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.


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.



Covid-related poems from E.L.Jenkins

VIRUS

(4th March 2020)

Here’s a tongue in cheek, somewhat poetic-licensed view of our current situation and what it may be like when we emerge from it at the ‘other end’.

ELJ 

We can have ‘Corona’ today,
The ‘Corona Man’ is on his way.
Lime’s my fave, but Raspberry’s ok,
And ‘Cream Soda’ though extra to pay!

Now ‘Corona’ when it’s heard
Has become a feared word!
Deadly, spreading across the World,
Millions to die! But surely absurd?

Stocks and shares to collapse,
‘Advanced Capitalism’ too, perhaps!
Community then will mean a lot,
Bartering to live, using one’s stock.

Whoever survives will be immune,
A New World System can emerge.
People will matter, everyone the same,
No elitism, no meritocracy, certainly no fame!

The old and young will have died,
Middle-aged will try to stem the tide
They’ll strive to procreate once more,
To help overcome whatever’s in store!

No need then for a warning,
Climate’ll be no longer warming.
No more temperatures extreme,
Earth green, deserts further between.

Man’s ingenuity will win through
However much there’ll need to do,
Yes, we’ll be here for eons to come,
Until Earth’s gobbled up by the Sun!

The Laws of Physics and the Universe,
Outside of our immediate world,
Will determine when mankind’s gone,
It’ll be when time and times are done!

E.L.JENKINS 4th March 2020


VIRUS-SEQUEL

(3rd May 2020)

We are hopefully going to have an opportunity to contemplate what kind of future we’d like when this pandemic is eventually overcome. A number of possibilities may occur and indeed from news editorial and newsletters, together with discussions on tv and radio, it appears that more people are beginning to realise and contemplate our (and the World’s)  future, in ways that would have seemed bizarre speculation only a short time ago.

Some, of course, are contemplating a swift return to a similar economic situation to that prevailing before the virus took hold!

Thinking this and possible outcomes, I felt it worthwhile to write a follow-up poem to ‘VIRUS’ – ‘VIRUS-SEQUEL’. The content is intended to be both controversial and contentious (somewhat ‘Brave New World’), but nevertheless thought-provoking! I truly believe poetry can be a fine medium for this approach.

Again it’s a ‘tongue in cheek’, somewhat poetic-licensed view of our current situation and what it may be like when we emerge from it at the ‘other end’ (present/future).  I hope you like it.

  ELJ

When a vaccine’s been manufactured
All will flock to its Standard,
Virulence will have been quashed,
The Corona Virus’ll be squashed!

There will be some silver lining spun
With battle won, Man will Soldier on.
Many of the old will have gone
Our Health Service could be second to none!

And Youth will need to play it’s part,
To treat life more seriously,
Over indulgence a thing of the past,
Weekend revelling, much more modestly!

A&E will then easily cope,
Hospitals tranquil and calm no doubt,
Fewer ‘Oldies’ to block their beds,
Hopefully less disease to spread.

Costs of course will be much less,
Fewer hierarchical ladders perhaps to climb?
More altruism, more sublime.

Would people be ready to go at a certain age?!
Or ‘Coldly Preserved’ for eternity!
Wisdom archived by electronics,
No one ever old enough to be a sage.

Teaching performed through holograms,
Research advanced by linked-in Apps,
Robotic technicians, always agreeable,
Equipment everlasting but biodegradable.

As the Young will still be here
Man’s future could be more clear,
Time to consider how to progress
To try to prevent another mess!

Permanent synthetic production halted,
Only degradable plastics moulded,
Doors and sills made from Nature’s Bounty,
No bursting landfills spoiling country.

Science and Art to be paramount,
No ‘tribal’ politics in between,
Bureaucracy to be minor
And very rarely seen.

Then with less people, maybe,
We can give the Earth a chance.
To let Nature mend itself,
And finally restore the balance.

The Planet and Mankind in accord
Each benefiting from the other,
Symbiosis on a Worldwide Front,
Abundance for all; we can afford!

There could be a turn away
From Global based economies,
Back to Countries on their own,
Running their markets alone.

Enjoying cultures unique
Eating and living differently,
Respecting everyone’s ways,
Without any uniformity.

For a long time to come
This thought should prevail,
Less travel for pleasure,
And mainly by rail!

As has been said before,
We’ll be here for evermore.
Eternal hope resides, at least
Until a greater force decides!

E.L.JENKINS 3rd May 2020