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.
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 email@example.com. 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!
Announcing the 2021 Mill Road Winter Fair Annual General Meeting
This year’s Annual General Meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday 23 March at 7.30pm. Mill Road Winter Fair will be planning the 2021 Fair and exploring a range of exciting ideas for Mill Road Fringe events, which may take place during the summer months as the Covid restrictions lift.
This is the perfect time to join Mill Road Winter Fair’s team of volunteers and help shape the cultural life of Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities’. Getting involved in the Fair is a great way to meet a fabulous bunch of people while also making a massive difference in our community.
In 2020, the Mill Road Winter Fair could not take place owing to Covid-19 restrictions. Instead, the first Online Fair featuring many of the local performers, artists, stalls and organisations who would have been there on the day, took place.
The Fair committee also coordinated an amazing community event to celebrate and showcase the identity and culture of Mill Road. Fun for all the family, the Mill Road Lantern Trail was funded by the charity, Love Mill Road.
As we negotiate recent changes to Mill Road it has become apparent that drivers subconsciously behave differently along different stretches of the road. Picture one shows how three car drivers chose to pavement-park opposite a build out.
While further down the road on a narrower stretch of the road, Picture Two, shows how a driver uses the build-out as protection for his parked car and helpfully stays on the road.
This allows pedestrians to use the narrow pavement unimpeded. Thank you grey car driver.
What are the next steps? When will the scheme be reviewed?
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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…
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.
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…
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.