Mill Road Bridge Restrictions

What are the next steps? When will the scheme be reviewed?

Consultation

We invite comments on the closure of Mill Road Bridge to all vehicles except buses, cycles and pedestrians. Please send your comments by email to [redacted as the consultation is now closed – Web Editor]

The first six months of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) are the consultation stage during which we record all feedback.

A survey runs between 12 noon on Monday 9 November until 23:59 on 24 December 2020 to offer an additional opportunity for people to have their say on the changes and their impact on Mill Road.

We will collate all feedback, whether from emails, letters or the survey and present it to the Highways and Transport Committee when they make their decision on whether to continue the trial, make the changes permanent or to re-open the bridge to motorists.

Mill Road Bridge trial road closure, Cambridgeshire County Council website

Note the closure date of the consultation; Christmas Eve. As Monday 28th is a public holiday; the earliest that all of the comments could begin to be considered and collated would be on Tuesday 29th December 2020.

Readers who have completed the survey themselves will note that there were quite a few sections with space for ‘free expression’ of ideas. These will take some time to assess and aggregate.

The Highways and Transport Committee will hold a virtual meeting on Tuesday 19th January 2021 at 10:00. Click here for meeting details. There is no further information at the time of writing but, if readers keep returning to it, they will, eventually, find a full agenda pack for the meeting published in PDF format to read/download. In amongst that will be a summary of all of the feedback on the Mill Road scheme.

The full calendar of County Council meetings can be viewed here.

It will be quite a tight timescale for Cambridgeshire County Council’s officers to compile a report for the Highways and Transport Committee.

The full membership of the Highways and Transport Committee, including substitutes for those unable to attend, is here.

As for members of the public ‘attending’ (virtually)…

To help people follow the debates at Cambridgeshire County Council we are live web streaming on YouTube our Council meetings. You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #CCCmtgs.

Council meetings Live Web Stream, Cambridgeshire County Council website

We hope this information is of help, to all of our readers and subscribers, whether for or against the scheme, or (like most people) wanting some limitations but not these exact ones.


This blogpost is open for (polite) comments.

Devonshire Gardens Q&A

Zoom sessions 2nd & 3rd December

By Charlotte de Blois

The former Travis Perkins site is coming up for redevelopment. It is a site earmarked for housing and, in advance of creating designs for the scheme,  a series of Zoom consultations have taken place hosted by Finlay McNab of The Devonshire Gardens Team. They took place this week on Wed 2nd, Thur 3rd and Fri 4th December.

The purpose of these meetings is to identify design priorities which are in accord with local  needs and aspirations. City Cllrs. Mike Davey and Richard Robertson together with County Cllr. Linda Jones participated. In addition there were half a dozen other interested people from local community groups. There were 3 sessions:

  1. Sense of Place and character,  
  2. Liveability, Health and Open Spaces,
  3. Cycling and walking.

Very soon the first meeting on Sense of Place and character started straying off-topic onto Open Spaces. It is not easy to identify what Mr McNab took away from the discussion although at one stage he asked whether he was right in assuming that the community was not interested in the physical style of the built environment but in how space was used. Several participants contested this, and stressed that physicality was important to the community and the use of traditional building materials is valued.

Click the image to visit our earlier post Devonshire Gardens, Cambridge

Participants also stressed that there was a strong sense that creating an ecologically rich environment is important to our community and this should extend beyond allocating open space for grass and providing play equipment for infants. Flower gardens with seating were identified as important, tree planting and possibly roof gardens were mentioned. A participant from Marmalade Lane co-housing community made two valuable observations.

  1. Tarmac is an important material for infants, how else can children learn to skate or ride bikes?
  2. Community gardens and food gardens would fit in well with Mill Road as the road is all about good food!

Thursday’s meeting concentrated on landscape design and the need for open space to provide benefit to a wide range of demographics. The discussion started from the agreed premise that open space is important for physical health and mental well-being; in addition there was a strong lobby who consider that the opportunity to cultivate is a basic human urge and the presence of plants mitigates the ill-effects of pollution.

Community participants stressed that teenagers often used open space more than other groups and that they often felt vulnerable in places where there are dead ends. There was almost a consensus that wild open space worked well on many levels, particularly if tree planting was accompanied by planted undergrowth which encourages bio-diversity.

There was strong support for providing moving water in public landscapes. Inclusivity was considered a priority which led the discussion on to management structures for community organised facilities such as cafés and gardens. A participant argued that 2 seater side-by-side benches where not good for social interaction and that movable seating should be provided. Other suggestions were mazes bordered by hedges which a) provide long runs and a sense of travelling in a really small area and b) satisfy or stimulate a sense of curiosity and adventure in all age groups. 

Traders Threaten legal Action over Bridge Restrictions

Mill Road Traders’ Association is considering legal action over the Mill Road bridge traffic restrictions, introducing a ‘low traffic neighbourhood’ on the basis that the scheme is not truly ‘experimental’.

The allegation of illegality

In a press release, dated 12 December 2020, Mill Road Traders’ Association claim that:

The county council had no lawful authority to implement the Mill Road closure through an experimental traffic regulation order because the order violates section 9(1) of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984, which requires that an experimental order may only be made for a valid experimental purpose.

Shapour Meftah, Cantab Millennium, Chairman Mill Road Traders’ Association

Unfortunately, the Traders’ Association’s own website has not been updated with details of their latest action, however a PDF of the Mill Road Traders’ Association press release can be read/downloaded here. A useful summary was published in the Cambridge Independent.

Traders claim that the order to close Mill Road bridge to to all traffic except cycles and buses was “illegal” – and they have demanded that Cambridgeshire County Council reopens it immediately.

Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 14 December 2020 (Click to view full article)

Interviews on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

On Tuesday 15 December 2020, traders Abdul Arain (al:Amin), Sheila Gresham (Cambridge Antiques Centre) and Patty (Gwydir Street Hive) were interviewed by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire journalist Sarah Varey. Breakfast show presenter Andy Lake asked City Councillor Dave Baigent (Romsey, Labour) for a response.

Click below to hear the clip.

We noted that Abdul Arain, felt threatened by lorries and buses when cycling. We wondered about this and asked County Councillor Linda Jones, who responded:

We have always had lorry traffic in the Petersfield stretch of Mill Rd and any new development will generate a temporary increase. Lorry drivers can sometimes  be inconsiderate but I have had few complaints – and none about buses at all. 

County Councillor Linda Jones (Petersfield, Labour)

The legislation & Statutory Guidance

Readers can study the relevant sections of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 here. See also the Statutory Guidance from the DfT.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has had a terrible impact on the lives and health of many UK citizens, as well as severe economic consequences. But it also resulted in cleaner air and quieter streets, transforming the environment in many of our towns and cities.

And millions of people have discovered, or rediscovered, cycling and walking. In some places, the initial lockdown period saw a 70% rise in the number of people on bikes – for exercise, or for safe, socially distanced travel.

We need people to carry on cycling, and to be joined by millions more , particularly while public transport capacity is still reduced.

And millions of people have discovered, or rediscovered, cycling and walking. In some places, the initial lockdown period saw a 70% rise in the number of people on bikes – for exercise, or for safe, socially distanced travel.

We need people to carry on cycling, and to be joined by millions more , particularly while public transport capacity is still reduced…

The government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel…

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, foreword to the to the Statutory Guidance from the DfT.

Emergency legislation came into force on 23 May 2020 to temporarily amend:
The Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Procedure Regulations 1992
The Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996
The Secretary of State’s Traffic Order (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1990

The amendments introduce an emergency procedure for the making of temporary traffic orders. The main change is to the means of advertising the order, which can be via digital means. Once the order has been made, a second notice still needs to be published for information within 14 days. This is via a newspaper, where these are available, or via digital means if it is not reasonably practicable to publish in a newspaper.

Statutory Guidance from the DfT.

Further information on TROs, TTROs, ATTROs and ETROs can be studied in BRIEFING PAPER, Number CBP 6013, 11 June 2020, Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) from the House of Commons Library.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s scheme documentation

Cambridgeshire County Council issued a press release in June 2020 stating:

The Government has given authorities funding through the Combined Authority, to deliver pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions and bus-only corridors. The Council has worked closely with city and district councils to prepare a list of schemes to get more people walking and cycling…

Cambridgeshire County Council – Cycling and walking support in midst of pandemic (click to read the full press release)

The official documentation for the Mill Road ETRO can be read/downloaded here:

The PDF of the full range of proposals discussed at the council’s Highways and Transport committee meeting on 16th June 2020 can be read/downloaded here.

Legal action & similar cases

Speaking yesterday, Tuesday 15 December 2020, Piero d’Angelico claimed that the Mill Road Traders’ Association are advised by a barrister that ‘a judge had overturned’ a similar experimental scheme in London. It was unclear from the conversation which scheme had been ‘overturned’, nor the precise action which the Mill Road Traders’ Association planned. We assume that this would be a High Court application for judicial review. We have found a number of such applications, which we list below.


The publication of this post by Mill Road Bridges should not be considered an endorsement of the views of Mill Road Traders’ Association. Neither should this statement be read as one of opposition to their views. Our mission is to facilitate information and debates about all matters affecting Cambridge’s Mill Road. This post is open for (polite) comments.

Petitions and consultations

New petition from Mill Road Traders’ Association

Mill Road Traders’ Association have launched a petition against the restrictions on Mill Road bridge.

Piero d’Angelico writes:

For the last few days we watched more and more people concerned about the future of Mill Road bridge, our petition clearly its an evident fact that many locals wants the bridge reopened, for us is very important to know what residents and traders  want. Can you please post this link on your website  we will appreciate it so much.

Piero d’Angelico, Ambassador of Mill Road Traders’ Association
Click the image to visit the petition

Cambridgeshire County Council are using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order to impose the closing of Mill Road Bridge except for buses and cyclists for up to 18 months. They are using funding provided by the Govt under the pretence of COVID and social distancing needs. Traders will be affected.

This has been done with NO consultation at all from local/county councillors. Local traders have suffered significantly over the last year with a previous bridge closure and with COVID-19, this will now have a significant impact causing many shops to close. The traders are more than happy to work with the council to find the right measures as opposed to implement now consult later. Please sign this petition to help businesses ‘stay open’ whilst a proper dialogue can be had about ‘staying safe’.

Mill Road Traders’ Association

Mill Road Bridges Web-Editor adds…

This is the latest in a number of petitions, including:

The publication of this post by Mill Road Bridges should not be considered an endorsement of the views of the Mill Road Traders’ Association, James Youd, Ruth Greene, or Rashel Mohammed, 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.

You can participate in the Cambridgeshire County Council Mill Road Consultation, online, through clicking this link.

If you, or someone you know, would like a paper copy of the Cambridgeshire County Council consultation document telephone 0345 0455212 to have paper copies posted to you.

Survey participants often complain that the questions asked do not enable them to fully express their views. If you feel that way, you could set your views out clearly in an email to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Once again, for those without an internet connection or email account, you can communicate in the traditional way, by writing to:
Policy and Regulation Team
Highways Depot
Stanton Way
HUNTINGDON
PE29 6PY

Mark your letter “Mill Road railway bridge ETRO consultation.”


Readers may also be interested in these items:

Passing traffic…

Local Tweeters have reminded the community of what might have been, for the Mill Road area and Cambridge, more generally.

Mill Road Lives

By Dave Baigent, City Councillor for Romsey

The last few days has seen more devastating news for people in the retail sector. More shops are closing in the city centre and this means hundreds, if not thousands of people are losing their jobs. Debenhams is perhaps our biggest casualty so far and these closures point to how much the lack of footfall in the city impacts on the retail market as people work from home. As Covid-19 ends, it is unlikely that working from home will stop. More likely that people will commute some days and work from home on others. The world has changed and this provides a huge opportunity for the traders locally.

There are around 20,000 residents in Romsey, Petersfield and Coleridge who live within a short distance of their local shops. There are over 54 traders on Mill Road who sell food to eat on their premises. As the risk from Covid-19 recedes the opportunity exists for them to attract people who work from home to venture out for a break. The provision shops on our road can also reach out to capture this new market. So too can the hairdressers. At the same time other shops can benefit from this passing trade.

From my position on the Greater Cambridge Partnership, I am able to confirm that Mill Road will soon be a destination highlighted for visitors who arrive at the station: a through route on foot to the city. Traders can react to this and encourage these visitors; it may even be possible to make Mill Road a destination in its own right for visitors to our city. This could also add to the growing night time economy on our road.

Three new shops have opened in as many weeks on Mill Road. Romsey now has a flower shop that deliver flowers by cycle. A baker that sells ‘home-made’ bread and cakes. And yesterday an organic supermarket for food and drinks opened. These are entirely new ventures, and these new traders can obviously see a future in opening here.

Harvest organic supermarket, Romsey Broadway, Mill Road [Photo: Dave Baigent]

There has always been a churn in the shops on Mill Road and, in some ways, this is part of its character as Mill Road adapted to local need. Change, too, is offered by the restrictions on the bridge. Pollution has fallen through the floor, the noise has reduced and it is now so safe that you see parents with their young children cycling over the bridge. Some cafés have extended their services by providing some tables on their shopfront.

This month you have the opportunity to comment on the restriction on the bridge in the County Council’s consultation. A positive outcome will result in the restriction being extended. Then local groups and councillors will be able to negotiate further improvements. At the top of my list it to find a way to support blue badge holders and a close second is to get the plastic bollards taken away, pavements to be widened and for the greening of our road by the provision of raised flower beds similar to those we provided outside the Co-op.

Click the image to read the blogpost referred to, below.

To help people consider the advantages offered by continued ‘restriction’, Over Mill Road Bridge [A separate site with no connection to Mill Road Bridges _Ed] has provided a list of some of the pluses and some comment that you may wish to use if you have yet to fill in the consultation. Why not look at them, here, and see if there are any ideas that you may wish to use?

Take care as Covid-19 is likely to remain a real threat for some time. At the same think about how the world has now changed and how you may contribute to the way our community develops.

Thanks for reading this. If you have any questions then please email me at dave.baigent@councillor.online.


Mill Road Bridges Web-Editor adds…

You can participate in the Mill Road Consultation, online, through clicking this link.

If you, or someone you know, would like a paper copy of the Cambridgeshire County Council consultation document telephone 0345 0455212 to have paper copies posted to you.

Survey participants often complain that the questions asked do not enable them to fully express their views. If you feel that way, you could set your views out clearly in an email to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Once again, for those without an internet connection or email account, you can communicate in the traditional way, by writing to:
Policy and Regulation Team
Highways Depot
Stanton Way
HUNTINGDON
PE29 6PY

Mark your letter “Mill Road railway bridge ETRO consultation.”


Readers may also be interested in these items:

Let Mill Road Live

By Francis, a Petersfield resident

All agree that traffic fumes are detrimental to the health and wellbeing of human beings. We residents of Mill Road have found that our health has been impacted by increasing levels of pollution in recent years but it has improved as the volume of traffic was reduced in lockdown. Many Mill Road shops have had their stock rooms converted into flats which means they cannot keep as much stock on their premises as they formerly did and the need for frequent deliveries becomes important – in some cases the decision to convert was made by traders and not landlords. In other cases traders have had to cope with the ill judgement of landlords.

Image of car pumping out carbon dioxide, particulate pollution and oxides of nitrogen, with slogan "More pollution? No solution!"

Our traders are important to our road. We value them and they should welcome measures which benefit their resident neighbours and customers. They should support safe, non-polluted, traffic-free pavements. Excellent bus services and bridge-access rights to those who genuinely need access; Blue-badge holders for example and traders whose warehouses are over the bridge; possibly taxis.

For the good of our community let us say ‘No to accidents caused by vehicles mounting pavements. No to poisonous air. No to heavy-plant and transport-lorries using Mill Road as a rat-run between Bedford and Suffolk’.

Yes to deliveries for local traders, Yes to cleaner air, Yes to local shops for locals, Yes to the right to walk (or use one’s wheel-chair) on the pavement without fear of being knocked down. Yes to parking bays.

If these are your priorities you need to make your voice heard.


Web editor adds:
If you are a Mill Road area resident, a regular user of Mill Road’s shops, a trader, someone who delivers to shops, a taxi/hire car driver…
Whatever your view, do make it known.

Depending who you listen to, this scheme:

  1. has made it safer to cycle to local shops and for pupils heading to and from local schools ;
  2. will wreck Mill Road’s businesses;
  3. has improved air quality, and made the road safer;
  4. has generated more traffic and longer journeys avoiding the bridge;
  5. will help create a much improved ambience to Mill Road, giving a much-needed boost to local businesses.

You can participate in the Mill Road Consultation, online, through clicking this link.

If you, or someone you know, would like a paper copy of the Cambridgeshire County Council consultation document telephone 0345 0455212 to have paper copies posted to you.

Survey participants often complain that the questions asked do not enable them to fully express their views. If you feel that way, you could set your views out clearly in an email to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Once again, for those without an internet connection or email account, you can communicate in the traditional way, by writing to:
Policy and Regulation Team
Highways Depot
Stanton Way
HUNTINGDON
PE29 6PY

Mark your letter “Mill Road railway bridge ETRO consultation.”

See also our earlier post National Pavement Parking Ban?

Devonshire Gardens, Cambridge

Digital consultation

Douglas Higgins, Project Director at First Base, writes

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to introduce First Base and our emerging proposals for a new mixed-use neighbourhood in Cambridge.

We would like to invite you to our planned public consultation and associated workshops to help inform our plans.

The site, currently a Travis Perkins depot, is located on Devonshire Road, close to Mill Road bridge and is five minutes’ walk from Cambridge station. Travis Perkins will be relocating to a new state-of-the-art branch in Cambridge, providing an enhanced offering to its customers.

First Base – with RPMI Railpen (the investment manager for the railways pension scheme) – acquired the site earlier this year. We have already started discussions with local stakeholders to help guide our plans for a modern mixed-use quarter, comprising homes, workspace, leisure, and community spaces, arranged around new public gardens. The development – which aspires to be largely car free – will include a dedicated cycle hub and will create new pedestrian and cycle routes linking it to the station.

Click the image to read more on the dedicated Devonshire Gardens website. Image courtesy of First Base.

As part of our wider discussions with stakeholders and other interested groups, we are launching a digital public consultation on these proposals running from 09.00 on Monday 30 November until 21.00 on Sunday 13 December 2020, providing the local community with an opportunity to view our initial ideas for the site and share any comments and feedback.

This information is available here, on the dedicated Devonshire Gardens website. In addition, the consultation is being promoted across social media and in the local press, with newsletters posted to residents in the surrounding area and a freephone telephone number provided for questions and queries 0800 130 31 31.

We will be hosting a series of public webinars during this period, which will include a live, online presentation by – and Q&A with – members of the project team.

The first workshop was:

Topic: Character and Sense of Place
Date: Wednesday 2nd December 2020 (12.30-13.30)
Location: Zoom Meeting Platform (Online)

Read Charlotte de Blois’ review of the first two Zoom meetings here.

We are also running workshops on Walking, Cycling and Active Travel and Liveability, Health and Open Spaces. Please do let us know if you would also like to attend either of these.

These workshops will provide us with a deeper understanding about issues and opportunities relating to the site itself and how it relates to the wider neighbourhood and beyond. As such, we would greatly appreciate your insights. All workshops will be recorded and uploaded to our website if you are unable to participate in the live session.

If you would like to attend any of the above sessions, please RSVP to info@devonshiregardenscambridge.com and we will send you a welcome pack with more details. Alternatively, if you would prefer to discuss the scope of these sessions over the phone, we would be happy to arrange a convenient time to speak with you.

In addition, if you would like to be put in touch with a particular member of the project team regarding our proposals for the site, please mention your interest within your RSVP and we will contact you to arrange a conversation.

In the meantime, if you have any questions specifically relating to our upcoming consultation, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,

Douglas Higgins, Project Director at First Base


Liam Ronan‑Chlond​, Stakeholder & External Relations at First Base adds:

In addition, you may be interested to know that we are also researching the current Mill Road offer to better understand the local character, in a short exploratory survey here.


Further indicative sketches and details of First Base’s aspirations for the Development can be found here, on the First Base website.


Whilst this blogpost is open for (polite) comments, please note that these will not form part of First Base’s consultation, nor will the Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire Joint Planning Service be able to take into account any views expressed here, when a planning application is, eventually, submitted.