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.

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 .


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:

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

Super Matt says Save St Matthew’s Piece!

Friends of St Matthew’s Piece have a new supporter – Super Matt the Super Squirrel in their campaign to protect their small Petersfield park.

Super Matt the Super Squirrel says, "Help! It's landing on the Piece! Your park needs you!"
Click on Super Matt to visit his Facebook page

Developers want to build a block of student flats that will crouch over the former Howard Mallett Centre like a spaceship landing.

Image of the proposed development.

The campaign’s new character Super Matt the Super Squirrel lives in one of the trees that will be destroyed if the developers get their way. He is warning neighbours in Petersfield about the threat.

And he’s urging them to sign up for the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporters’ email list. This will help co-ordinate community action when the developers put in their planning application.

“We want our beautiful trees, not a hulking block of flats,” says Janet Wright, of Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

“Petersfield has less public open space than any other part of Cambridge, and very few trees. We can’t afford to lose any.”

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


This post is open for (polite) comments.
But this is not an alternative way of contacting Friends of St Matthew’s Piece!


Mill Road Bridge – Disentangling the issues

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Adverse effect on traders. This can be linked to 1. above but does not affect 2.
  5. 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.

Nina Lübbren, Romsey


See also:


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.


Protest Walk

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.

Poster text:

ARE YOU UPSET BY
MILL ROAD BRIDGE CLOSURE
AND UBSTRUCTIUNS?
EN0UGH TALK!

WALK THE WALK WITH us
THIS SATURDAY. 1 AUGUST 2020
Peaceful & distanced stroll up Mill Road.
across the Bridge. and back
Please gather at 12 noon — Petersfield Play Area
(across from Donkey Common)
This poster has been appearing in the windows of some Mill Road traders

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.

Kind Regards,

K[…] N[…]

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.”


We are happy to publish your (polite) opinions on the Mill Road traffic-reduction measures and associated restrictions on the railway bridge, in the comments section of the Wider footways, barriers and bridge restrictions post. The How is it working so far… post is also open for comments.


Interestingly, in addition to a leaflet from the ‘ad hoc committee of Romsey and Petersfield residents’ (see poster above) a leaflet expressing opposing views from Cambridge Cycling Campaign (CamCycle) based on this post – Camcycle repeats call to county to fast-track improvements on Mill Road – on their website appeared on our web-editor’s doormat on Friday 31st July.

The leaflet also referenced a recent letter to Cllr Ian Bates, Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee. See below.

Click on the image to read/download the full 3-page PDF letter.

This post is also open for comments, but please limit these to this protest walk (ahead of the walk, during the walk, or afterwards).

If you have photographs to accompany your comments, please email them to us, from the same email address which you used for your comment.


See also:


Mill Road Bridge – Blue Badge Petition

Romsey resident, Ruth Greene, has started this petition.

To allow Blue Badge holders have access over Mill Road Bridge, Cambridge

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.

Ruth Greene, Romsey Resident

Click here to go to the petition and decide whether to support Ruth.


See also these related items:


This post is not open for comments. Signatories to Ruth’s petition can leave them with their vote.

Comments on this website could be left below one of these posts.



Petition: Allow taxis to go, where buses go

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.

Rashel Mohammed

Click here to see the full petition, and decide if you wish to sign.


Don’t forget: If you have a petition about any aspect of Mill Road, let us know and we’ll usually be happy to link to it.


You can also add your (polite) comments below, or in the comments section of the Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure post or the How is it working so far… post.

See also:


Ideas for future Mill Road prosperity

A (second) personal view from Edward Jenkins

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.)

The Milly Card was an initiative of the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign to promote independent businesses

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.

Edward Jenkins


You can read Edward Jenkins’ previous post Current Trading Problems in Mill Road here.


See also:


Your (polite) responses are also welcome in the comments section below.