Road Cemetery – meeting at the Mill Road entrance
  • Tuesday 22 September, Parker’s Piece – meeting at Hobbs Pavilion
  • Saturday 26 September, Romsey Recreation Ground – meeting at Vinery Road entrance

All events will start at 11am and run until 12 noon.

Click here to read/download details of schemes across the city.

Volunteers will be asked to separate the litter they pick into two bags: one for recycling and another for the rest of the rubbish. The City Council will then collect these bags to ensure that they are recycled appropriately.

If you want to get involved in any of the above events or to organise your own – either as part of the Great British September Clean campaign or at any other time of the year – please use this link to email the Cambridge City Council’s Streets and Open Spaces Community Engagement Team, phone 01223 458084 or visit the Cambridge City Council Volunteer litter picking webpage for more information.

In line with the Government’s Covid-19 safety guidelines, the number of individuals/households that can attend these events will be limited, social distancing will be observed and enhanced personal protective equipment and cleansing will be observed at organised events.


To find out more about how to report litter and what action the council can take see the City Council’s Request a litter pick webpage.


Related items from Cambridge City Council…

Energy saving offer for Cambridgeshire residents

We reproduce the Cambridgeshire County Council press release in full, and thank Petersfield County Cllr Linda Jones for alerting us to this scheme.

It sounds as if it’s ideal for Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities’.

Click on the image to visit the Solar Together page for Cambridgeshire

Households across Cambridgeshire will soon have the opportunity to club together to buy and install solar panels at a reduced price.

The County Council and District Councils have joined forces with Solar Together as part of the initiative to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

From 1 September households and small and medium-sized enterprises can register for free and without obligation for the group-buying scheme, by visiting www.solartogether.co.uk/cambridgeshire When they register online for their complete solar PV system, applicants will be asked questions about their house, roof, and electricity usage.

The County Council will then arrange an auction with pre-vetted installers on 6 October. The auction is a reverse auction, meaning the lowest bid wins. The winning bid sets the price for all solar systems and battery systems. All installers are pre-vetted and must comply with certain criteria to guarantee the quality of the offer.

After the auction applications will receive a personal recommendation based on their registration details. They then have six weeks to decide if they want to take up the recommendation and proceed with an installation.

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity. In order to use this energy, the panels mounted on a roof need to be connected to an inverter using cables. The Solar Together offer is for a complete service, including all equipment, survey, installation, monitoring and warranties. Afterwards households or businesses will automatically generate their own electricity from the panels on their roof.

Households that already have solar panels installed can also register to have battery storage added to their ex­isting solar panels to maximise the benefits of their system.

Cambridgeshire County Council press release

I wholeheartedly support this excellent initiative. Solar panels are a sound investment. Households will be saving money on their electricity bills, as well as helping to reduce CO₂ emissions and support a sustainable future through increased generation of renewable energy.

Cllr Josh Schumann, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee

Mawson Road Sunday Gig!

🎼 Live music 🎸🥁🎹🎤 from
the front garden of
105 Mawson Road CB1 2DZ!

Sunday 23rd August 2020 @8pm

Boogie on down and enjoy
a blast from the past!
Just a few short dance 💃🏽🕺🏿steps
from Mill Road

Join Alive’n’Kickin – a brilliant 1980s cover band with past links to the Mawson Road Community Orchestra – for socially distanced fun in an 80s groove, including top hits from Duran Duran, Simple Minds and Dexys Midnight Runners.

The volunteer promoter writes…

There are now two orchestras related to Mawson Road. I am personally connected with and play in the Mawson Road Community Orchestra. The other orchestra, Cambridge Community Orchestra, has a children’s orchestra with with I plan to help.

Some players from both orchestras perform in a Wind Quintet“Wind in the Willows”. We are keen to play as much as possible, promoting the more unusual orchestral instruments to potential players young and old. Without these instruments being taken up by young players, there will be no future orchestras.

Melinda Rigby

If you (or your children) are interested in joining (or helping with the admin of) a performing group, an orchestra, a trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, septet… contact Melinda for further details.


You are welcome to comment (politely) below…


And do scroll down to the foot of this post to subscribe to the Mill Road Bridges website.