Mill Road Bridge bus gate opinion survey

Cambridge Labour Party have published a short survey to measure public opinions about the future of Mill Road.

view of Mill Road Bridge artwork
Image: Over Mill Road Bridge

Whilst Mill Road Bridges have no political affiliations, we would be wrong not to draw this survey to local residents’ attention. It is noteworthy that the Vice-Chair of the Cambridgeshire County Council Highways and Transportation Committee is now Councillor Gerri Bird (Labour, Chesterton Division). It would seem likely that Councillor Bird will have the results of the survey drawn to her attention.

Please fill it in – the result is likely to influence the way that Labour councillors vote in the Highways Committee on this issue.

Cambridge Labour

If, however, you would prefer to contact your local Cambridgeshire County Councillor directly their contact details may be found here:

This blogpost is also open for (polite) comments. We will contact Councillors Howitt and Shailer to ask that they monitor the post for comments, though we cannot guarantee that your comments will be seen, councillors being busy people not full-time public employees.

Bridge Protest

Cambridge Independent report – in the 14th July2021 edition – that campaigners connected to Mill Road Traders’ Association intend to ‘block the bridge completely’ on the morning of Saturday 24th July.

Piero d’Angelico is quoted as saying, “We will block the whole bridge and not even a bus will be allowed through this time.”

A protest in summer 2020 against the restrictions on Mill Road bridge (Image: Local Democracy Reporter, on the Cambridge News website)

Read the full report Blockade plan for protest on Mill Road bridge in Cambridge By Alex Spencer on the Cambridge Independent website.


Piero d’Angelico was approached for further details. He issued this statement:

We are finalising some posters with information, we will come back to you shortly.

Piero d’Angelico, Ambassador, Mill Road Traders’ Association

The anonymous Don’t Kill Mill Road Facebook page has these details and the accompanying image:

Last ditch attempt to try and persuade councillors to reopen Mill Road bridge to cars is being organised by the Mill Road traders whose livelihoods have been affected by the closure.

Show your support for Local independent shops and join them on the 24th July 2021 @ 11am – 2pm.

Also, please complete this survey set up by Cambridge Labour to gauge public opinion https://www.cambridgelabour.org.uk/mill-road-questionnaire/

Mill Road independent shops are at risk of closure if this bridge continues to be closed. Please share this event with your friends and family members.

Don’t Kill Mill Road Facebook page
Image with date and time as in quote, above

It is not known whether the protesters will attempt to physically prevent pedestrians and cyclists from using the bridge, or only the limited range of vehicles currently permitted to use the bridge.

These details are published here to enable those who support the aims of the protesters to join the protest. If you oppose the protesters, it might be better to avoid the bridge at the time of the protest and make your feelings known elsewhere.


This post is open for (polite) comments, whatever your view.

Mill Road – The Future

Is the Mill Road community an undifferentiated block, who agree on everything? Far from it. That’s why we adopted (borrowed) the phrase Community of Communities. Gather half-a-dozen Mill Roaders in a meeting and you’ll generate a score of differing opinions.


We are pleased to see the establishment of a new website and group trying to create a positive vision for the future of Mill Road.

Mill Road – A Street for People is a group of Cambridge residents working on a non-partisan basis to seek consensus to get the best Mill Road for everyone.

Note Mill Road – A Street for People is not controlled by, nor aligned to Mill Road Bridges. We exist to foster debate about Mill Road and will draw attention to all websites, protests, opinion surveys and events concerning Mill Road which come to our attention, on whatever ‘side’ of any ‘argument’ they stand.

Photo of cyclist crossing Mill Road Bridge

It is a site which hosts a variety of (sometimes overlapping, sometimes conflicting) ideas.

This post is open to (polite) comments, and so is Mill Road – A Street for People.

There are endless discussions on Nextdoor, Facebook and Twitter, but not everyone has (or wants) an account on those social media. This site is open to all, as is Mill Road – A Street for People.


And what of the future?

Since June 2020 there have been restrictions on what traffic can lawfully use Mill Road Bridge – see Wider footways, barriers and bridge restrictions. Some claim that the restrictions are ‘killing’ Mill Road. Others point to the new businesses starting up in Mill Road as signs of change and growth. These include the Harvest Organic Supermarket, and the Eclipse Bakery on Romsey Broadway; whilst, on the Petersfield (city) side, Finn Boys Fish Butchery restaurant, a new Co-op, The Lads Piri-Piri, and another restaurant – Fancett’s – at 96A (Fabio’s former premises) have recently opened or are about to open.

Image street sign
MILL ROAD OPEN
SHOPS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
BRIDGE CLOSED TO THROUGH TRAFFIC
(EXCEPT FOR BUSES AND CYCLES)

Some want all restrictions on bridge traffic removed, to bring ‘passing trade’ back to Mill Road. Others insist that passing motor-traffic is just that. Passing. Not stopping. Not shopping. Would the return of the previous traffic congestion, air pollution and road traffic accidents be worth it for the alleged benefits to traders?

Can compromises be found?

Limited taxi access over the bridge? All taxis? Even the Wolverhampton-registered private hire vehicles operating in Cambridge?

Access for Blue Badge holders? Difficult as the Blue Badge is a parking permit, linked to an individual (driver or passenger) not a vehicle. But could a means be found?

Delivery vehicles to traders? Which ones? What times?

Some blame any drop in trade to the current restrictions on Mill Road Bridge, while others point out that Covid-related restrictions on shopping, eating out, and socialising have hit businesses across the city and the country.

Many have pointed out that it wasn’t traffic restrictions which led to the demise of the once mighty Cambridge and District Co-operative Society, nor to the failure of BHS, Debenhams, Top Shop, and many more; that every High Street, including Mill Road, has had changes of shops.

Doreen’s – The noted shop for coats – is long gone. As shopping preferences change, so do the shops.

Photo of former shop on Mill Road, Doreen's coats
Doreen’s – Courtesy of the Suzy Oakes Collection

To get a flavour of earlier discussions see the links at the foot of this post.


Let’s get the debate progressing.

This post is open to (polite) comments, and so is Mill Road – A Street for People.


And now for something completely different (but related)

Have you ever wondered why Mill Road has become the lucky host to Cambridge Central Mosque?

Could it be that, just as half-a-dozen Mill Roaders will generate a score of differing opinions. That’s exactly the same for Muslims?

Listen to Baroness Sayeeda Warsi on the subject of the ‘Muslim community’.

“You want to talk to me about Muslims, as if somehow they’re just one big monolithic block? You get two Muslims in a room you get six opinions.”

Sayeeda Warsi on Channel 4’s Stand Up and Deliver

If you haven’t seen the two programmes, they are well worth a watch, with (spoiler alert) Sayeeda Warsi a worthy winner, and Rev Richard Coles a commendable runner-up.

No wonder the Cambridge Central Mosque was built on Mill Road – an ideal place for a beautiful building and a continuing debate about the best future for the ‘Mill Road community’.


See also:

Mill Road’s December Sparkle!

Lantern Trail and Online Fair replace the traditional Mill Road Winter Fair

By Kate Collins, Love Mill Road

This year, a sparkling celebration of Mill Road will unfold throughout December. The talents and diversity of the local community will shine online from 1st December with the launch of Mill Road Fair Online, which offers the chance to watch some of the Fair’s favourite performers and buy locally produced and beautifully hand-crafted gifts. From Saturday 5th December, the Mill Road Lantern Trail will light up shops and cafés along the street, while an accompanying history trail will provide fascinating stories about a number of Mill Road’s best-loved buildings.

Click the map image to view/download a printable PDF of the Lantern Trail

Mill Road Fair Online offers a selection of familiar stalls and much-loved performers as well as an exhibition of local artists, plus videos and activities from many of our partner organisations, including University of Cambridge Museums, Mill Road TV, Cambridge Hands-On Science, The Junction, Mill Road History Society, Mill Road Bridges, and more. This ‘virtually brilliant’ fair means you can support local businesses and stallholders this Christmas by visiting Mill Road Winter Fair.

As lockdown ends, you can follow the Mill Road Lantern Trail in person to explore Cambridge’s most diverse, vibrant and independent shopping street. Ten beautifully crafted community lanterns, inspired by ideas and images gathered from residents in the streets off Mill Road, will be displayed in ten shops and businesses along the road. The lanterns, created by local illustrator, designer and artist Penny Sobr, will be illuminated over 15 days from Saturday 5th December, the day when the Mill Road Winter Fair would have taken place. Further lanterns for other streets and shops are planned for next year, which will all be brought together within community lantern parades at future Winter Fairs.

A stunning illustrated map (viewable/downloadable, here) of the Lantern Trail by Anna Betts brings Mill Road to life, marking the location of each lantern and highlighting some of the fascinating and unknown history of buildings and places along the road.

The Mill Road Lantern Trail is the first project funded through the support of a new charity, Love Mill Road, which has been set up to provide a secure, sustainable channel for donations that support the Mill Road Winter Fair and other community projects in the Mill Road area. Click the image below to find out more and donate to support future projects. Cambridge City Council and Anglia Ruskin University have provided additional sponsorship for the Lantern Trail.

Click the image to visit Love Mill Road to find out more and donate to support future projects.

For more information about Mill Road Fair Online, and the trails contact Kate Collins, Chair, Mill Road Winter Fair Committee.

Mill Road Winter Fair is completely run by volunteers, who are always looking for new members to join the friendly, supportive group of people who make this amazing event happen each year. To be part of next year’s adventure, contact volunteers@millroadwinterfair.org.

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

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.


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.


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.