Nina Lübbren, Romsey, published this measured and sensible comment elsewhere on an invitation-only social network. It is reproduced here with Nina’s permission.
At this point, I feel it would be useful to disentangle several issues about the Mill Road bridge closure.
The lack of consultation. Probably most of us would have preferred more consultation but also understand why no consultation took place (because of government requiring immediate action).
The need for social distancing. We can probably all agree that it is vital to enable social distancing for anybody crossing the bridge. Pedestrians have to step onto the road to keep a distance. Cyclists have to cycle in the middle of the road to keep a distance. People in cars are protected from the air outside but are faced with pedestrians and cyclists on the road. This was not a safe scenario.
Decreased traffic; less pollution. A separate issue to 1. and 2. As with last year’s closure of the bridge, the decrease of pollution and traffic (and possible moving of this pollution and traffic elsewhere) is a side-effect of the closure of the bridge. Neither last year’s or this year’s closure was effected in order to address pollution. A joined-up urban planning measure with due consultation and a gathering of statistical data (pollution levels etc) needs to be undertaken in order to address this.
Adverse effect on traders. This can be linked to 1. above but does not affect 2.
Accessibility. For those who cannot cross the bridge by bike or on foot, there will need to be provision made, and quickly. Again, this is linked to 1. but now that the urgency of immediate action has passed, I would hope that the [Cambridgeshire County] Council puts measures in place to address both 2. and 5.
Do you have views about the measures which Cambridgeshire County Council are taking? How is it working so far… for you? Whatever your view, as long as it is expressed politely, you can add your comments below. Or on many of the posts above.
We are delighted to see Mill Road’s charity shops re-opening, though, sadly, one (Cats Protection) has closed permanently, Here’s what we can find, so far, arranged in order, from the city end of Mill Road towards Brookfields.
We have given a telephone contact Nº for each shop and, where possible an email address. We will update the post with any changes of which we are notified, but it’s worth checking ahead for any changes, and particularly if you’re offering large donations of pre-loved items.
Please check when and if your favourite charity shop can take donations. Try emailing or phoning beforehand, if in doubt.
Never leave intended donations outside or charity shops out-of-hours. When the shop reopens the items may have become soiled, rain-soaked or may have been partly stolen with the unwanted items strewn all around. Not only does this give the shop’s volunteer staff additional work, you could find yourself fined for fly-tipping.
We are delighted to be open again and it has been wonderful to see so many customers returning to our Mill Road bookshop.
Opening days and times may vary for the foreseeable future while we work to get fully up and running again and we will keep them updated on this page. If you are making a special journey to the shop, please ring ahead to check that we are definitely open.
In order to enable physical distancing, we can only admit a few customers to the shop at any one time, and a physically distanced queuing system will be in place outside the shop.
If you wish to make a donation that is larger than one person can carry to the shop in one trip, please call the shop (01223 362496) or contact us by email before you set off. We must ensure that we have sufficient space to accept your donation and to arrange a time to be able to do so.
For everyone’s safety, all donations will be quarantined. Please also note that we are now no longer able to accept donations of the following items: DVDs/Blu Ray discs, CDs, and vinyl records. As always, please do not leave donations outside the shop.
Hurrah! Our lovely Sally Ann’s shop has reopened. Both parts have been reorganised to introduce a one-way system and facilitate social distancing. Hand sanitiser is readily available. It is wonderful to see the team again and, as before, to look for treasures.
Caro Wilson, local resident
Sally Ann’s is the Salvation Army charity shop, located in our recently refurbished premises next door to our Church in Tenison Road.
It’s purpose is primarily for fund raising, supporting our Community Centre which is located close by at 104 Mill Road.
It is open six days a week, shutting at lunch time on a Saturday.
Please note that following closure due to COVID19, we are pleased to announce that we are be re-opening our Shop on Monday 3rd August at 1pm with reduced hours and for a period, we will not be open on Saturday.
Sally Ann’s may be able to accept a couple of modestly-sized bags per donor in the mornings, but probably not after midday. If in doubt, telephone 01223 316161 or email email@example.com to check when Sally Ann’s can accept your donations. This is essential for larger items.
Cats Protection Charity Shop – permanently closed
172 Mill Road Cambridge CB1 3LP
Our charity shop on Mill Road is now permanently closed.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has donated, shopped, and volunteered in the shop through the decades of serving the Mill Road community, raising funds for the cats of Cambridge.
The activities of Cambridge Cats Protection remain unchanged, please view the other pages on our web site for more information.
Our charity shop raises vital funds for Romsey Mill. It is located at 176 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 3LP and thrives with the help of committed and friendly volunteers.
As well as supporting Romsey Mill, the shop provides low cost clothing, toys, books and lots of other household items.
The shop is currently open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm.
We welcome donations, but currently can only accept them on certain days. Please ring first (07768 307674) or email Liz Diamond, especially if your donation is large as we have limited storage.
We have vacancies for more volunteers to join our team, if you are interested in meeting new people, gaining retail experience and supporting Romsey Mill, please get in touch with the Shop Manager on 07768 307674. Or pop in to the shop and pick up a volunteer application.
Please shop with us and raise funds to help local animals. Our target is to achieve a monthly profit of £1,000 at each of our shops, which will safeguard the future of the services which we provide in the Cambridge area.
We have an enormous stock of quality fiction and non-fiction: novels, poetry, literature, crime, sci-fi, plays, art, audio-books, aviation, natural history, DIY, biography, business, children’s, curio and collectable, economics, esoteric, history, sport, new-age, health and fitness, humour, languages, linguistics, film and theatre, music, self-help, theology, psychology, computing, textbooks, craft, cookery, science, current affairs, philosophy, politics, sociology, topography, travel… New items go out daily, so keep coming in.
We also stock secondhand music records, CDs, DVDs and videos.
And don’t forget that The Edge Café, in common with a number of other cafés and restaurants, is offering half-price meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August, through the government Eat Out to Help Out scheme. More here… Eat Mill Road, Help Mill Road.
No, there doesn’t seem to be any way of narrowing it to one mile, so we’ve pulled out the 30 participating restaurants, pubs and cafés along Mill Road and side streets. Feel free to check the Gov.UK list and let us know of anything we’ve missed.
Before entering and ordering, check for the Eat Out to Help Out posters in the window. Just because an establishment has registered, it doesn’t mean they’ve got a grip on how to apply the scheme. If in doubt ask first.
Scott’s All Day 0.04 miles from the bridge, in Petersfield 111-113 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2AZ
The Devonshire Arms 0.04 miles from the bridge, in Petersfield 1 Devonshire Road, Cambridge, CB1 2BH
The Cambridge Blue 0.25 miles from the bridge, in Petersfield 85-87 Gwydir Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LG
Relevant Record Café 0.26 miles from the bridge, in Romsey 260 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 3NF Note: on Tuesday 4th August one Mill Roader was refused the discount. You are advised to check before ordering. See this tweet, and our reply.
Noodles Plus 0.30 miles from the bridge, in Petersfield 24a, Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2AD
The Empress 0.32 miles from the bridge, in Romsey 72 Thoday Street, Cambridge, CB1 3AX
Tu Casa Restaurant 0.33 miles from the bridge, in Petersfield 8 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2AD
The Alexandra Arms 0.35 miles from the bridge, in Petersfield 22-24, Gwydir Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LL
The Edge Café 0.61 miles from the bridge, in Romsey Brookfields Hospital Site, 351 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 3DF
The Brook Pub 0.68 miles from the bridge, in Romsey 25 Brookfields, Cambridge, CB1 3NW
Note: the links in the above list are to (in order of preference, according to what we could find) the establishment’s website, their Facebook page or Trip Adviser. We have no responsibility for any information on these links.
There has been significant opposition to the restrictions on Mill Road Bridge posted on various social media sites.
This protest has been spotted on Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor, a localised social media site.
The publication of this post by Mill Road Bridges should not be considered an endorsement of this protest or 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 this protest and its aims.
It is unclear quite who the ‘ad hoc committee of Romsey and Petersfield residents’ are, but Pamela Wesson of Fantasia, 64 Mill Road, Cambridge, CB12AS purveyor of “unusual and unnecessary items” has been most active on Nextdoor, Facebook and Twitter.
Pamela has published, on Nextdoor, some of the responses to the poster. These are reproduced below.
To whom it may concern,
I am writing today to voice my support for the Mill Rd Bridge Closure. I live on Cavendish Road. I think the closure is working very well and makes Mill Rd much more pleasant to use as a cyclist and pedestrian. I do not understand the protests against the bridge closure. It seems unlikely to me that a large number of people drive to Mill Rd to shop given the limited parking, or that they are going to be significantly discouraged by having to park on one side of the bridge and walk to the other.
If anything, now that more of the road can be used by pedestrians, I would like to see provisions for more outdoor seating so that businesses suck as coffeeshops can serve more patrons.
I do not agree with the Mill Road Traders Association or the Ad Hoc Committee of Romsey and Petersfield Residents Against Obstructions and Bridge Closure on Mill Road that the bridge should be reopened.
I have just got a flier through my door which does not specify any reasons for objecting the road closure but is planning a demonstration! Mill road is used by through traffic all the time. These people do not stop and visit shops or facilities on mill road, they cause noise, pollution and danger to our children.
I have not been able to cycleover mill road bridge with my children and as a result do not use shops on the town side of mill road. The one time i took my daughter over the bridge she fell off into the road! Wiith the bridge shut i’ll be hanging out and spending money on mill road more.
Shutting the bridge to commuters who have no interest in our community is a good thing.
I do not understand how it has a negative impact on anyone. Cycle or walk and if you must drive, just drive around!
I too now have to go the long way round in my car and i’m more than happy to do so in order to benefit my community.
I really do not understand objections to this scheme. Please can you explain?
L[…] (Thoday Street)
Asked, by another commenter on Nextdoor, “why are you posting copies of other people’s opinions etc?” Pamela responded, “Not fussed by showing other opinions. Often just showing them reveals why I personally oppose them.”
Cambridge Council took the decision to widen the pavements over Mill Road Bridge, without consultation and only 2 days warning. Their reasoning was to encourage people to social distance.
This will allow access for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport & emergency vehicles. This work is permanent, not temporary.
However, no access for Blue Badge holders, taxi drivers or private vehicles. I believe the Council has said it will review access for Blue Badge holders in 6 months.
Discriminating against the disabled is disgusting – and contravenes the Equalities Act 2020.
Work will also be done to widen some of the pavements both sides of the bridge – at the moment they are just screened off. We were not informed of this.
Not every resident on Mill Road is able to ride a bike or walk very far. Taking a taxi will cost more because of the circuitous route that the driver will have to take – and the disabled and elderly are not all made of money! And yes, I am walking disabled, not allowed to drive and cannot walk far without pain.
Please sign up to this petition, and compel the Council to re-think before it is too late.
Triio, contractors for Cadent Gas, are returning to Mill Road to complete works from last year. Whilst the street sign informing of impending works, which went up a couple of weeks ago, indicated the main focus from the commencement date of Monday 27th July would be near the city end of Mill Road, a letter sent to traders appeared to suggest it was the whole of Mill Road.
Understandably, as we and the Cambridge Independent have reported, Mill Road’s traders were extremely concerned.
On investigation Cllr Linda Jones, Cambridgeshire County Councillor for Petersfield Division, found that the planned Triio/Cadent work was for connections from the new gas main to individual premises, only on the stretch of Mill Road between Mortimer Road and Mackenzie Road.
The planned work, Linda reports, is as follows:
Phase 1, when it starts, will be between Mortimer Road and Guest Road, with two-way signals. This will last four weeks and initially the closed section will be on the southwestern (shops) side as Triio accesses the new gas main (laid last year) to do the connections to the shops. After that the closed section will be the pavements on the residential side, with temporary footways created in the roadway, still with two-way signals but on the other side of the road. Triio/Cadent will, again, be connecting individual properties to the new gas main.
Phase 2 will be between Guest Road and Mackenzie Road and will take around three weeks. There will be three-way signals to enable exit/entry from side roads. Again, works will start on the shops’ side and then move to the residential side.
During the past week, Cllr Jones has been negotiating with Triio and the Cambridgeshire County Council Streetworks team, to achieve the best way forward.
The gas works have been delayed from the planned date of Monday 27th July since the build-outs will need to be removed to allow short stretches of one-way traffic with temporary signals. Linda has also pushed for the ever-deepening potholes to be filled quickly, lest that whole section of carriageway collapse. The potholes have now been repaired.
Cllr Jones has now informed us that the gas connection works will start on Monday 3rd August. Triio will be doing the work in two stages as described before.
Linda also adds:
“As we ‘survivors’ from last summer know, there could be minor delays if antiquated connectors at properties need replacing. But there is no other work currently scheduled for Mill Road.”
Cllr Linda Jones, Cambridgeshire County Councillor for Petersfield Division
Our thanks are due to Cllr Jones for her assiduous work to look after the interests of Mill Roaders.
Rashel Mohammed started this petition to Cambridgeshire County Council
Mill Road Bridges exists to give a voice to all who live in, trade in, shop in, visit, or have an interest in Mill Road. Our linking to this petition should not be read as support. Neither should this statement be read as opposition.
By excluding taxis access on Mill Road Bridge will discriminate against the elderly, or people with disabilities who are totally reliant on a door-to-door service.
These individuals are statistically more likely to not own a vehicle or cycle and have mobility problems. Furthermore, in these challenging times they may have significantly less disposable income with which to pay additional costs associated with travelling the much longer routes incurred as a direct result of the diversion, for instance doctors appointments or essential shopping trips.
Assuming that, despite moves being made against progress, the plan for reduced usage of Mill Road Bridge will proceed, there are numerous ways in which the Councils and Traders could work together towards future prosperity in the Road.
The present payment system for both the Gwydir Street, and Great Eastern Street car parks could be arranged to provide short term, free parking, with significant payment penalties should the provided time be exceeded. Additionally, a heavy financial penalty could be introduced for non compliance with the arrangement!
The City Council could extend the Business Improvement District (BID) to include ALL of Mill Road*, with appropriate City Centre signage, and work with the Traders and other representative groups to provide incentives for day, and longer term, visitors to come to this part of the city. This could include displaying the history of the Road, possibly in the form of mosaics and/or wall and lamp post paintings, together with flyers and ‘treasure’ maps being made available at locations, such as the tourist centre office, in the city.
*Editorial Note: We understand that, to extend the current BID boundary (see map) all businesses within a proposed extension with a rateable value of £30,000 or more will be able to vote. There must then be a double majority in favour – by rateable value and by number of businesses. Cambridge City Council and the current BID may propose, but if the Mill Road Traders’ Association opposes… (We are open to correction on this.)
A loyalty card system similar to the Milly Card tried a while ago, but with a comprehensive, sophisticated, interactive website system to include details of all Businesses and Card Holders, in which incentive type offers would be presented and taken up, bookings made, together with arrangements for purchase collection.
With the large chain type stores on the wane, now is the opportunity for the return of the high street and its wide array of shops of all kinds. Hopefully we will see a much more interesting and functional Mill Road emerging after this difficult time, and the uniformity of the present, changing into a wider ranging business area with more true independents located here.
Privatised gas-main utility Cadent, with its contractor Triio, has seven weeks of disruption planned for Mill Road.
And you thought that the gas-main replacement work was all done in the summer (and autumn) of 2019? It seems not, as this letter, received by a local trader, on the Petersfield (city) side of Mill Road bridge, reveals.
At the time of publishing this post, it was unclear whether this work would be limited to the Petersfield (city) side of Mill Road bridge, or wopuld also take place on the Romsey side. It would now appear that:
The gas works by Cadent are set to start at the junction with Mackenzie Road and end at the four-way junction of Mill Road, Parkside, Gonville Place and East Road. They are currently set to run from July 27 to September 11.
We’re improving the gas pipes in your street – we need to temporarily disconnect your gas supply
We look after the gas pipes in your area, and we’re committed to keeping you safe and warm. To ensure you continue to receive a reliable gas supply, we are going to replace the pipes in your street. We will need to turn off your gas supply for a short time and gain access to your property.
Working with our partners TRIIO, we plan to start this work between 27.07.2020 and27.09.2020, and we expect it to last approximately 07 week(s).
We recognise that you may have concerns about COVID-19, and we want to reassure you that your safety is our number one priority. All our engineers follow the latest guidance from the Government. You can find more about this at cadentgas.com/coronavirus.
What you need to do
If you or anyone in your home is seIf-isolating and/or shielding, let us know as soon as possible – if you haven’t already done so – using the contact details overleaf. It’s very important you do this, so we can put measures in place to keep everyone safe.
We will need access to your property on the day your supply is turned off and at various times throughout the day, including access to your gas appliances once your supply has been reconnected. Someone over 18 must be present to allow the work inside the property to take place. Please do not ask a friend or neighbour to be present. We’ll update you with a specific date closer to the time.
All of our engineers carry an identity card; please ask to see this before allowing anyone into your property.
Ensure that your landlord knows you have received this letter, and let us know of any potential hazards e.g. asbestos, family pets, that might impact our work as we would like to discuss these before the start date to ensure we work safely.
Consider postponing any plans to resurface your driveway or landscape your garden as our works may require digging outside your property.
It would be helpful if you could remove any obstructions from around your gas meter before we start work.
Understandably, Mill Road’s independent traders are concerned…
Beleaguered traders who say the closure of Mill Road bridge in Cambridge to motorists has caused chaos and damaged trade are reeling after it was announced that they now face seven weeks of gas pipe repairs in the street.
They warned it could be the “last nail in our coffin” following the lockdown.
Some thoughts about the implications come to mind:
With the Cambridgeshire County Council’s ‘pavement-widening’ barriers and Cadent/Triio’s will any bus, taxi or delivery vehicle be able to navigate Mill Road?
As the arguments rage about the effectiveness of the Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure and its effects on trade, how will we disentangle the effects of Cambridgeshire County Council’s initiative, from Covid-19 fear of leaving home and the latest Cadent/Triio work?
And one final thing, just in case anyone didn’t catch the reference in the title of this post…
Your (polite) comments are welcome, below. Be as critical as you wish, but any unacceptable words/phrases will be removed.
All town and city centres need to adapt and evolve to survive the continuing effects of Covid-19. Ingenuity is now at a premium, being needed in copious amounts! The situation in Mill Road is essentially no different, in my opinion, from that in countless high streets throughout the country. Yes there is the particular difficulty due to changing use of the bridge, but now is the time to be proactive and use energies to change the approach.
It has gradually become apparent that a significant number of businesses along Mill Road rely, and have always relied, upon distribution networks which provide the major part of their trade incomes. Needless to say this style of business requires pick up and deposit of goods throughout their long opening hours, and necessitates continual parking on pavements and double yellow lines, a factor largely ignored and unenforced over the years! Even taxi drivers order their snacks, meals & drinks by phone and collect when parked illegally!
Yes the new situation at the bridge will cause disruption of tried and tested schemes, but surely these can be worked on and changed in thoughtful ways? The removal of through traffic should help with the parking required, but it is imperative the new road lay-out be installed quickly and efficiently, without undue delay. It should also be possible in future, for the County/City Councils to work together with Mill Road’s Traders, in a compromising way, to build trust, and move towards something of a consensus. An example of this could be the installation of a parking system at Gwydir Street, similar to the present one, but with a pre-programmed free period (say 30mins), to encourage short term use.
Of course Mill Road has fewer pedestrian shoppers at present, but this is not because of the bridge, it is because a large part of the population is in dread of Covid-19, fearful of walking out and entering stores. Having got used to ordering goods on the net, they will take a lot of encouragement to come out and about again.
This is not a problem unique to Mill Road, it applies everywhere, and can only be tackled successfully through imaginative advertising over time.
The only other way, it would appear, is for some businesses, which are little more than ‘warehouses with public access’, to move to industrial units on the outskirts, where overheads will be significantly less.