By Dave Baigent, City Councillor for Romsey
The last few days has seen more devastating news for people in the retail sector. More shops are closing in the city centre and this means hundreds, if not thousands of people are losing their jobs. Debenhams is perhaps our biggest casualty so far and these closures point to how much the lack of footfall in the city impacts on the retail market as people work from home. As Covid-19 ends, it is unlikely that working from home will stop. More likely that people will commute some days and work from home on others. The world has changed and this provides a huge opportunity for the traders locally.
There are around 20,000 residents in Romsey, Petersfield and Coleridge who live within a short distance of their local shops. There are over 54 traders on Mill Road who sell food to eat on their premises. As the risk from Covid-19 recedes the opportunity exists for them to attract people who work from home to venture out for a break. The provision shops on our road can also reach out to capture this new market. So too can the hairdressers. At the same time other shops can benefit from this passing trade.
From my position on the Greater Cambridge Partnership, I am able to confirm that Mill Road will soon be a destination highlighted for visitors who arrive at the station: a through route on foot to the city. Traders can react to this and encourage these visitors; it may even be possible to make Mill Road a destination in its own right for visitors to our city. This could also add to the growing night time economy on our road.
Three new shops have opened in as many weeks on Mill Road. Romsey now has a flower shop that deliver flowers by cycle. A baker that sells ‘home-made’ bread and cakes. And yesterday an organic supermarket for food and drinks opened. These are entirely new ventures, and these new traders can obviously see a future in opening here.
There has always been a churn in the shops on Mill Road and, in some ways, this is part of its character as Mill Road adapted to local need. Change, too, is offered by the restrictions on the bridge. Pollution has fallen through the floor, the noise has reduced and it is now so safe that you see parents with their young children cycling over the bridge. Some cafés have extended their services by providing some tables on their shopfront.
This month you have the opportunity to comment on the restriction on the bridge in the County Council’s consultation. A positive outcome will result in the restriction being extended. Then local groups and councillors will be able to negotiate further improvements. At the top of my list it to find a way to support blue badge holders and a close second is to get the plastic bollards taken away, pavements to be widened and for the greening of our road by the provision of raised flower beds similar to those we provided outside the Co-op.
To help people consider the advantages offered by continued ‘restriction’, Over Mill Road Bridge [A separate site with no connection to Mill Road Bridges _Ed] has provided a list of some of the pluses and some comment that you may wish to use if you have yet to fill in the consultation. Why not look at them, here, and see if there are any ideas that you may wish to use?
Take care as Covid-19 is likely to remain a real threat for some time. At the same think about how the world has now changed and how you may contribute to the way our community develops.
Thanks for reading this. If you have any questions then please email me at email@example.com.
Mill Road Bridges Web-Editor adds…
You can participate in the Mill Road Consultation, online, through clicking this link.
If you, or someone you know, would like a paper copy of the Cambridgeshire County Council consultation document telephone 0345 0455212 to have paper copies posted to you.
Survey participants often complain that the questions asked do not enable them to fully express their views. If you feel that way, you could set your views out clearly in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, for those without an internet connection or email account, you can communicate in the traditional way, by writing to:
Policy and Regulation Team
Mark your letter “Mill Road railway bridge ETRO consultation.”
Readers may also be interested in these items:
- The long list of positive suggestions suggested by Martin L-S
- The personal view of Mill Road Bridges’s Web-Editor on pavement parking
- National Pavement Parking Ban?
- Ideas for future Mill Road prosperity
- New petition from Mill Road Traders’ Association
- James Youd’s petition: Stop Road Closures – Cut Cambridge congestion through action
- Ruth Greene’s Blue Badge petition
- Rashel Mohammed’s petition: Allow taxis to go, where buses go