Local Election Hustings

Petersfield Hustings Sunday 25th & Monday 26th April 2021 – Call for Questions!

Graphic of ballot box with voting slip about to be inserted

There will be two zoom-based Petersfield Hustings, held on:

Those who live, work, volunteer or study in the Petersfield County Division and the Petersfield City Council Ward, are now warmly encouraged to send questions for the candidates standing for election, via email to petersfield.hustings@gmail.com


For full information on the four elections in the fifth month on the sixth day see Elections 4-5-6… and do check that you are registered to vote.

The government has confirmed that all EU citizens who are registered to vote in the UK will be able to vote and stand for election at these polls. For further details see Elections in 2021 on the Cambridge City Council website here.


Not sure if you live in Petersfield? It’s complicated. The Petersfield County Division and the City Council Ward are not coterminous. They are mainly the same, but differ around the edges. The map shown here originally, was for the City Council (only) up to the date of the election.

Click on the map to visit the City Council’s Ward Boundary Review page, and map.
Click on the map to visit the County Council’s My Cambridgeshire page

In order to generate the map, you will need to select the My Maps tab, then open the ‘Council and Democracy’ menu in the sidebar.


Those who live, work, volunteer or study in the Petersfield County Division and the Petersfield City Council Ward, are now warmly encouraged to send questions for the candidates standing for election, via email to petersfield.hustings@gmail.com

Similar questions will be merged & all questions will be edited to 50 words maximum. Issues will be ranked by their importance, interest to Petersfield ward and frequency of submission. 

The Petersfield Hustings website will offer: 

  •  Answers from the candidates to 6 introductory questions 
  •  Zoom details & instructions – plus Hustings procedures
  •  Hustings questions (incl. any that don’t fit into Hustings time)
  • Answers from the candidates to these extra questions 
  • Links to recordings of both live Hustings      

Questions for the County Hustings are encouraged on these public services:

  • adoption & fostering
  • care for  the vulnerable & elderly
  • education
  • libraries 
  • policing matters
  • parking issues
  • pavements & potholes
  • roads and traffic management
  • large-scale strategic planning
  • street lighting

Questions for the City Hustings are encouraged on these public services:

  • benefits
  • bins/recycling
  • City centre & Market Square
  • community centres/events
  • graffiti & litter
  • homelessness & housing
  • parks & open spaces
  • local planning
  • public toilets
  • refugee/asylum 
  • rivers/mooring
  • tree services

These Hustings are supported by:

These Hustings are being arranged by 

  • Piete Brooks (Hustings Technical Host)
  • Valerie Neal (Hustings Co-Host)
  • Helen Weinstein (Hustings Chair)

FotoDinkyMat Zapped by Aliens?

Following our earlier excitement at the mini photo-booth on Mill Road bridge and the community’s disappointment at reports that the photo-booth had been stolen, the community has rallied round. The Cambridge Independent asked for information…

… and Tara produced a poster.

Poster –Stolen: FotoDinkyMat
If found contact Cambridge Independent
Tara’s poster

Local artist Naomi Davies offered a print of her Dinky Doors painting as a reward for information leading to the safe return of the Mill Road PhotoDinkyMat.

Photo of Naomi Davies’ painting of Cambridge’s Dinky Doors
And Maurizio Dining offered free pizza

It seems, however, that all is not quite so simple…

Wreckage of the former booth has since been found on the pavement. When our web-editor visited today, he found a crime scene, where Dinky Constabulary’s DI Wallace and his colleague DDC* Gromit (both on secondment from Aardman Constabulary) were investigating.
* (Dog Detective Constable)

DDC Gromit (left) and DI Wallace at the crime scene
The same scene viewed from the Dinky Constabulary drone

DI Wallace and DDC Gromit refused to comment on speculation that the photo-booth had succumbed to alien attack. “We are keeping an open mind, and examining all of the evidence,” said DI Wallace, “however we regard the Melt-o 3000 as highly significant.”

A close-up view of the Melt-o 3000

Three teenagers who go by the collective name of ‘The Dolly Darlings’ were “shocked” to see the damage. “We were hoping to to get a set of photos for our PASS proof-of-age cards for when the pubs reopen, just in time for our 18th birthdays,” said Joanna Darling.

The Dolly Darlings. Left to right: Virginia, Veronica and Joanna

There are further reports on this mystery by Alya Zayed Senior reporter on the Cambridge News – New Dinky Door ‘crime scene’ appears in Cambridge after artwork stolen – and – By Alex Spencer of Cambridge Independent – Dinky Doors: the FotoDinkyMat has returned.

Investigations by Dinky Constabulary continue. Whilst there is a way to contribute financially to the work of Dinky Doors, here.

FotoDinkyMat comes to Mill Road Bridge

A mysterious new Dinky Door has arrived in Cambridge – a photo booth for tiny people. Read more on the Cambridge Independent website.

Mill Road bridge’s dinky door under investigation by K9
Three photos for 3p… if you’re small enough!
Photoshop processing department. Penny Plain: Tuppence Coloured
Essential maintenance: Wallace gives the booth a wipe down…
… whilst Gromit investigates the technical department.
Wallace prepares for his passport photo
Dinky Doors artwork stolen after just four days from Mill Road bridge in Cambridge

By Alex Spencer, in the Cambridge Independent, Friday 2nd April 2021 

Since the last update of this post, doubts have arisen about what really happened to the DinkyFotoMat. Read more: FotoDinkyMat Zapped by Aliens?

Beautiful Indian stonework under threat

Former Bharat Bhavan Temple carvings in old Mill Road Library “to be taken down and skipped”

Piero, Mill Road Traders Association Ambassador, writes…

I am launching an appeal to save this beautiful carved stone being skipped.

These pictures are from the former Bharat Bhavan Temple located in the Old Library on Mill Road.

Since the County Council got it back in its possession, there has been work set in progress to restore the fabric of the building, unfortunately all this carved stone is destined to be taken down to be skipped. I feel that this a completely sacrilegious act to destroy such beautiful work.

I believe it is worth at least £80,000 as it took thousands of hours of work from many sculptors from India and was shipped all the way to Cambridge.

I am appealing to Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to use those carved stones in a memorial, I already have in mind three locations in Mill Road where it could be placed as a memorial.

We must protect diversity and cultural identities in Mill Road. We haven’t got much time as work begins on Monday 29th March.

The cost for it to be taken down professionally and stored is only £3,000. Mill Road Traders Association can contribute part of the cost but we’d like the community to encourage the authorities to support this project. Mill Road Traders’ Association have also set up a crowdfunding page Save Bharat Bhavan carvings on Mill Road on GoFundMe with a target of £3,250.

If you would be interested in supporting us or have any questions or concerns please email millroadtraders@gmail.com.
Or phone/text/WhatsApp 07909 611 776.

Piero d’Angelico

Our Web Editor adds…
For those wishing to learn more about the background to the library, the temple and its repossession by Cambridgeshire County Council please read on and explore the links below.

The library was built by Cambridge City Council, but passed to the ‘new’ Cambridgeshire County Council under the two-tier reorganisation brought in by The Local Government Act 1972 on April Fool’s Day 1974.

Mill Road Library, from the Capturing Cambridge website

For a brief history of Mill Road Library, click the image above.


For how the reasons behind the County Council’s repossession and the current work, see Debbie Luxon’s report and Frank Gawthrop’s comments.

The 5000-strong Cambridge community fighting against eviction by Debbie Luxon, Community Reporter, Cambridge News, 12th October 2019.

The Indian community organisation that took over the library were granted a 25 year full repairing lease on a peppercorn rent in exchange for maintaining the building fabric. This building which is grade 2, listed was considered a financial liability to the County so this was seen as a zero cost way of maintaining the structure.

Unfortunately the lessees did not spend any money on external maintenance in 10 years allowing water to enter the building and cause extensive damage. The City Council which is responsible in law to ensure listed buildings do not fall into disrepair served notice on the County Council about the deteriorating state and the County sent in surveyors who have estimated the repairs to be in the region of £300,000.

The community association having had free rent declined to pay so the County obtained a court order to regain possession. They may have spent a lot of money on carved statues but they have left local council tax payers with a huge bill.

The lease was held by a company limited by guarantee. This is a fairly usual way that community groups take on financial obligations as it protects the members from any personal claims.

Having cost local tax payers in the region of £300,000 I, for one, think enough public money has been spent already on this failed project. If private individuals want to contribute that is fine and appropriate. If these carvings are valuable they are the property of the company limited by guarantee which leased the building. What are the directors doing about this?

Frank Gawthrop, on Nextdoor.

Elections 4-5-6…

Four elections in the fifth month on the siXth day…

image of ballot box bearing the word 'vote'

Cambridge will next go to the polls on Thursday 6th May 2021, to vote in four different elections.

The government has confirmed that all EU citizens who are registered to vote in the UK will be able to vote and stand for election at these polls. For further details see Elections in 2021 on the Cambridge City Council website here.

Deadlines for May 2021 elections
  • Friday 9 April: Candidates announced
  • Monday 19 April, 11.59pm: Deadline to register to vote
  • Tuesday 20 April, 5pm: Deadline to apply for a postal vote
  • Tuesday 27 April, 5pm: Deadline to apply for a proxy vote
Are you registered to vote?

If you’re not yet registered to vote, it’s time to rectify that, especially if you’re a local resident who frequently debates some of the hot topics of local concern, in comments on this website, or on social media. And why not check that your neighbours, family and friends are also registered to vote?

Has someone new moved into your street? Why not pop round and let them know when bin days are and how to get residents’ and visitors’ parking permits, and, check they know how to register to vote, online?

Will it be safe to go to the polling station?

Cambridge City Council are working to make sure that polling stations will be Covid-secure for polling day, with measures in place to ensure you and the polling staff remain safe. (Read more.)

Could postal voting be more convenient?

You can vote from the comfort and safety of your own home. Postal votes are available for anyone who would prefer to vote that way. Full details can be found on the Electoral Commission website. And don’t forget to send your vote in early! If you’re concerned about the risks of voting in person at a polling station this could be the solution for you. You can also apply for a proxy vote, where you ask somebody else to vote for you.

Does your friend or neighbour work irregular hours, which might make voting in person difficult? Could your cousin, who delivers goods all across the country, be stuck all day at customs in Stranraer, or in lorry-park in Kent? Encourage them to register for a postal vote.

And, don’t forget, every resident who doesn’t vote, hands greater influence to those people who always vote.
And their preferred candidates might not be yours…

What elections are happening?
  1. Cambridge City Council elections
  2. Cambridgeshire County Council elections
  3. Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner election
  4. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor election
And what do these all do?
  1. The city council are responsible for planning, building more council homes for rent, for emptying the bins, cleaning the streets, helping homeless people off the street, and much more.

    The whole city council must be re-elected. (It’s usually only one-third of the council each year, but some ward boundaries have changed.) Each ward has three councillors. You have three votes which can all be for the same party or split according to which candidates you think will do the best job. You cannot list them as 1st, 2nd 3rd choice.

    The current city council has a Labour majority, with a sizeable Liberal Democrat opposition. For many years there has not been a single Conservative elected to the city council.
  2. The county council is responsible for fixing the roads, filling the potholes, schools, libraries, children’s services, adult social care, the fire service (through the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority) and much more. The county council have responsibility for the current restrictions on Mill Road bridge. They also have (currently unused) powers to introduce penalties for drivers who block the pavements outside of Mill Road’s shops.

    The whole of the county council is re-elected every four years. Each division has one councillor. You can vote for one candidate. You cannot list a 2nd choice.

    The current county council has a Conservative majority, with the Liberal Democrats forming the main opposition. For many years there has not been a single Conservative elected to the county council, from within the city’s boundaries.
  3. The Police and Crime Commissioner has responsibility for oversight of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

    You can vote for two candidates: your 1st choice and, if you wish, a 2nd choice. This means that you can vote for the candidate you really want, and use your 2nd choice to help block the candidate you really don’t want.
  4. The mayor of the Combined Authority, works with our local councils, the Business Board (Local Enterprise Partnership), local public services, Government departments and agencies, universities and businesses to grow the local and national economy. The Combined Authority has taken over from the county council as transport authority. The mayor has powers under the Bus Services Act 2017 to improve bus services.

    You can vote for two candidates: your 1st choice and, if you wish, a 2nd choice. This means that you can vote for the candidate you really want, and use your 2nd choice to help block the candidate you really don’t want.
Isn’t this all rather complicated? And what about the Greater Cambridge Partnership?

Yes it is complicated, even more than you might think. And you don’t get a direct vote to the Greater Cambridge Partnership, the local councillors who you elect appoint decide which of them will sit on the board.

Venn diagram showing overlapping local government responsibilities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

And, if you’re considering ignoring these elections as ‘unimportant’ or because ‘I don’t know enough about the’, let us reiterate…
Every resident who doesn’t vote, hands greater influence to those people who always vote.
And their preferred candidates might not be yours…


There have been a number of controversies concerning Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Greater Cambridge Partnership, the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner in particular. These have been covered in local press, TV and radio reports, with some reaching the national press. As a non-aligned community group it is probably inappropriate for us to air these ourselves.

But this doesn’t apply to our readers and followers. Our comments section, below, is open to you. We will not, however, allow libellous allegations and, to protect yourself, you would be well advised to link to an on-line newspaper report.

How to Research Your House, Street and Area Histories in the Archives

Helen Weinstein’s Talk for Cambridge Festival

Helen Weinstein, as Community Historian for IronWorks (former Mill Road Depôt) showcases sources from Sturton Town in Cambridge telling stories of working class residents from the Victorian Era onwards.

Outdoor water-closet

In this illustrated talk Helen Weinstein, Public Historian & Director of HistoryWorks, will be introducing a wide range of local history sources and their stories from the Area known as ‘Sturton Town’ in Victorian times which is located just off Mill Road in Cambridge covering Gwydir, Kingston, Sturton, Sleaford, Hooper & Ainsworth Streets.

Signatures of Sturton Town residents, 1879

Based on her recent research Helen will be sharing the stories of Resident occupations from the census in Victorian times and revealing sources in the Archives & material objects in the Museum of Cambridge.

Helen will show participants how to find out about properties and the environment of Victorian Cambridge using well known sources like the 1891 census and the trade directories, sharing examples of the range of stories in newspaper and photography archives at the Cambridgeshire Collection. 

Deed for the Hooper Street / Ainsworth Street corner property
The property today, formerly Sarah Scarr’s corner shop

Helen also has considerable experience of maps and manuscript sources, and will show histories revealed when you dig deeper into the Cambridgeshire Archives with fascinating stories about the allotments, commons and parks, public health and sanitation, pub and brewery licensing, workhouse and charitable committees to illuminate the hidden histories of individual Victorian streets and their residents.

Q&A

Bring your questions to the zoom event if you wish. The talk will be hosted by Lucy Walker, Chair of Trustees at the Museum of Cambridge; and Helen & Lucy invite you to ask questions in response to the talk, as well as to share photos, objects or paperwork you’ve found associated with your own house history!

Local history film

If you wish to view an introductory film with a tour of the local history of Sturton Town, presented and produced by Helen Weinstein, click here or on the image above.

Donations

The Museum of Cambridge is in need of your help. This event is free to attend, but we’d be so grateful if you can offer a donation of any size to support us to secure our future. Once you have secured your ticket via Eventbrite, you can donate to the museum here.

SIGN-UP NOW TO RECEIVE AN EMAIL LINK INVITE TO THIS FREE ZOOM TALK:

LINK TO MUSEUM OF CAMBRIDGE ARTEFACTS & ‘FORGE’ EXHIBITION ONLINE

This event partners the Museum of Cambridge, where Helen Weinstein has co-curated an Exhibition called “Forge” alongside local residents in Sturton Town led by Artist in Resident at IronWorks, Hilary Cox Condron; which we invite Cambridge Residents to view online at our exhibition website here.

TO SEE THE EVENTS AT THE ‘FESTIVAL OF CAMBRIDGE’ RUNNING FROM 26TH MARCH TO 4TH APRIL 2021 CLICK HERE.

Co-op Alcohol Licence?

Former Sally Ann shop on Mill Road

The Co-operative have submitted an application for an alcohol off-licence at their new store on the site of the former Salvation Army shop at 44A Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2AS.

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

The application is listed on the Cambridge City Council website, here.
Full details may be found here.

Petersfield Labour Councillors, Richard Robertson and Mike Davey (City Council) and Linda Jones (County Council) have recently leafleted the streets around Cambridge’s Mill Road in the Petersfield ward (city side of the bridge) urging resident to object to the granting of this licence.

We believe there are already sufficient alcohol outlets on Mill Road, and that more would increase the likelihood of problematic street drinking in the area.

During the pandemic, we have managed to provide accommodation through the City Council for many people who have addiction and drink issues, which will hopefully aid their rehabilitation. However, this may not be effective for everyone longer term. […]

It’s important we don‘t return to the situation we had not so long ago with large groups of people drinking and being aggressive on Mill Road.

A few years ago, together with local residents, we managed to get Mill Road designated as a ‘Cumulative Impact Zone’ to stop any further off-licences being approved. Recently, this designation has been used to reject several applications for off-licences. The City Council has just reviewed and reconfirmed the Cumulative Impact Zone for Mill Road. Read/download the PDF here.

Some may feel that as the Co-op is likely to be a well-managed, large store it may justify having a licence. However, approving this licence will set a precedent. If it is approved, then other shops that have tried to get licences in the past and were rejected due to the Cumulative impact Zone would reapply and they would probably be approved.

We would urge everyone to continue to object to more alcohol outlets on Mill Road.

Petersfield Labour Councillors

An image of their full letter to residents can be viewed/downloaded here.


And what do the Co-op say to justify their alcohol licence? How do they intend to protect the Mill Road community?

The applicant has given thought to the potential impact of the grant of this application on the four licensing objectives and having regarding to the locality, the fact that the premises falls within the cumulative impact area of Cambridge City Council and discussions and agreement with the Police, considers that the following conditions are appropriate.

The hours during which alcohol is sold on the premises shall be 11:00 to 20:00 Monday to Sunday inclusive. There shall be a minimum of 2 Personal Licence holders employed at the premises. A Security Guard (SIA registered) shall be deployed at the premises during the hours when alcohol is permitted to be sold.

There shall be no sale of beer, lager or cider with an ABV content of 5.5% or above except for specialist branded premium priced products or products agreed by the Police. A maximum of 10% of the trading area of the store shall be used for the display of alcohol at any time.

There shall be no advertising of alcohol products in either the shop front windows or the exterior of the premises. Members of staff and security staff employed at the premises will not knowingly permit entry to the premises to anyone who is intoxicated. 

Co-operative Group Food Limited

Full details of the application and the Co-op’s proposed conditions may be found here.


Many readers will recall that Sainsbury’s were successful in their application for an alcohol licence in their 78/80 Mill Road Cambridge CB1 2AS.

This is rather different as, when they took over the store from the previous trader, a premises licence was already in place. A revocation of a licence, when a responsible multiple trader with a reputation at stake was taking over would have been difficult. However, as a result of representations from local residents, limitations were imposed of the hours for alcohol sales. Those restrictions are in line with those proposed by the Co-op for their new premises.

Some residents may feel that it would be inequitable for the mutually-owned Co-op to be trading at a disadvantage to their plc neighbours, Sainsbury’s.

Whatever your view, Mill Road Bridges are here to inform you. You can oppose or support this application by emailing licensing@cambridge.gov.uk. Please ensure that Co-opertive store 44A Mill Road Cambridge CB1 2AS in in the subject line. If you use this link, the subject line will be completed for you, in most email systems. Your email must reach Cambridge City Council’ licensing department by 23rd March 2021.

You may leave comments below, but these cannot be taken into account by the City Council’s licensing committee.

Northpole Ice Rink and Fair

Planning application for 5-year extension

Photo of entrance to the Northpole site
Entrance [Photo credit thenorthpolecambridge.co.uk]

To renew the installation of a temporary real-ice ice rink with viewing platform and back-of-house/plant area; a family entertainment area with children’s rides & food concessions; and a christmas market with stalls & concessions, to one quadrangle of Parkers Piece.

Wording of planning application

You can see see the full details here on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning portal.

Photo Skating on the rink
Skating on the rink [Photo credit thenorthpolecambridge.co.uk]

Whilst the planning portal lists the ‘Neighbour Consultation Expiry Date’ as Wednesday 24th February 2021, the portal appears to remain open for comments at the date of posting, with the latest comments dated 15th March 2021. The Cambridge City Council Planning meeting at which this application will be considered is scheduled for Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 10.00 am.


What do Mill Road people think?

One local resident emailed us saying:

The Fair and Ice rink will run from 1st November to 31st January. That’s three months of repetitive loud Christmas music and high-pitched screams.

For local residents, hotel guests and students it’s extremely annoying especially for those now working from home. It will also be bigger this time (see application plan online). The organisers also pay a fraction of the rent which Mill Road’s traders pay. They have a Christmas market and food outlets that takes business away from local shops and cafés.

It also badly damages the grass: 14 months after the last North Pole nearly a fifth of Parker’s Piece still hasn’t recovered and that’s despite the council treating the area with new soil and grass seed last summer. It would obviously be a lot worse if the event had gone ahead at Christmas 2020. The area is not fit for its intended purpose – football, social gatherings, boot camps, etc – and looks and feels like scrubland.

This historic City park deserves better care.

Elsa, local resident

Elsa illustrated her objection with photographs. There are shown in the slideshow below.

Whereas a local trader wrote to us in support:

I am always cheered when I see the funfair there in the depths of winter. Seeing and hearing young people having fun is wonderful.

No-one would be using that bit of park in the depths of winter and, in any case, there is still loads more space to use. Presumably the larger and longer the attraction, the more money that goes into the council’s coffers.

I am in favour of the winter attraction in its larger, longer state.

Eileen, local trader

Here are a flavour of the comments on the planning portal.

The North Pole is not in keeping with the area and the direction in which the area is set to develop in, nor does it truly add to any Christmas spirit. In fact it is quite an eyesore.

There are other opportunities that could generate revenue for the council in a way, that is not as damaging to the environment and disruptive to the public, and would also be adding value to the city and community and liven up the park during the festive period.

St Pauls Walk resident

The ice rink on Parker’s piece is a very good thing for all of Cambridge. Children and young people deserve to be able to have some fun. It was sadly missed 2020 so it will be great to have it back 2021/22.

Mill Road resident

I object to this proposal because it is a poor use of what is normally a lovely open space. The noise it generates is awful – endless generators, music from the rides etc etc. Now more than ever, we need a peaceful environment in which to live and work – I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be to live closer than we do. 

It also totally destroys the grass, year after year. It never really recovers (the space where it was 2 years ago is now still mainly weeds). Local residents so value the ability to walk over the park, but it’s awful when it’s all mud, as it is for months after (& during – gets so muddy around the installation).

Nothing should be allowed to remain on the site for more than a few days (normal fairs/ concerts/ gigs are great – an excellent use of the space! ) but this lasts for months on end. It’s too long. People need to use the grass for sport and recreation and this Ice Rink prevents a good deal of that.

Please don’t allow this planning permission to be accepted.

Lyndewode Road resident

This application is for 3 months of the year. There are other various events which may amount to another couple of months making ~ 5 all told. Parker’s Piece needs be left clear and open. That was its reason for existence.

Equally, there is no doubt a reason for its creeping closure – profit. No doubt Star Radio and the Council coffers do not have to bear the consequences such as increased parking pressure in the area as people try to avoid paying car park charges, increased noise and occasionally an increase in local law-breaking. I suggest the creeping closure of Parker’s Piece be halted. Use other venues (e.g. Newmarket Road for a rink?)

Guest Road resident

It used to be relatively charming – a small ice rink where you could go with the children for a pre-Christmas skate to get into the spirit of Christmas & perhaps get a cup of coffee afterwards. However, over the past couple of years it has been allowed to expand physically, as well as in terms of time, and is now enormous and totally ruins the atmosphere of Parkers Piece for the majority of us, attracting light pollution, noise, litter and antisocial behaviour.

It is allowed to run for weeks and weeks and Parkers Piece and its residents/visitors have to bear the scars for many months afterwards. It totally ruins the enjoyment of what is supposed to be a haven in the middle of an already very busy, congested city.

Out-of-city (Withersfield) resident

To to view all comments – and add your own, for or against – visit the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning portal and enter 20/03552/FUL in the search box. (The portal’s reCAPTCHA setting prevents direct access to individual applications.)


You are welcome to leave comments at the foot of this post, but nothing published on this website will be taken into consideration at the Cambridge City Council Planning meeting at which this application will be considered, on Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 10.00 am.

Faraj’s Kitchen

Faraj’s story

Faraj Alnasser is a Syrian refugee who lives with a local family, off Cambridge’s Mill Road, who have taken care of him like a son. “Cambridge has become a home for me, because of this very kind family,” Faraj told us by email.

At just 14 years old, while Faraj’s family were refugees in Egypt, following an insurmountable family rift, Faraj left his family and made his way back to Syria, where he found his former family home bombed out. 

After spells in Iraq, in Syria (again) and Turkey (where Faraj learned Turkish) he took the bus to Sofia, Bulgaria, followed a circuitous route through Austria and Germany, finally reaching the Channel coast, where he escaped to the UK by hiding in a refrigerated lorry, in which he nearly died from hyperthermia.

Faraj has now been living in the UK for over 5 years.

In 2016, following a spell in a refugee holding centre, Faraj was offered accommodation by a local family, has learned English at a local language school, and developed his cookery skills.

Faraj’s kitchen
image with link to download Faraj's menu
Click the image to view/download the full menu

Faraj has been cooking at Honey and Co, after training at Ottolenghi in London. Thanks to lockdown – a very small silver lining – Faraj is now back in Cambridge and has started cooking his delicious Middle Eastern food for delivery to your house.

The menu includes some old favourites – after eating real Aleppo hummus you will never be satisfied by supermarket hummus again – and some less familiar dishes from his mother’s kitchen in Syria. All the dishes are from local ingredients and everything is vegetarian or vegan – and wonderful.

Bread – including challah and pittas – is freshly baked, and if you have never had pistachio challah, it is very highly recommended, for Shabbat or any day.

Click here to read/download Faraj’s winter menu.

We hope Mill Road’s Community of Communities will support Faraj. Email your order from Faraj’s Kitchen at cheffaraj95@gmail.com or phone 07523 832050 to order.

We welcome Faraj’s contribution to the abundance of worldwide authentic food to be found along Cambridge’s Mill Road. Why order from a mundane multiple? Mill Road can offer much better than their banal burgers and prosaic pizzas!

Census: Count Me In

Census day is 21st March 2021.

But you can fill in the Census 2021 online as soon as your pack, with your access code, has dropped onto your doormat. And you can still do it for a while afterwards.

By taking part and encouraging others to do the same, you’ll help make sure our community gets the services it needs.

poster linking census to environment

Cambridge City Council and Mill Road Bridges are supporting Census 2021 because we want all parts of our diverse ‘Community of Communities’ to be recognised in Office for National Statistics figures; for Cambridge’s population to be reflected for what it is, a vibrant and unique place; and for our local councils to get the funding local people need.

poster linking census to education

The Census is online by default and now most households will now have received a Census 2021 pack with their access code.

If someone you know has difficulty getting online, contact the local Support Centre on 01223 300407 or by email at help@cambridgeonline.org.uk for support.

You can also ask for help from the Office for National Statistics Contact centre helpline0800 141 2021, or the Language helpline – 0800 587 2021 (open 8am to 8pm during the week and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays).

If you know anyone who needs a paper copy of the Census form, you can request a paper copy of the Census form here.

And, if you are a student in Cambridge, and you’re Right here, Right now (cheesy old skool ref) make sure that you complete the census, too.

poster to remind students to fill in the census