Ed Lloyd Jenkins

Many of us will have fond memories of Ed Lloyd Jenkins. And Mill Roaders may wish to attend Ed’s Memorial Service at St Philip’s Church, 185 Mill Road, CB1 3AN on Saturday, 24th February at 4:30pm.

Photo of Ed with accompanying text:

In loving memory of
Edward Lloyd Jenkins friend, neighbour and Cambridge community champion
Memorial Service
Location - St Philip's Church,
185 Mill Road, CB1 3AN
Date - Saturday, 24 February
Time - 4:30pm
To share your memories of Ed please feel free to add to this online message board

Memories can also be added to this Facebook page for Ed. And appreciative comments can be added below this post.

Mill Road History Society hopes to post a tribute page on the Capturing Cambridge website and there are plans to collate as many of Ed’s poems as possible – anyone with one is asked to email it, along with any photos or memories of him, to millroadhistory@gmail.com.

Cambridge Independent’s Paul Brackley contacted Mill Roaders to compile this lovely piece – Tributes paid to Edward Jenkins: A figure as unique as the community he loved in Mill Road, Cambridge By Paul Brackley – 26th January 2024. We couldn’t better this, so we won’t try.

See also Ed’s poem MILL ROAD 2018 on the Mill Road Poetry page, and The Road – The Film (2013) in collaboration with John Caldwell.

EcoChic Fashion Event

The call went out to Mill Road area’s fashionistas to try their luck as models for the forthcoming Mill Road Preloved Fashion Show.

Organisers were overwhelmed as nearly 40 men and women of varying ages, styles, heights and ethnic heritages – credible super models every one – turned up for the casting event at the Mill Road Community Centre.

Poster illustrating people modelling chic clothing.
Date/time/location/price
Saturday 2 March, St Barnabas Church
Doors open: 6pm Fashion show: 7-9pm
Tickets: £5 (or donation)
Other details in accompanying text.
The event is part of Love Mill Road’s Fringe Celebrations
Click the image above to view/download a printable PDF to display in your window

For full details and to book tickets, click through to the Mill Road Fringe’s Mill Road EcoChic Fashion Show page.


Despite the models’ diversity there are uniting features; all participants love Mill Road and walked with elegance; candidates expressed their love of pre-loved clothing in advance of their screen shots and turns on the catwalk.

It was interesting to learn why they all preferred charity shop and other pre-loved clothes.


Kitty told Mill Road Bridges that she had always worn pre-loved clothes. As a child in Essex her mother would get outfits from Ebay because they searched for quirkiness. Now, as an adult, she continues to shun new clothes.

Pam Wesson, a well-known local trader in pre-loved fashion, is attracted by value and quality, brand-new Amani suits for around £50 for example. She enjoys acknowledging provenance and when she is selling at her outlets she often mentions previous ownership.

Emma and Nicky have collected so many fabulous garments that they now concentrate on looking for statement jewellery; whereas younger people are motivated to get a basic wardrobe economically.

Naturally many participants are motivated primarily by sustainability. Academics and administrators from both our universities were present at the audition. They seem to choose pre-loved to relax in for ethical reasons even if they buy high end High Street and tailor-made suits for work.

Carol’s relationship with preloved fashion stretches back many years, as a young single parent she would dress her children in items from jumble sales out of economic necessity but never resented doing it. Jumble sales gave way to charity shops and styles change but, although she found herself on a firmer footing financially, she refused to buy distressed jeans with holes and grunge shirts at high street prices.


Mill Road EcoChic will showcase clothes and accessories from Mill Road’s charity and vintage shops on the catwalk, alongside local designers who specialise in sustainable fashion.

The show will offer a unique and memorable celebration of creativity and sustainability, reflecting the diversity and independence of Cambridge’s distinctive Mill Road neighbourhood. Featuring stylish, exciting finds curated by enthusiastic fashionistas and modelled by local real people.

Stylish, exci????ng finds curated by enthusias????c fashionistas and modelled by local real people.

Mill Road EcoChic Fashion Show invites you to: 

  • browse pop-up stalls that focus on sustainable fashion
  • enjoy a spectacular catwalk fashion show featuring clothes from Mill Road’s fabulous charity and vintage shops
  • stay fuelled with pizzas from Scot’ts All Day and drinks from Bacchanalia.

For full details and to book tickets, click through to the Mill Road Fringe’s Mill Road EcoChic Fashion Show page.

The organisers – Love Mill Road’s Fringe – encourage anyone with qualms about fast-fashion to come along to the Ecochic Fashion Event on Saturday 2nd March, at St Barnabas Church, Mill Road. Doors open: 6pm Fashion show: 7-9pm.

For any other information email community@millroadwinterfair.org.

EcoChic Fashion Show

Poster illustrating people modelling chic clothing.

Your spotlight moment has arrived! Mill Road Fringe are looking for models for the Mill Road Eco-Chic Fashion Show in March. Please register your interest by emailing community@millroadwinterfair.org and come along to the Mill Road Community Centre (behind the Old Library) on Sunday 21st Jan between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm to sign up. All genders, ages (18+) and sizes are welcome.

Grafton Centre Redevelopment – How Big?

A planning application for quadrupling the height and mass of the Grafton Centre has attracted far less attention and comment than the parallel one for the Beehive site. Almost none. But it would have comparable impact on the Mill Road Conservation Area environment, including the ‘green lung’ of St Matthew’s Piece. Read/download the documentation on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Portal, here.

Showing existing Grafton Centre – height 10.5 m to 14 m

The applicant’s Landscape And Public Realm statements fail to mention that the proposed structures would look directly into the residential housing estate, on the opposite side of East Road (from south to north – Amblecote, Fazeley House, Shenstone House, Wheaton House, Hilderstone House, and the new housing, under construction on the site of the former garages). Views shown from the proposed structure’s roof terrace reveal just how much the building will dominate the skyscape from much of central Cambridge. See the documentation on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Portal.

Showing proposed Grafton Centre with a height up to 41 m

There has been no consultation in the Mill Road Conservation Area, although the views from so many of these homes and streets would be dramatically impacted by substantial changes to the skyline from this enormous development.

An objection to these proposals (PDF 2.9MB) in the name of Friends of St Matthew’s Piece has been submitted to Greater Cambridge Shared Planning. 

The dramatic graphics (above), in addition to those in the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece submitted objection, show the existing vs minimum heights of the structures proposed in Planning Application 23/02685/FUL. The actual impact would be even worse, as the footprint also expands, and the height of the proposed structures rise to 41m. If we add in flues and vents, which (as revealed in the Beehive application) can rise to 25% again of these building heights, these proposals will dominate the skyline over a wide area of the city’s Petersfield ward.

To make clear what this means for residents of the Mill Road Conservation Area, not one of whom was at any stage informed of or consulted on these proposals, a technically adept Friend of St Matthew’s Piece has taken the developer’s precise figures from today’s new image and made an animated gif to show what the Old vs New Grafton Centre would look like, combining (a) info from this most recent image from the developer with (b) the image the developer provided on p.33 of their Design & Access Survey of the existing “low level” Grafton Centre…

Image as foregoing text.

The formal comment deadline for Planning Application 23/02685/FUL passed on Tuesday 28th November 2023. However public comments can still be uploaded to the the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Portal – and will be taken into account – right up until the date of the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee meeting at which this application will be considered, which has not yet been scheduled.


More about Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.


Blogposts on other issues concerning St Matthew’s Piece


If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

Musical Christmas Party…

?? The Peg Leg Pub Band have the answer. And they’re coming to Mill Road! And the gig is open to a all… And it’s only £10 on the door! ? ????

as caption
Four of the band, in action.
Christmas Party
In aid of the Red Cross
PEG LEG PUB BAND
Toe-Tappin’ Hand-Clappin’ Finger-Snapin’ Thigh-Slappin’ Musical Fun
  
The Salisbury Club, 272 Mill Road from 8pm, Saturday 16th December 2023 Tickets £10 on the door
Click the image to download a printable PDF of this poster

I have never had a night in the pub as enjoyable as this one

Lisa, the Black Horse, Swaffham Bulbeck, New Years Eve 2022

Find out more about The Peg Leg Pub Band.

Quiz Night

Image of poster
Text as subsequent paragraphs
Click the image above to download a printable poster for this event

Wednesday 15th November 2023 7.30pm

Mill Road Community Centre
Hazell Street, off Mill Road, behind the Old Library.

£10 per Team – 5 members maximum
Book your tickets through this link

Don’t have a team but want to participate?
No problem – just let us know and we will book you a space!

Contact: helen@pactcambridge.org

St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Saved!

Graphic: Three trees , worker wielding chainsaw crossed out
Text: Out three St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Saved!

At the 1st November 2023 Cambridge City Council Planning Committee meeting, the three 125-year-old threatened London Plane Trees along Sturton Street were vigorously and successfully defended.


Relief after Cambridge park’s mature trees saved from the chop By Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 01 November 2023


Around 40-50 members of the public lined the outer rows of seats in the main Council chamber. Some carried banners and placards, which were held aloft throughout. 

Powerful and clear speeches in strong defence of the trees were given by Friends of St Matthew’s Piece, by all three of our Petersfield ward Councillors – Councillor Mike Davey, Labour, Leader of the Council; Councillor Richard Robertson, Labour; Councillor Katie Thornburrow, Labour, Executive Councillor for Planning, Building Control and Infrastructure – and also by Councillor Jean Glasberg, Newnham, Green Party, Green & Independent (Spokes) for Communities, Open Spaces and City Services, Climate Action and Environment.

Aerial view of the three trees

Several of these speeches cited recent incisive legal input from the highly respected expert planning solicitor Richard Buxton. This is not the first time Richard has been key to protecting St Matthew’s Piece. See March & July 2007 in – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.)

A thorough and penetrating debate took place about many aspects of the application to fell these three trees. All of the voting Planning Committee Members diligently interrogated the complex issues objectively. Most made a point of specifically mentioning the many emails they had received directly from local residents – these clearly had an important impact.

The decision to refuse the application was finally taken – and it was unanimous – to the enormous relief and delight of all the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporters in the chamber. Robust and detailed ‘Reasons to Refuse’ were then formally agreed.

??? We must all remain vigilant, to continue to ensure these precious trees last another 125 years – and more!

Graphic: Trees with hearts
Text: THANK YOU SO MUCH  FOR YOUR HELP
From Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

Moreover, St Matthew’s Piece needs support in protection from inappropriate development. Scroll down to read more


??? THE ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.

This – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.) – is the history of how the land on which these trees stand was bought in the 1890s, with public money – and given to the local community forever … but then lost by our local councils. The current owners are multinational banking interests and property investors.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.


??? Earlier blogposts on the three trees


Blogposts on other issues concerning St Matthew’s Piece

Proposed St Matthew’s Piece development inbound list above

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this and other blogposts about St Matthew’s Piece, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

St Matthew’s Piece Trees – The Crucial Meeting

Photo of banner on the at-risk trees
  • The crucial meeting on the fate of the three threatened trees is tomorrow Wednesday 1st November. 
  • It will be at 10 am in the main Council Chamber at the Guildhall
  • It is open to the public, via the Peas Hill entrance only, from 9.30 am
  • First real item of business on the agenda – please come, and please be prompt
  • It would be very helpful for as many supporters as possible to be there!
  • If we can’t save these 3 highly protected trees, NO tree in Cambridge is safe.
Photo of the three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece
The three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece

??? Extracts of a letter by an Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporter to the Planning Committee:

…With family in Sheffield and in Plymouth, I’m very aware of how much is at stake tomorrow for all concerned in this application/decision, including yourselves….
   

I’ve just read the latest report from Joanna Davies to the Committee. I write with other decision-making processes in my mind regarding Council tree officers, favouring the removal of trees at this period of climate chaos. 

Tree officers are being asked to take decisions that require professional knowledge and skill, a multi-disciplinary approach, and ethical thinking that the current regulatory framework does not allow for. In this case, Ms Davies is not competent to answer questions about building methods and therefore about buildings allegedly affected by tree roots, nor is she mandated (or qualified) to question the potential involvement and motives of the owners of the land on which the three trees sit. Yet these are crucial questions that may affect … these terrible acts of destruction, and part of the story of our area. They are not relevant to a tree officer but they are, in reality, central to questions of justice and the preservation of Petersfield.

[Did] the additional advice Ms Davies sought about this application lead to a thorough on-site inspection of the allegedly threatened building? … Was this in fact merely a paper exercise, just checking the bureaucratic competence of the insurers claim?

In Sheffield … the destruction of mature trees has been experienced by the public as acts of slaughter, even murder. There is no comfort in the argument that no one responsible actually broke the law. Traditionally ‘safe’ left wing constituencies have voted against Labour councillors as a direct consequence of decision making that resulted in mature trees being felled against public wishes. 

Trees are experienced everywhere as living beings who share our lives, and the regulations to which Ms Davies is bound, and the processes by which such decisions are made, are clearly inadequate. I hope councillors can find that … there remain too many questions in this case that … she is neither authorised nor professionally competent to answer.

These heavy matters now rest with yourselves. I hope the wisest and most morally fair decision is taken tomorrow…


??? THE ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.

This – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.) – is the history of how the land on which these trees stand was bought in the 1890s, with public money – and given to the local community forever … but then lost by our local councils. The current owners are multinational banking interests and property investors.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.

Earlier Mill Road Bridges blogposts on the three trees are referenced below:


THANK YOU SO MUCH  FOR YOUR HELP
From Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

St Matthew’s Piece Trees – The Final Frontier?

URGENT ACTION NEEDED
3 TREES AT THREAT OF
FELLING ON THE PIECE

??? THREE MAGNIFICENT TREES

Photo of the three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece

On Wednesday 1st November 2023, the fate of the three threatened trees on St Matthew’s Piece is the first item of real business at Cambridge City Council’s Planning Committee. 10am, Guildhall.

The Planning Committee is open to the public. Please attend the meeting, and encourage others to attend.


??? THE CONTINUING THREAT

An insurance company is demanding that these 125-year-old trees be felled. They are acting for the absentee landlord of 193 Sturton Street, a neglected HMO (house in multiple occupancy) built 100 years after these trees were planted.

Friends of St Matthew’s Piece has strongly challenged the submitted evidence that the trees (rather than e.g., shoddy construction) are the cause of any damage to the house – Objection to 23/0119/TTPO – from the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece and Supplementary Objection to 23/0119/TTPO – from the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece (Click to open in Google Docs.)

Many hundreds of objections have been written by local residents directly to Councillors, as well as formally to the Council.


??? THE AUGUST REPRIEVE

On Tuesday 1st Aug 2023, at 21:21, hours ahead of the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday 2nd August 2023, the item was removed from the agenda. Campaigners received an email in the name of the three city councillors for the Petersfield ward.

Thank you for your email expressing concern and objecting to the felling of these trees. The three of us, the city ward councillors for Petersfield, are very pleased to be able to tell you that the planning application seeking to have the trees felled is being taken off the agenda for the meeting of the Planning Committee tomorrow.

Working together with the Friends of St Matthew’s Pieces we were able to raise more and more technical and legal issues that had not been considered, at least not sufficiently. It became clear that the Committee would not have enough information to assess properly the application and it would have to be deferred pending consideration of the whole matter and especially the new information and questions being raised.

It should not be assumed that this is the end of the matter though. Unless the applicant withdraws the application it will come back to a further meeting of the Planning Committee. We will continue to work hard to get full recognition of the importance of the 3 trees and the importance of not setting a precedent which might endanger further trees.

Apologies that this is not an individual response to your email but there have been so many objectors and we want to give you the news as soon as possible. Thanks again for your contribution to the issue.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Cllr Richard Robertson and Cllr Mike Davey

??? HOWEVER…

The latest report to Cambridge City Council Planning Committee (Presenting Officer Joanna Davies) appears to weight the arguments in favour of removal of these three 100+ year-old trees.

Image of front page of
Report to Cambridge City Council Planning Committee
Presenting Officer Joanna Davies
Report to Cambridge City Council Planning Committee (Presenting Officer Joanna Davies)
Click the image to view/download the 32-page PDF

Mike, a key Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporter read the Officer’s Report and concluded: 

“…while on its face it gives the decision to the council members (who, after all, are responsible for the decision), it appears to me to be weighted against refusal of consent. While amenity is recognised, it is immediately undermined… If I were a disinterested council member, I would read the document as telling me that the costs and risks involved in refusing consent clearly outweigh amenity etc… that is how I read it.”. 


These attitudes must be overcome to save these trees.


??? OTHER BATTLES TO SAVE TREES

Residents (rightly) have strong feelings about preserving the beauty, the majesty and the amenity of mature trees. How has it played out elsewhere? Will St Matthew’s Piece be another Alexandra Gardens? Or another Sheffield? Or Plymouth? Are the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee members soon to be ex-councillors?

??? Cambridge: 24/7 watch?

Local residents may recall the long-running dispute about the trees at Alexandra Gardens Residents set up 24/7 watch over Alexandra Gardens trees in Cambridge to ‘keep chainsaws at bay’ [Mike Scialom – Cambridge Independent – 06 August 2021]

??? Sheffield: direct action, security guards, assaults, arrests?

A programme of felling of street trees continued for two years, leading to horrendous reputational damage, to the city and the city council with widespread coverage in national news media. Only after the ruling party on Sheffield City Council (Labour) lost a number of seats in the local election, did talks start with protesters.

Chainsaws, disguises and toxic tea: the battle for Sheffield’s trees [by Samira Shackle, Guardian, Tue 24 Oct 2023]

??? Plymouth: “secretive night-time vandalism”?

Council leader Richard Bingley (Conservative) who signed off night-time mass felling as part of £12m regeneration scheme was forced into early resignation.

Plymouth council leader quits after approving cutting down of 110 trees [PA Media, Guardian, Thu 23 Mar]

Cambridge City Council’s Planning Committee is open to the public. Please attend the meeting, and encourage others to attend. City Councillors must understand residents strength of feeling, and councillors’ duty to their electorate.


??? THE ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.

This – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.) – is the history of how the land on which these trees stand was bought in the 1890s, with public money – and given to the local community forever … but then lost by our local councils. The current owners are multinational banking interests and property investors.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.

Earlier Mill Road Bridges blogposts on the three trees are referenced below:


THANK YOU SO MUCH  FOR YOUR HELP
From Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.

Mill Road Bridge – 72% Discounted?

On Saturday 21st October 2023 Mill Road hosted a march or rather a dance!

Poster for the Dance/march, reading:
LET'S DANCE FOR MiLL ROAD
72% wanted traffic restrictions on Mill Road Bridge when asked back in spring 2022...
but we are STILL WAITING
Let's show our love for Mill Road & support for the introduction of the MILL ROAD BUS GATE
Put on your best 70s fancy dress and join us Saturday 21st October, Donkey Common assemble 10.45 to start at 11am
MillRoad4People.org

Organised by Mill Road – a street for people, Living Streets Cambridge (who have recently launched their CamStreets4People Project) Cambridge Sustainable Travel Alliance and other pressure groups in favour of introducing restrictions on vehicular use of Mill Road.

72% Discounted?

The march/dance arose out of frustration that, although 72% of respondents to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s consultation (on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council, the highway authority) were in favour of introducing restrictions, there have been delays owing to legal challenges.

photo of the march with participants holding banners reading: "safe routes to school" and "What are we waiting for?"

Traffic Regulation Order – Background

On Tuesday 7th March 2023 members of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee voted to reinstate the Mill Road bridge closure to all motor vehicles, except buses, cyclists, emergency services, taxis and blue badge holders, following a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and an extensive public consultation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, where 1,986 online and written responses were received and saw 72% of respondents supporting restricting motor vehicles from crossing Mill Road bridge.

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, said: “We had a very good debate, heard from all sides and listened to the concerns raised. This was not an easy decision with very strong opinions, but on balance reinstating the bus gate whilst making improvements to pedestrianised areas was agreed.” 

Cllr Neil Shailer, vice-chair of the committee, said: “We have listened to the public feedback and decided to go ahead and prevent the majority of motorised vehicles travelling over Mill Road bridge. This will encourage safe, sustainable transport and access to shops at the heart of our community.”

There was also a wish to see the environment enhanced along Mill Road including improving the public realm and walking and cycling provision. Various funding opportunities are still being explored for this project, which we plan to develop in discussion with the local community. It was anticipated that, subject to funding, design and engagement work will begin in 2023/24.

from Cambridgeshire County Council news release, 07 March 2023

Read more:

High Court challenge – on what legal basis?

A recently-formed group, Friends of Mill Road Bridge, are taking legal action against the implementation of the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). From their published literature it is unclear on what basis this group are challenging the legitimacy of the TRO. What is clear is that this group are opponents (in the 27% of consultees who did not support the restrictions).

Cambridge campaigners launch legal action against Mill Road Bridge closure – by Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 26 June 2023

Mill Road bridge closure delayed by legal challenge – by Hannah Brown, Local Democracy Reporter, Cambridge Independent, 30 August 2023

As a result of the high court challenge, all work on safety, and on enhancements to the public realm, have been suspended.

Rain did not stop play

Despite rain, over 200 people marched/danced from Donkey Common (by Parkside Pools) to Great Eastern Street car park in Romsey. Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble played numbers from the year 1972 to reflect the fact that 72% of the 1,986 online and written responses to the consultation were in favour of introducing restrictions. 

Ironically, July 1972 was the date of publication of the Cambridge Transportation Plan: The final Report of the Cambridge Transportation Study by R. Travers Morgan and Partners, with 1973 seeing the first local campaign to stop through traffic on Mill Road. Read more on Antony Carpen’s Lost Cambridge blogpost The Cambridge transportation plan 1972-73.

Better for the whole community or a ‘cynical money-grab’?

Organisers of the march/dance believe that when these restrictions are implemented, Mill Road will become safer and less polluted, and that buses will be more punctual. Indeed, Cambridge Area Bus Users, together with other members of Cambridge Sustainable Travel Alliance, will be meeting with senior management of Stagecoach East, shortly, to lobby the bus operator to improve the frequency of the citi2 route if/when Mill Road’s notorious congestion is eased by the implementation of the Traffic Regulation Order.

However the Friends of Mill Road Bridge make entirely different claims:

The [Greater Cambridge Partnership] and County Council want us to drive a long way to avoid the £70 fine, which just creates congestion on Coleridge Road, Coldham’s Lane, Devonshire Road…

Mill Road only has moderate traffic now, except maybe twice a day during school terms.

We feel this toll is a cynical money grab disguised as ‘green’ and ‘active travel’.

Where this case leads, will influence freedom of movement in our city.

Promotional poster, displayed on Friends of Mill Road Bridge website

Readers who think they may recognise the ‘cynical money-grab’ phrase may have heard it in ‘War on motorists‘ protests about speed cameras and existing bus-lane cameras.

As Peter Walker, points out [Guardian, Thu 28 Sep 2023] the ‘The war on motorists’ is as old as cars themselves – The war on motorists: the secret history of a myth as old as cars themselves.

Walker remarks, inter alia, that:

… the AA [was] formed in 1905 with the specific goal of helping drivers dodge the law, using bicycle-riding “scouts” who would warn about speed traps.

Op cit

Mill Road – a street for people, a group of local residents and business people, have a Myth busters! blogpost, summarising the concerns which are raised by people arguing against ideas for reducing traffic on Mill Road. And why they believe those arguments do not hold water.

The [Greater Cambridge Partnership] has had nothing to do with the proposal other than managing the consultation as they were asked to do by the County Council in order to move things forward.

We have data from a 2019 closure for bridge work, i.e. not during the pandemic. It shows that while traffic rose on surrounding roads for a couple of weeks, it then dropped back to normal levels, as more people cycled and walked.

The street is frequently congested, and not only during rush hour. It only takes one large delivery vehicle blocking a lane for large amounts of traffic to build up. And when it’s not congested, it is plagued with speeding vehicles.

Mill Road – a street for people, Myth busters!

And your view?

This post is open for (polite) comments…