We were saddened to learn today – Wednesday 21st April 2021 – of the passing of popular Mill Road restaurateur, Foudil Rerizani.
Foudil had been living with cancer for some while, but his health declined rapidly over the last few weeks.
Cambridge University educated Foudil established the much loved, ever-popular Al Casbah restaurant, at 62 Mill Road, in 1997 as one of the first Charcoal grill restaurants in East Anglia, specialising in marinated grilled meats and fish, with the grill – and leaping flames – eye-catchingly positioned by the front window. The quirky charm of the establishment led to it being described in a Les Routiers review as “un per decentré”.
Al Casbah has since been passed down from father to sons – Karim, Samir, Yacine, Nacer and Djamel – who continue the family tradition of serving fresh North African cuisine.
While the boys were growing up, Foudil provided the boys with their own games hall ‘hangout’, open to all, at 98–100 Mill Road, which kept them out of trouble. Since 2011 the premises have been home to Bedouin, the family’s other Mill Road restaurant, replete with a real Bedouin tent and wall rugs from the Sahara, serving traditional tagines and couscous dishes from across the Maghreb.
As well as being a successful restaurateur, Foudil was a good friend of Mill Road especially other café, restaurant and catering proprietors in the area, to whom he lent his expertise. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.
Petersfield Labour Councillors, Richard Robertson and Mike Davey (City Council) and Linda Jones (County Council) have recently leafleted the streets around Cambridge’s Mill Road in the Petersfield ward (city side of the bridge) urging resident to object to the granting of this licence.
We believe there are already sufficient alcohol outlets on Mill Road, and that more would increase the likelihood of problematic street drinking in the area.
During the pandemic, we have managed to provide accommodation through the City Council for many people who have addiction and drink issues, which will hopefully aid their rehabilitation. However, this may not be effective for everyone longer term. […]
It’s important we don‘t return to the situation we had not so long ago with large groups of people drinking and being aggressive on Mill Road.
A few years ago, together with local residents, we managed to get Mill Road designated as a ‘Cumulative Impact Zone’ to stop any further off-licences being approved. Recently, this designation has been used to reject several applications for off-licences. The City Council has just reviewed and reconfirmed the Cumulative Impact Zone for Mill Road. Read/download the PDF here.
Some may feel that as the Co-op is likely to be a well-managed, large store it may justify having a licence. However, approving this licence will set a precedent. If it is approved, then other shops that have tried to get licences in the past and were rejected due to the Cumulative impact Zone would reapply and they would probably be approved.
We would urge everyone to continue to object to more alcohol outlets on Mill Road.
And what do the Co-op say to justify their alcohol licence? How do they intend to protect the Mill Road community?
The applicant has given thought to the potential impact of the grant of this application on the four licensing objectives and having regarding to the locality, the fact that the premises falls within the cumulative impact area of Cambridge City Council and discussions and agreement with the Police, considers that the following conditions are appropriate.
The hours during which alcohol is sold on the premises shall be 11:00 to 20:00 Monday to Sunday inclusive. There shall be a minimum of 2 Personal Licence holders employed at the premises. A Security Guard (SIA registered) shall be deployed at the premises during the hours when alcohol is permitted to be sold.
There shall be no sale of beer, lager or cider with an ABV content of 5.5% or above except for specialist branded premium priced products or products agreed by the Police. A maximum of 10% of the trading area of the store shall be used for the display of alcohol at any time.
There shall be no advertising of alcohol products in either the shop front windows or the exterior of the premises. Members of staff and security staff employed at the premises will not knowingly permit entry to the premises to anyone who is intoxicated.
Many readers will recall that Sainsbury’s were successful in their application for an alcohol licence in their 78/80 Mill Road Cambridge CB1 2AS.
This is rather different as, when they took over the store from the previous trader, a premises licence was already in place. A revocation of a licence, when a responsible multiple trader with a reputation at stake was taking over would have been difficult. However, as a result of representations from local residents, limitations were imposed of the hours for alcohol sales. Those restrictions are in line with those proposed by the Co-op for their new premises.
Some residents may feel that it would be inequitable for the mutually-owned Co-op to be trading at a disadvantage to their plc neighbours, Sainsbury’s.
Whatever your view, Mill Road Bridges are here to inform you. You can oppose or support this application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure that Co-opertive store 44A Mill Road Cambridge CB1 2AS in in the subject line. If you use this link, the subject line will be completed for you, in most email systems. Your email must reach Cambridge City Council’ licensing department by 23rd March 2021.
You may leave comments below, but these cannot be taken into account by the City Council’s licensing committee.
To renew the installation of a temporary real-ice ice rink with viewing platform and back-of-house/plant area; a family entertainment area with children’s rides & food concessions; and a christmas market with stalls & concessions, to one quadrangle of Parkers Piece.
Whilst the planning portal lists the ‘Neighbour Consultation Expiry Date’ as Wednesday 24th February 2021, the portal appears to remain open for comments at the date of posting, with the latest comments dated 15th March 2021. The Cambridge City Council Planning meeting at which this application will be considered is scheduled for Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 10.00 am.
What do Mill Road people think?
One local resident emailed us saying:
The Fair and Ice rink will run from 1st November to 31st January. That’s three months of repetitive loud Christmas music and high-pitched screams.
For local residents, hotel guests and students it’s extremely annoying especially for those now working from home. It will also be bigger this time (see application plan online). The organisers also pay a fraction of the rent which Mill Road’s traders pay. They have a Christmas market and food outlets that takes business away from local shops and cafés.
It also badly damages the grass: 14 months after the last North Pole nearly a fifth of Parker’s Piece still hasn’t recovered and that’s despite the council treating the area with new soil and grass seed last summer. It would obviously be a lot worse if the event had gone ahead at Christmas 2020. The area is not fit for its intended purpose – football, social gatherings, boot camps, etc – and looks and feels like scrubland.
This historic City park deserves better care.
Elsa, local resident
Elsa illustrated her objection with photographs. There are shown in the slideshow below.
Whereas a local trader wrote to us in support:
I am always cheered when I see the funfair there in the depths of winter. Seeing and hearing young people having fun is wonderful.
No-one would be using that bit of park in the depths of winter and, in any case, there is still loads more space to use. Presumably the larger and longer the attraction, the more money that goes into the council’s coffers.
I am in favour of the winter attraction in its larger, longer state.
Eileen, local trader
Here are a flavour of the comments on the planning portal.
The North Pole is not in keeping with the area and the direction in which the area is set to develop in, nor does it truly add to any Christmas spirit. In fact it is quite an eyesore.
There are other opportunities that could generate revenue for the council in a way, that is not as damaging to the environment and disruptive to the public, and would also be adding value to the city and community and liven up the park during the festive period.
St Pauls Walk resident
The ice rink on Parker’s piece is a very good thing for all of Cambridge. Children and young people deserve to be able to have some fun. It was sadly missed 2020 so it will be great to have it back 2021/22.
Mill Road resident
I object to this proposal because it is a poor use of what is normally a lovely open space. The noise it generates is awful – endless generators, music from the rides etc etc. Now more than ever, we need a peaceful environment in which to live and work – I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be to live closer than we do.
It also totally destroys the grass, year after year. It never really recovers (the space where it was 2 years ago is now still mainly weeds). Local residents so value the ability to walk over the park, but it’s awful when it’s all mud, as it is for months after (& during – gets so muddy around the installation).
Nothing should be allowed to remain on the site for more than a few days (normal fairs/ concerts/ gigs are great – an excellent use of the space! ) but this lasts for months on end. It’s too long. People need to use the grass for sport and recreation and this Ice Rink prevents a good deal of that.
Please don’t allow this planning permission to be accepted.
Lyndewode Road resident
This application is for 3 months of the year. There are other various events which may amount to another couple of months making ~ 5 all told. Parker’s Piece needs be left clear and open. That was its reason for existence.
Equally, there is no doubt a reason for its creeping closure – profit. No doubt Star Radio and the Council coffers do not have to bear the consequences such as increased parking pressure in the area as people try to avoid paying car park charges, increased noise and occasionally an increase in local law-breaking. I suggest the creeping closure of Parker’s Piece be halted. Use other venues (e.g. Newmarket Road for a rink?)
Guest Road resident
It used to be relatively charming – a small ice rink where you could go with the children for a pre-Christmas skate to get into the spirit of Christmas & perhaps get a cup of coffee afterwards. However, over the past couple of years it has been allowed to expand physically, as well as in terms of time, and is now enormous and totally ruins the atmosphere of Parkers Piece for the majority of us, attracting light pollution, noise, litter and antisocial behaviour.
It is allowed to run for weeks and weeks and Parkers Piece and its residents/visitors have to bear the scars for many months afterwards. It totally ruins the enjoyment of what is supposed to be a haven in the middle of an already very busy, congested city.
Out-of-city (Withersfield) resident
To to view all comments – and add your own, for or against – visit the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning portal and enter 20/03552/FUL in the search box. (The portal’s reCAPTCHA setting prevents direct access to individual applications.)
You are welcome to leave comments at the foot of this post, but nothing published on this website will be taken into consideration at the Cambridge City Council Planning meeting at which this application will be considered, on Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 10.00 am.
Faraj Alnasser is a Syrian refugee who lives with a local family, off Cambridge’s Mill Road, who have taken care of him like a son. “Cambridge has become a home for me, because of this very kind family,” Faraj told us by email.
At just 14 years old, while Faraj’s family were refugees in Egypt, following an insurmountable family rift, Faraj left his family and made his way back to Syria, where he found his former family home bombed out.
After spells in Iraq, in Syria (again) and Turkey (where Faraj learned Turkish) he took the bus to Sofia, Bulgaria, followed a circuitous route through Austria and Germany, finally reaching the Channel coast, where he escaped to the UK by hiding in a refrigerated lorry, in which he nearly died from hyperthermia.
Faraj has now been living in the UK for over 5 years.
In 2016, following a spell in a refugee holding centre, Faraj was offered accommodation by a local family, has learned English at a local language school, and developed his cookery skills.
Faraj has been cooking at Honey and Co, after training at Ottolenghi in London. Thanks to lockdown – a very small silver lining – Faraj is now back in Cambridge and has started cooking his delicious Middle Eastern food for delivery to your house.
The menu includes some old favourites – after eating real Aleppo hummus you will never be satisfied by supermarket hummus again – and some less familiar dishes from his mother’s kitchen in Syria. All the dishes are from local ingredients and everything is vegetarian or vegan – and wonderful.
Bread – including challah and pittas – is freshly baked, and if you have never had pistachio challah, it is very highly recommended, for Shabbat or any day.
We welcome Faraj’s contribution to the abundance of worldwide authentic food to be found along Cambridge’s Mill Road. Why order from a mundane multiple? Mill Road can offer much better than their banal burgers and prosaic pizzas!
Cambridge Sustainable Food is looking for local growers to help support the Cambridge emergency food programme by planting extra crops and donating fruit, veg and herbs towards one of the eight community food hubs around Cambridge.
Last summer Cambridge Sustainable Food ran a Grow a Row campaign which saw nearly two tonnes of fresh produce grown and donated by individuals, families, streets, community projects, allotments and community farms, which went towards supporting the local emergency food response.
After the success of last year, Cambridge Sustainable Food are running the Grow a Row campaign again, and are looking for people to grow and share to help support the local Cambridge community. We welcome all donations of fresh fruit, veg and herbs to help keep our services running, and support those struggling to access food. You don’t have to be an experienced grower to help out – we welcome growers old and new. So even if you want to try growing some herbs on your windowsill, please get in touch!
If you could “Grow a Row” extra, get your street involved in growing together, or if you find you have a glut on your hands that you would like to donate, please contact email@example.com
For more information about “Grow a Row”, and online resources for first time growers, see Cambridge Sustainable Food’s Grow a Row webpage, here.
Editor’s note: If you’re unable to grow food but have surplus to donate…