Beehive Centre – Redevelopment (Update)

Drop-In events and webinars

Your invitation to a public exhibition and digital consultation
Railpen would like to invite you to view updated plans to transform the Beehive Centre into an exciting new destination that will provide more than 5,000 job opportunities. We
are proposing a mix of new retail, leisure, and community spaces, as well as laboratory and office space for companies in the science and technology industry – all surrounded by new green public spaces, a public community square and wetlands.
Click the poster to read/download a more detailed PDF

Your invitation to a public exhibition and digital consultation

Railpen would like to invite you to view updated plans to transform the Beehive Centre into an exciting new destination that will provide more than 5,000 job opportunities. We
are proposing a mix of new retail, leisure, and community spaces, as well as laboratory and office space for companies in the science and technology industry – all surrounded by new green public spaces, a public community square and wetlands. 

Railpen, from latest publicity.

The Beehive Centre is adjacent to Sturton Town to the north of Mill Road on the Petersfield (city) side of the railway.

Find out more about Victorian Cambridge & the Building of Sturton Town.
Find out more about the old Beehive Pub, on the corner of Ainsworth Street.


Public Drop-in Events:

No prior booking required.

Friday 14 July, 4pm – 7.30pm
The Old School Hall, St Barnabas Centre, Mill Road, CB1 2BD

Saturday 15 July, 10am – 2pm
East Barnwell Community Centre, Newmarket Road, CB5 8RS


Webinars:

Register here.

  • Monday 17 July at 6pm
  •  Thursday 20 July at 12.30pm

About Railpen

Railpen are trusted with the safekeeping, investment, and administration of several pension schemes supporting over half a million people connected to the railway industry. 

As a pension fund, we focus on delivering long-term social value and, unlike many developers, we do not face the same pressure to generate short-term profits for shareholders or outside investors. 

Railpen, from latest publicity.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the consultation or the proposals, Railpen want to hear from you.

0800 689 5209
Email: info@beehivecentreconsultation.co.uk
Web: beehivecentreconsultation.co.uk


This post is for the purposes of informing the Mill Road community. Mill Road Bridges as a group, neither supports nor opposes Railpen’s proposals.

Whilst the post is open for comments, there is no guarantee that these will be seen by people from Railpen.

Grafton Centre Redevelopment – consultation

Photo of existing Grafton Centre main entrance on Fitzroy Street
Existing Grafton Centre main entrance on Fitzroy Street
Click the image to visit the Grafton Consultation website

Trinity Investment Management (not connected to Trinity College) acquired the Grafton Centre in 2022, and are now consulting on changes to the centre that keeps a smaller number of shops, retains the gym and cinema, but converts much of the building into laboratories for science research.

The proposals include:

  • Reducing the number of shops to reflect the growing number of empty units at the centre – but retaining some retail and leisure, including the cinema and gym, alongside improved public spaces around the centre
  • Improving the connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians, restoring some of the historic connections that were blocked when the Grafton Centre was built
  • Repurposing as much of the existing structure as possible – to limit disruption to neighbours and minimise the amount of carbon-intensive demolition and construction
  • Delivering much-needed research space for promising science start-ups – a sector which is growing and needs more lab space across the city

Trinity Investment Management
Find out more by visiting the Grafton Consultation website.

Online webinar

Trinity Investment Management are holding an online webinar over Zoom where the project team will talk through the proposals and answer questions.

Date: Thursday 24th November 2022
Time: 6:30-7:30pm

You can join the webinar using this link.
Questions may be submitted in advance by email to contact@graftoncentreconsultation.co.uk, or during the meeting using the Zoom chat function.

​You may also use the developers’ Feedback Form, or contact them by phone on 07771 323980, or email contact@graftoncentreconsultation.co.uk.

Aerial view Masterplan with retail marked in green and the cinema marked in pink
Masterplan with retail marked in green and the cinema marked in pink
Click the image to visit the Grafton Consultation website

Whilst this post is open for comments, and readers are welcome to debate the issues around the proposed development, this does not guarantee thatTrinity Investment Management will be able to engage with them on this platform.

Beehive Centre – Redevelopment

Public exhibition and digital consultation

Image of leaflet, headed:
THE BEEHIVE CENTRE PUBLIC EXHIBITION & DIGITAL CONSULTATION
With aerial view of location
More text:
Railpen would like to invite you to a public exhibition and digital consultation on our updated proposals for the redevelopment of The Beehive Centre.
Click the image above to view/download a 2-page PDF with full details.

The Beehive Centre is adjacent to Sturton Town to the north of Mill Road on the Petersfield (city) side of the railway.


Find out more about Victorian Cambridge & the Building of Sturton Town.
Find out more about the old Beehive Pub, on the corner of Ainsworth Street.


In June 2022 we held our first stage consultation on our proposals for The Beehive Centre at which we outlined our principles for development and asked for the local communities input to create a scheme that brings social value and tangible benefits to the local area and Cambridge.

The consultation was well attended and we heard and captured a wealth of insights and ideas from local people about what you value about The Beehive Centre today, and what you would like to see in the future. This feedback has informed our updated proposals which we are ready to show you at our upcoming consultation.

We strive to work with the people of Cambridge to reimagine a key strategic site, embracing sustainable and inclusive design through a vision to the creation of a new local centre with accessible, green and useable spaces to strengthen Cambridge’s status at the forefront of the science, technology and innovation sector.

four communications on behalf of Railpen

Public exhibition

Thursday 24th November – 2:30pm to 6:30pm
Friday 25th November – 2:30pm to 7:30pm
St Barnabas Centre, (Old Schoolroom) St Barnabas Church, Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2BD
No prior booking required.

Digital consultation

The digital consultation webinar will take place on Wednesday 23rd November – 6:00pm to 7:00pm

To register your interest for the digital consultation, the QR code on the PDF can be captured with your smartphone/tablet. Otherwise it resolves to: https://qrcodes.pro/nPGeLI.

If you are unable to attend either consultation nor the public exhibition but want to learn more you can email thebeehivecentre@fourcommunications.com or phone 01223 960001.


Many of you will be aware that Railpen, who invest the Railways Pension Schemes’ assets, will be redeveloping the Travis Perkins site adjacent to Devonshire Road for long-term tenanted residential accommodation, and that, whilst this has been broadly welcomed by the community, some of the details of Rail Pen’s initial plans were felt to be in need of improvement. Of course, this is an entirely different project to the Beehive Centre, but we’ve referenced it to give context on Rail Pen.


Whilst this post is open for comments, and readers are welcome to debate the issues around the proposed development, this does not guarantee that four communications or Railpen will be able to engage with them on this platform.

Mill Road Community Centre – Update

Opening in the New Year!

OPEN FORUM Nº2

Wednesday 16th November 2022, 7:30pm
Old School Hall, St Barnabas Church,
Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2BD

Please come and join Petersfield Area Community Trust and Romsey Mill Trust to find out more details about all the exciting opportunities.

Poster:
MILL ROAD COMMUNITY CENTRE
OPEN FORUM Nº2
Image of the new centre overlaid with "Opening in the New Year!"
Wednesday 16th November, 7:30pm
Old School Hall, St Barnabas Church,
Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2BD
Please come and join us to find out more details about all the exciting opportunities for volunteering; our proposed community programme; how the centre will operate & pay its way; an opening event, & even more…
Further details: info@PACTcambridge.org
ALL WELCOME
Your New Community Centre Needs YOU!
Click the image to download a printable copy of this poster

Please consider printing and displaying a poster to publicise the meeting. Share widely to let all of your friends, colleagues, neighbours and social media contacts know about the meeting.

What can you do to help make the Mill Road Community Centre a success? Email info@PACTcambridge.org.

Mill Road Community Centre

Let’s get organised!

Petersfield Area Community Trust are holding an ‘Open Forum’ on Wednesday 5th October, 7.30-8.30pm in the Old School Hall, behind St Barnabas Church, Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2BD.

The meeting is open to all local organisations and individuals who would like to contribute to activities in the new Mill Road Community Centre, which should open before the end of the year.

The Community Centre will be jointly managed by Petersfield Area Community Trust and Romsey Mill.

Poster:
Image of new community centre with Petersfield Area Community Trust logo
Text reads:
MILL ROAD COMMUNITY CENTRE
OPEN FORUM
Wednesday 5th October, 7.30-8.30pm
Old School Hall, St Barnabas Church,
Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2BD
Whether you’re part of a local community group, or a willing volunteer, come and join us to find out more, let us know your ideas, and tell us what you can contribute to community activities at this exciting new local facility.
Further details: info@PACTcambridge.org
ALL WELCOME
Your New Community Centre Needs YOU!
Click on the image to download a printable PDF of this poster.

For further details, email info@PACTcambridge.org.


Please note: this is not about potential plans for the old Mill Road Library. (See our earlier post Mill Road Library – a community asset.)

Cut The Clutter

Living Streets Week Of Action Week Of Action 2022 (11-17 July).

Pavement clutter might seem trivial, but it is a serious problem.

It can make getting around hazardous, especially for disabled people, older people and those with young children. If we really want our streets to be safer and easier for walking, it’s time to tackle this.

Living Streets

The Living Streets Cambridge group are campaigning at a local level. Blogger, vlogger, local historian, community reporter and all-round good egg, Antony Carpen, has filmed this short video highlighting some of the issues. Mill Road Bridges is happy to support this week of action.

Video by Antony Carpen for Living Streets, Cambridge

Antony produced this video without charge for Living Streets Cambridge. (Maybe we should say ‘pro bono’, this being Cambridge). If you would like to support his work please consider visiting Antony’s Ko-fi crowd-funding page and making a donation.

Then take a look at Antony’s blogs – The Cambridge Town Owl and Lost Cambridge – which are both well worth a read.

In an earlier blogpost – Pavements for Pedestrians – we have highlighted the hazard posed by the misuse of Mill Road’s pavement by vehicles parking, loading and unloading, together with the failure of Cambridgeshire County Council to exercise their powers to prevent this, at no additional cost to council tax payers. (And it’s not just a problem for Mill Road.)

Living Streets (nationally) is calling for local authorities to prioritise clearing footways and pavements through measures including (but not limited to):

  1. Banning all A-board advertising on the pavement
  2. Putting in place plans and budget to remove excess or unused street furniture (eg signs and poles, guard rail and utility boxes or phone boxes)
  3. Providing guidance to businesses using pavement space for outdoor entertainment that they must maintain a 1.5m pavement width
  4. Ensuring maintenance of trees and hedges that encroach on pavements
  5. Making a commitment that EV charging points and cycle storage will only be placed on pavements where 1.5m clearance width for pedestrians can be maintained; where there is insufficient space on the footway road space should be reallocated eg through the use of well-designed build outs.
  6. Ensuring that rental e-scooter parking is placed on the carriageway, and not on pavements – there is no need to sacrifice pedestrian space in order to support micromobility.
Living Streets

Some poor (and good) practice along Mill Road

Traditional street furniture
Bus stop near to al:amin stores, Mill Road. other details as caption.
Traditional bus stop replaced by passenger information board…
But the old pole remains, and the siting of the control box is out of line with the new pole.
Image as caption
Litter and recycling bins by Cho Mee stores, Mill Road. But why here?
This doesn’t seem like a litter hot-spot.

Image as caption
Wheelie-bins block the pavement on a side-street
A Rogues Gallery of vehicles along Mill Road’s pavements

Cycle stands
Image as caption
Cycle stands by Tu Casa obstruct the whole of the footway.
The area to the left is, legally, Tu Casa’s forecourt.
And, if they would like to have some outdoor seating, what then?
Cycle stands near the dry cleaner's on Mill Road.
Cycle stands on a shop forecourt are better, but cycles may ‘drift’ onto the footway.

The display-boards seen behind the cycle stands are on shop forecourts, but how many pedestrians know the difference?

The cycle stands in the slideshow below, however, are much better sited, being off the footway and well to the side of any pedestrian desire-lines.

If you would like to help cut the clutter on Cambridge’s streets, email Living Streets Cambridge.

You are also welcome to leave (polite) comments below.

Summer Shindig

Saturday 18th June 2022, Romsey Recreation ground

Poster – Summer Shindig – Saturday 18th June 2022, Romsey Recreation ground – 4pm - 9pm
For full details, click on the poster

The first Mill Road Fringe event of 2022 will be the Summer Shindig which will take place on Saturday 18th June from 4-9pm at Romsey Recreation Ground, Vinery Road.

Featuring live music, giant games, pebble painting and more, it promises to be a great family evening. Bring your own picnic (no barbecues though please), kick back and enjoy the summer!

Music will come courtesy of some amazing local bands:

  • Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble
  • The Scissors
  • The Electron Thieves
  • Mimsy and the Borogoves.

New Community Centre for Mill Road – information evening

NEW COMMUNITY CENTRE on the Ironworks site
Information Evening
27th April, 19.00-20.00
St Barnabas Centre, Mill Road
Everyone Welcome
Come along and find out more, share your ideas, have your say!
 
Would you like to run an activity, volunteer, help us fund-raise? CONTACT: helen@pactcambridge.org or admin@romseymill.org
Click the image to view/download a printable poster for this event

Everyone is welcome to attend this Information Evening, on Wednesday 27th April, 19:00-20:00 at St Barnabas Centre, Mill Road, CAMBRIDGE CB1 2BD. Maximum community participation is the best recipe for the success of this very welcome venture.

Since 1998, there has been an ongoing saga in Petersfield of the lack of community facilities. Many local people felt the loss of youth facilities due to the transformation of the Howard Mallett Centre (HMC), first into a multi-media centre from 1998, then leased to a local group who proposed building offices and housing (on land which was given in perpetuity to local residents “for rest and recreation”!)

Read more on the Petersfield Area Community Trust website.

Mill Road Bridges were delighted to learn in early 2020 that…

A new partnership of local community organisations has been appointed by Cambridge City Council to manage the new community centre that will be built as part of the ‘Ironworks’ housing scheme on the former Mill Road Depôt site.

Romsey Mill Trust and Petersfield Area Community Trust worked collaboratively to submit a successful tender to secure an initial 11-year lease to run the new community building for local residents and community groups to use. 

PLANNED NEW MILL ROAD COMMUNITY CENTRE

Fuller details of the project can be found in this Romsey Mill blogpost from Friday 31st January 2020 – Romsey Mill to manage new planned Mill Road Community Centre in partnership with Petersfield Area Community Trust.

If you would like to run an activity, volunteer, or help with fund-raising, click here to email helen@pactcambridge.org/admin@romseymill.org.


Whilst you are welcome to add comments, below, these will not be routinely monitored by Romsey Mill Trust and/or Petersfield Area Community Trust.

Mill Road Consultations (again)

Have your say on improving Mill Road

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is consulting on Mill Road and its potential future and want to hear from residents, people who visit, work on, or use Mill Road, and people who own businesses on and near the road, as well as people who travel through the area.

The consultation closes at midday on Monday 21st March 2022.

Image of cover of booklet mentioned in caption
Click on the image to visit the consultation page.
Click here to view/download the Mill Road Spring 2022 booklet (PDF)

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is the body set up under a ‘City Deal’ in agreement with (then) Chancellor, George Osborne, with a budget of over £500 million.

Venn diagram from Smarter Cambridge Transport, showing the complexity of local government bodies in Cambridgeshire
Image courtesy of Smarter Cambridge Transport

This consultation (and the related on-line ‘workshops’, run by Involve, UK’s leading public participation charity) are initial stages where the Greater Cambridge Partnership are asking the public for their views on a range of options for Mill Road. Read more about the consultation in the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s explanatory booklet (PDF).


Local groups welcome consultation

Camcycle (Cambridge Cycling Campaign), Mill Road Traders’ Association and local campaigning group Mill Road – A Street For People, issued a joint statement (PDF) welcoming a new round of consultation on improving Mill Road, recognising differences of views about how Mill Road could see improvements to safety, attractiveness of trade and an improved environment, and agreeing that the consultation must be carried out in an effective, fair and inclusive way. They did, however, express some reservations about the focus group ‘workshops’ mentioned above. As a result, an additional Sunday workshop session has been arranged. See below.

All are united in urging local residents, and everyone who travels or trades along Mill Road, to respond and share their views.


How else can I find out more, and give my views?

Greater Cambridge Partnership is holding public meetings, in-person drop-ins and a Sunday (on-line) workshop. All of these require (free) pre-registration. Find out more and register here – Public meetings, in-person drop-ins and Greater Cambridge Partnership workshop.

There will also be a Greater Cambridge Partnership East Community Forum (on-line) meeting, on Monday 21st March 2022. Projects that will be discussed include Cambridge Eastern Access, Chisholm Trail phases 1 & 2, Mill Road and the Greenways. Find out more and register here – Greater Cambridge Partnership East Community Forum meeting.


Wasn’t this issue settled in the summer of 2021?

The earlier Experimental Traffic Regulation Order, was brought in by Cambridgeshire County Council, at the behest of central government, with a degree of urgency, in response to health needs at that time. There was a consultation, during the experiment, whose outcome was unclear, owing to some people submitting multiple responses to the survey.

At the time a Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “…an open survey format was used. Unfortunately, this meant that the system was open to mischief-making – but duplicate entries and patterns can be spotted, as they were in this case.” New controversy over data on Mill Road bridge consultation in Cambridge By Gemma Gardner, Cambridge Independent, 27 October 2021.

At this point Cambridgeshire County Councillors on the Highways and Transport Committee voted to allow the road to reopen to general traffic, with the plan to ask for public views on the future of the road. In November 2021, the Highways and Transport Committee voted to ask the Greater Cambridge Partnership to carry out a further consultation on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council.

The latest consultation, which closes at midday on Monday 21st March 2022, is an initial stage to assess views on the future of Mill Road. When the Greater Cambridge Partnership, in collaboration with Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee have firm proposals there will be a full (statutory) consultation, ahead of implementation of any permanent Traffic Regulation Order.


Aren’t there a number of other issues?

Yes…

But the present blogpost might stretch into eternity if these were considered here. The questions below, and related issues, are considered in a related blogpost, currently in preparation – More thoughts on Mill Road’s future. (This link will work as soon as the associated blogpost is published.)


Many people appreciated the greater safety for foot and cycle traffic during the earlier bridge restrictions, others complained about the limitations to the use of motor-vehicles. Whatever your opinions, do click through to the Greater Cambridge Partnership Mill Road consultation page to make them known.

And please make full use of the three narrative responses to give the Greater Cambridge Partnership the benefit of your comprehensive views.


This post was updated on Monday 28th February 2022, to correct links to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s explanatory booklet (PDF), as the link had been changed, internally, on the consultation page.
It ws further updated to provide links to each section of the related blogpost– More thoughts on Mill Road’s future, and to clarify that this is now published.


Most of Mill Road Bridges’ blogposts are open to (polite) comments. This one is not, in order to collate comments in the related blogpost– More thoughts on Mill Road’s future.

More thoughts on Mill Road’s future

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is consulting on the potential future of Mill Road, and wants to hear from residents, people who visit, work on, or use Mill Road, and people who own businesses on and near the road, as well as people who travel through the area.

This post explores a number of related issues.

Image of cover of booklet mentioned in caption
Click on the image to visit the consultation page.
Click here to view/download the Mill Road Spring 2022 booklet (PDF)

For fuller details on this consultation, public meetings, in-person drop-ins and a Sunday (on-line) workshop, see our earlier blogpost – Mill Road Consultations (again).


What are the related issues?

Wasn’t this issue settled in the summer of 2021?

The earlier Experimental Traffic Regulation Order was brought in by Cambridgeshire County Council, at the behest of central government, with a degree of urgency, in response to health needs at that time. There was a consultation, during the experiment, whose outcome was unclear, owing to some people submitting multiple responses to the survey.

At the time a Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “…an open survey format was used. Unfortunately, this meant that the system was open to mischief-making – but duplicate entries and patterns can be spotted, as they were in this case.” New controversy over data on Mill Road bridge consultation in Cambridge By Gemma Gardner, Cambridge Independent, 27 October 2021.

At this point Cambridgeshire County Councillors on the Highways and Transport Committee voted to allow the road to reopen to general traffic, with the plan to ask for public views on the future of the road. In November 2021, the Highways and Transport Committee voted to ask the Greater Cambridge Partnership to carry out a further consultation on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Back to related issues index.


Will this consultation be an improvement?

The latest consultation, which closes at midday on Monday 21st March 2022, is an initial stage to assess views on the future of Mill Road.

The Mill Road Spring 2022 consultation uses the expertise of Bang the Table’s EngagementHQ Platform.

When and if the Greater Cambridge Partnership, in collaboration with Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee have firm proposals they are obliged to undertake a full (statutory) consultation, ahead of implementation of any permanent Traffic Regulation Order(s).

There are also related on-line ‘workshops’, run by Involve, UK’s leading public participation charity.

But you can’t please everyone…

An article – Mill Road traffic survey slammed by irate locals for being ‘too restrictive’ By Fareid Atta, Cambridge News, 25 February 2022 – highlights a number of arguments found on social media.

I feel [the survey] has been constructed to lead to an outcome they desire, and forcing you to vote for the status quo.

The questionnaire does not allow people to really affect the result by offering the “required” “yes”, “no” questions.

Two comments cited in the Cambridge News article linked above.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership’s explanatory booklet (PDF) outlines measures that could be put in place on Mill Road.
One of the survey questions asks:

How far are you supportive or unsupportive of the following three options for Mill Road? Please refer to pages 6-8 of the brochure.
Theme 1: Do nothing
Theme 2: Improve the quality of place
Theme 3: Changes to traffic and access in the medium and longer term

Mill Road 2022 consultation

Each ‘theme’ is outlined in full, and each can be answered on a scale of ‘Strongly support’ , through ‘Neither support nor oppose’, to ‘Strongly oppose’. What is “too restrictive” in that? See the slideshow below. Reading the detail will be clearer by viewing/downloading the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s explanatory booklet (PDF).

  • These images do not support reader technology. Please view/download the Greater Cambridge Partnership's explanatory booklet (PDF) mentioned earlier.
  • These images do not support reader technology. Please view/download the Greater Cambridge Partnership's explanatory booklet (PDF) mentioned earlier.
  • These images do not support reader technology. Please view/download the Greater Cambridge Partnership's explanatory booklet (PDF) mentioned earlier.

Moreover there are three open questions, each enabling an extended narrative response:

Do you have any other comments on the future of Mill Road?

Please comment if you feel any of the proposals would either positively or negatively affect or impact on any such person/s or group/s. [Relating to the potential impact on people of differing ethnic or religious groups, genders, people with disabilities, etc.]

Do you have any other comments about our proposals for Mill Road or how the road could function in the future?

Mill Road 2022 consultation

Quite how these questions are “too restrictive” is difficult to understand.

But I still find the questions unhelpful; I want to state my own views

If you really don’t like the questions, and would prefer to email your thoughts on the future of Mill Road, email consultations@greatercambridge.org.uk with the subject line “Mill Road Consultation spring 2022” or something very similar. Put as many paragraphs into your email as you wish and state your personal view. Add either your full address or all of your postcode except the last two letters. Your views will be recorded.

Back to related issues index.


Shouldn’t Mill Road take a ‘fair share’ of through motor-traffic?

This seems to be the view of Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge Business Improvement District.

We need to take a holistic view of city access and thus cannot just include one road, or even one bridge on one road. It is not surprising many Mill Road residents were happy with the closure – less traffic, cleaner air, and a nicer environment to walk and cycle. However, once the city did open up and visitors, workers and goods could not easily access the city, then the folly of a single-street solution became clear and it was demonstrated how unequal this approach is.

Mill Road can’t be viewed in isolation By Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge Business Improvement District, Sponsored feature, Cambridge Independent, 17 February 2022.

Sandison also writes:

Buses seem to be a popular solution and, to be fair, many workers would happily travel into Cambridge by bus if they were quick, available early and late at night, affordable, clean and green and the network was more comprehensive. This would make the city more attractive to workers and visitors who can be deterred by the current congestion issues. To really incentivise people to use buses we need them to be funded upfront so they have a positive alternative to their car.

ibid

That seems fair enough but, beyond any up-front ‘seedcorn’ injection of public funds, better bus services will require revenue schemes beyond farebox receipts. However, Sandison is on record for opposing a congestion charge which could provide exactly such a revenue stream.

Workers in the retail hospitality and leisure industries are towards the lower end of the pay scale. They often cannot afford to live in our beautiful city. They spend too long each day commuting, usually by car, since their home is poorly served by an inefficient and unavailable, at the right times, public transport system.

I was thus taken aback to read of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s plans to introduce a congestion charge…

Good COP or bad COP? It’s hard to tell By Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge Business Improvement District, Sponsored feature, Cambridge Independent, 18 November 2021.

Indeed Sandison is in favour of allowing commuters to park in our residential areas, adding to traffic congestion and obstructing the existing bus services.

Many … workers park on the public highway for free in the residential streets around the city…

Maintaining … on-street free parking and not having a congestion charge are essential if the city wishes to still be able to attract workers in this sector. I would ask those in favour of more residents’ parking schemes to consider this.

You can’t park here mate! Considering the Cambridge parking and congestion challenge By Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge Business Improvement District, Sponsored feature, Cambridge Independent, 20 January 2022.

Improved bus services and lower fares would help the least affluent residents and workers – those who cannot afford cars nor the petrol to fill their tanks, nor shiny new electric vehicles. But, how is it possible to improve public transport without reducing the volume of traffic passing through the city?

It is astonishing how (even in the midst of a climate crisis) there are those who imagine that poverty can be eased by further facilitating private motoring.

Why does the CEO of Cambridge Business Improvement District use advertorial, to comment on Mill Road, an area of the city which is outside their remit? Should they be permitted, as a body, rather than as individuals, to influence the current Mill Road consultation?

Unfettered access to the city centre by private vehicles might be in the interests of Cambridge Business Improvement District – though, arguably vastly improved public transport would be of better benefit – but could seriously disadvantage Mill Road as a shopping destination.

And there is no sign of Cambridge Cambridge Business Improvement District seeking to remove restrictions on vehicular access to St Andrew’s Street, Sidney Street, Bridge Street, Magdalene Street, St John’s Street, Trinity Street, King’s Parade and Market Street in the historic city centre, nor to Fitzroy Street and Burleigh Street in the Grafton Quarter.

Ian Sandison says that providing a better Mill Road in a single-street solution is unequal. In what way is this so? In a densely populated area with significant numbers of multi-occupancy homes, with many householders that use bikes and foot as their primary means of travel, in a city with relatively low ownership of cars, why shouldn’t priority be given to the Mill Road area to become the first low traffic neighbourhood?

Paul Lythgoe, Mill Road 4 People

Moreover, the extent to which motor-traffic is displaced onto other roads when a road is restricted and the degree to which that motor-traffic ‘evaporates’ (ie vehicular journeys are no longer made) is a moot point. Fortunately there is  Cambridge City Smart Sensor Traffic Count open data which monitors this.

Image as caption
Weekly motor vehicle volumes on Mill Road, Coldhams Lane and Cherry Hinton Road,
from June 2019 to October 2021. Click here to view a larger version, in a new tab.

Counterintuitively, the evidence is clear – the 2019 bridge closure for railway works and the 2020-21 bridge restrictions had no sustained impact on traffic levels on Coldham’s Lane and Cherry Hinton Road. Read more, here – traffic displacement: myth or reality?

Should Mill Road wait?

Back to related issues index.


But hasn’t Mill Road ‘always been an arterial route’?

No. Despite what is alleged on some social media, Mill Road has not ‘always been an arterial route’, neither is it designated as a primary or secondary distributor road. Look closely at this video of a present-day OpenStreetMap fading to an Ordnance Survey 1″ 7th series map. Check the east end of Mill Road before the construction of Barnwell Road.

Video created from National Library of Scotland’s Explore Georeferenced Maps page.
The link should allow you to drag the slider (bottom left) to explore the maps yourself.

The use of roads in shopping and residential areas is always evolving. In the 1960s, the A10, A45 and A604 ran through central Cambridge, with Regent Street, St Andrew’s Street, Sidney Street, Bridge Street, Magdalene Street, St John’s Street, Trinity Street, King’s Parade and Trumpington Street all designated as trunk roads.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership are currently reviewing Cambridge’s ‘Road Network Hierarchy’ under which Mill Road would be designated a ‘Local Access Street’. Should Mill Road wait?

Back to related issues index.


So, what makes Mill Road special, and different from other routes into the city?

Mill Road is very much a destination for people seeking to source specialist foods and to sample cuisine from around the globe. It has a higher proportion of independent shops, cafés & restaurants than any other Cambridge street.

Travel beyond Reality Checkpoint on Parkers Piece and you might see that Mill Road is a fairly unique place in Cambridge. There is a vibrant street life from end to end with independent cafés, restaurants, and shops. The bridge restriction made the road a safer place to be for all. Active travel to destinations within Mill Road and as a through route to the city was encouraged. Mill Road 4 People have surveyed and talked to local residents and visitors.  We know how it was changing people’s lives and helping them choose active modes of transport. 

Paul Lythgoe, Mill Road 4 People

Mill Road is also the proud home of the beautiful Cambridge Central Mosque, its advanced eco-design giving it a near-zero carbon footprint. It will soon be home (again) to a carved stone archway. Saved after it was removed from a former Hindu temple, it could be installed in the garden of Ditchburn Place, a sheltered housing community, and former maternity hospital, subject to planning approval. Read more here: Hindu temple arch looks set for Cambridge garden home By Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 25 February 2022.

We have, indeed, previously asked is Mill Road – the high street of a small town within Cambridge city?

However, not only is Mill Road a high street it is also a residential street with over 200 front doors opening onto the street behind which there live over 1,000 residents.

Nearly all premises along Mill Road are residential in whole, or in part, with over a mile of front doors and front windows situated less than 5 metres from the carriageway. This distinguishes Mill Road from all other approaches to the city centre from whatever direction, particularly roads which were developed later, with wider footways, verges and, in many cases, long front gardens separating most residential accommodation from the carriageway.

This makes residents particularly vulnerable to illnesses caused by pollution and to road accidents. Stepping outside their homes can cause injury, as mounting pavements is deemed to be the acceptable norm by passing motorists and by some cyclists avoiding the heavy motor traffic.

We support active travel initiatives across the city but we say that we have been endlessly consulted and promised change – specifically in Mill Road which is always kicked down the road in favour of a ‘holistic’ approach – which may or may not be delivered.

It is absolutely time that something is done and done now to make Mill Road a safer and better place. It will be an exemplar for other initiatives across the city, and following the link through to the north of the city along the Chisholm Trail to Mill Road it will be easily and quickly accessible to so many more. 

Paul Lythgoe, Mill Road 4 People

What Lythgoe asserts about Mill Road waiting, and waiting is amply illustrated by this 1973 clipping from the Cambridge Evening News. Presumably, this being before 1974’s local government reorganisation into two-tier councils, the report will have been on the priorities of the Highways Committee of the Borough of Cambridge.
Perhaps Cambridge Town Owl, Antony Carpen, can confirm or correct this.

Image is of a clipping from Cambridge News, 1973, detailing the highway priorities of Cambridge City Council.

Priorities

They include:

Preparatory work on the Arbury estate peripheral road, the dualling of the south end of East Road and the Napier Street link between East Road and Newmarket Road.
The expansion of car parking with reviews of parking meter charges and policies.
Pedestrianisation in the city centre.
A study into the possible reversal of the City centre one-way system. with some priority facilities for cyclists and buses“
A feasibility study of the “railway route.”
Ii" Ejahvestig‘atiod into the t‘Siossi-
Investigation into the possibility of traffic lights at Mitcham’s Corner, and a Cherry Hinton by-pass.
A study into the possible widening of city centre footpaths and the improvement of cycle bridges over the River Cam at Chesterton.
Closure of Mill Road to all traffic except buses, cycles and service vehicles.
A review of private off-street parking facilities.

Mill Road welcomes destination traffic, by foot, cycle, bus and motor vehicle. Motor traffic needs to be facilitated by clear signage to existing parking facilities, and by more on-street (but off-pavement) short-term parking.

Should Mill Road wait?

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Will the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Cambridge Road Network Hierarchy Review solve the problem?

The two maps, below illustrate the basic idea. If they alternate too quickly, press the pause button.

This work forms a key component of the City Access work to achieve City Deal objectives of improving public transport and active travel opportunities, reducing traffic and vehicle emissions, and contributing to the net-zero agenda. A review of the road network hierarchy would be the subject of a public consultation in summer 2022.

Cambridge Road Network Hierarchy Review
Report to Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly 17th February 2022

For those who’d like to read the full detail of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s draft network hierarchy, the papers, from the Thursday 17th February 2022 Joint Assembly agenda pack, can be viewed/downloaded in full, here (pp 36-53).

For the rest of us, an excellent summary –Biggest shake-up of Cambridge road network for 40 years, by Gemma Gardner, Cambridge Independent, may be read here.

Will this affect Mill Road?

Certainly, however, there does not, as yet, appear to be a timescale on implementation.

Should Mill Road wait?

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Road safety – the Police and Crime Commissioner’s view.

Darryl Preston, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is concerned that the road hierarchy review is insufficiently focussed on road safety.

I would like to highlight an important issue for consideration when discussing proposals for your Cambridge Road Network Hierarchy Review on 17th February.

As you will be aware, road safety is a key theme in my Police and Crime Plan. As a former police officer, I personally dealt with far too many serious injuries and fatal incidents and saw for myself the devastation these avoidable incidents can have on loved ones.

For the 3 years pre-pandemic, there were an average 69 Killed or Seriously injured (KSI) casualties in Cambridge city every year – 62% of these were cyclists and a further 16% pedestrians, making nearly 4/5 of all KSI casualties in the city pedestrians or cyclists.

I am sure you are all committed, as I am, to supporting the county’s Vision Zero Strategy to eliminate road deaths. I would therefore urge you to consider making road safety a more explicit priority or objective within the core of the Review document. I appreciate that there is some reference to it already and a number of measures already included could be interpreted as contributing to safer roads. However, given that this is such a serious issue, I strongly believe that any strategy or policy documents relating to our roads should explicitly include ‘safer roads’ as a priority. With that comes an ability to deliver outcome metrics based on safety which in turn can look at contributory funding. 

I urge you to take my recommendation forward and would welcome further discussion.

Darryl Preston, Police and Crime Commissioner
Email to Greater Cambridge Partnership members, ahead of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly Thursday 17th February 2022
And Mill Road’s safety…

It is worth noting that, following a Freedom of Information request, data from Cambridgeshire Police named Mill Road as the worst-affected single road for injuries over the past three years. Read more: Mill Road named most dangerous road in Cambridge by Krystian Schneyder, Varsity, Monday January 31 2022.

Further detail on Mill Road’s collisions, using Data from DfT/police STATS19, from 1999-2020, is mapped in this link. (Thanks to Martin L-S.)

Should Mill Road wait?

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Will the ‘Cambridge Eastern Access Project’ resolve matters for Mill Road?

The project will, will include Mill Road, but it will be a be a long time coming.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership held an eight-week public consultation on the Cambridge Eastern Access Project, which closed to comments on 18th December 2020. On 1st July 2021 the Executive Board approved the Strategic Outline Business Case that confirmed there is a strategic case – and public support – for improvements to public transport, cycling and walking for those travelling into Cambridge from the east. The Thursday 17th February 2022 Joint Assembly agenda pack, shows this project to be in the ‘Early Design’ stage, with a ‘Forecast Completion Date’ of 2027. Reference here (p93).

Should Mill Road wait?

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Why consult on Mill Road, alone?

One argument that is often put forward against traffic restrictions on Mill Road is that it should be done in the context of city-wide traffic reduction measures.

On the face of it, this is a seductive argument – who wouldn’t want to see lower traffic and pollution over the whole of the city? But in our view, that goal is totally compatible with starting work on Mill Road at the earliest possible opportunity.

Liz Walter, Mill Road 4 People, Saturday 19th February 2022

Liz, posting on behalf of Mill Road 4 People, cites speeding motor-vehicles, dangerous overtaking, pavement parking and air pollution levels regularly exceeding WHO guidelines, amongst other reasons why Mill Road can’t wait. See: Why Mill Road can’t wait for a city-wide plan

Councillor Neil Shailer, Romsey County Division, Labour, speaking at the Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly on 17th February 2022 argued that Traffic Regulation Orders for Mill Road need to be prioritised within the context of city access, as accident statistics confirm that Mill Road is the most dangerous road in the city.

The special characteristics of Mill Road noted above suggest that Mill Road should be prioritised as this has the potential to improve the well-being of the greatest number of people.  It would be impractical to deal with all of the city’s traffic and transport problems on a ‘big-bang’ citywide basis at exactly the same time as imposing all mooted measures across the city simultaneously would cause chaos. They need to be phased.

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Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s view

Camcycle’s position is that motor-traffic on Mill Road needs to be substantially reduced and that this is best achieved through a modal filter to prevent through motor-traffic while allowing cycling and walking journeys the full length of the road. It should be possible to exempt some motor vehicles such as those required for time-critical deliveries or to transport disabled people.

Camcycle’s vision for Mill Road sets out how Mill Road could be improved, following the reduction of traffic, to create a vibrant place for people where community and local business can thrive. Their summary can be read here: Camcycle guide to the Mill Road consultation – Spring 2022.

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Have your say on improving Mill Road

The consultation closes at midday on Monday 21st March 2022.

For fuller details on this consultation, public meetings, in-person drop-ins and a Sunday (on-line) workshop, see our earlier blogpost – Mill Road Consultations (again).

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Like most of Mill Road Bridges’ blogposts this post is open to (polite) comments, relating to this post or to our earlier post – Mill Road Consultations (again).