… to raise funds for local community-based Cambridge Sustainable Food’s food justice work across the city.
Cambridge Sustainable Food provide food justice work across the city. They work with residents, businesses, organisations and community groups to advocate for, and enable access to, healthy and sustainably produced food that is good for people and good for the planet.
Tackling food-related inequality is one of today’s most urgent challenges if we are to stem the rising tide of hunger, obesity and other diet-related ill-health such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Cambridge Sustainable Food convenes Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance, a multi-agency partnership which aims to reduce food poverty locally. Read more about this work here, the emergency food access here, and read/download the Covid-19 Emergency Food Response April 2020 – March 2021 (PDF) here.
Maurizio is on the run!
Mill Road’s godfather of pizza and pasta is taking part in the Cambridge Half Marathon on Sunday 17th October 2021.
You can help Maurizio raise funds for local community-based Cambridge Sustainable Food’s food justice work across the city and reach his £500 target by donating what you can via his GoFundMe page, here.
Eat for our Future Campaign
Food poverty is only one aspect of Cambridge Sustainable Food’s work. Food needs to be not only good for people and the planet, but also good for local economies, businesses and jobs.
As part of the newly launched Eat for our Future Campaign Cambridge Sustainable Food will be holding a variety of events across October to help Cambridge eat a Climate Diet, with in-person stalls where you can ask your questions and make a pledge, online events chaired by local sustainable food experts to guide you to a diet that is kinder to the planet, and running seminars for businesses to help them serve food for the future.
In the real world the relationship between cause and effect can be difficult to trace but that is the task that Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee faced in deciding the future of Mill Road Bridge.
Nobody doubts that Mill Road Traders experienced hard times during the pandemic, but was their hardship the result of restricted access to Mill Road Bridge? Or could it have been part of a wider decline in trade, which caused huge retail giants such as John Lewis and others to teeter, with Debenhams, Top Shop and others vanishing from our High Streets and shopping centres?
The Highways and Transport Committee’s decision to reopen the bridge, which was passed by the acting Chair’s casting vote on Tuesday 27th July appears to endorse this correlation. A connection between poor respiratory health prior to lockdown and pollutants that exceed those levels considered acceptable by the WHO, was not endorsed by that majority of one.
The positive aspect of this decision is that there will be a consultation on the experiences of residents and traders and the impacts that removing the restrictions on the bridge will have on health, collisions and an upturn in trade. These are trends that must be monitored.
Meanwhile, there is a question mark over whether the abrupt ending of the scheme could have financial implications for Cambridgeshire County Council’s future central government (DfT) funding for active transport schemes.
In a sign of the growing frustration within government at some councils, both Conservative and Labour, which have removed active travel schemes in the face of sometimes noisy objections, transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris is formally writing to the leaders of all English local authorities with transport responsibilities.
Cambridge Labour Party have published a short survey to measure public opinions about the future of Mill Road.
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 itin – the result is likely to influence the way that Labour councillors vote in the Highways Committee on this issue.
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.
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
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.
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.
It is a site which hosts a variety of (sometimes overlapping, sometimes conflicting) ideas.
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.
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?
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.
“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).
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 170responses 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Adverse effect on traders. This can be linked to 1. above but does not affect 2.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.