Traders overwhelmingly in favour of re-opening Mill Road bridge to cars

“The current bridge restrictions are having a detrimental effect on Mill Road Traders, residents and shoppers”

This was the message delivered by Shapour Meftah, chair of Mill Road Traders’ Association to senior County Councillors, council officers and contractors, at a meeting, on Wednesday 9th September at 2.30pm on Donkey Common, (next to Parkside Pools).

Cambridgeshire County Council and contractors were represented by Chair and Vice Chair of Highways and Transport Committee, Ian Bates and Mark Howell, contractor Skansa’s Principle Engineer, Anthony Eades, and County officers; Sonia Hansen (Traffic Manager) and Andhika Caddy (Engineer).

Traders cited these reasons for opposing the bridge restrictions:

  • Added extra time to people’s daily travel/commute 
  • Causing not less but MORE pollution because alternative routes for car drivers take longer and are over-congested
  • No access to disabled badge holders and emergency vehicles
  • The bollards and barriers have narrowed the road and resulted in more major traffic incidents along Mill Road and danger to cyclists and pedestrians 
  • The dangers of the build out particularly to cyclists with on coming traffic as well as buses which try to overtake parents with their children 
  • Disconnecting people from one side of Mill road to the other; It was explained to those present that Mill Road is not divided by the two boundaries it is ONE road 
  • Following  the 2019 rail works on the bridge and the ongoing gas works one obstacle after another has paralysed businesses and Mill Road has not been given a chance to get back on its feet after months of national pandemic lockdown and enforced closure of businesses
  • Closing the bridge hasn’t helped at all towards social distancing which is, by the government’s own admission not such a risk when passing someone in the street (sic on the closed bridge itself which was the contrived reason given for its closure) whereas gathering or waiting outside restaurants may be
  • People don’t feel safe walking; the government emphasis on encouraging people not to use public transport has made people feel that they are safer in their cars.
  • A number of shops are closing down on Mill Road due to the lack of footfall which has been caused by the bridge closure to cars

The Mill Road Traders’ Association Survey results and the ongoing Open Mill Road Bridge Petition which has already attracted over 2000 signatures was  presented to Councillor Ian Bates and his team.

The survey assessed the impact of the bridge restrictions on both traders and residents within the Petersfield and Romsey wards.  187 Businesses were sent out surveys and 170 responses were received. The 17 businesses which did not respond are no longer trading at this moment. See graphics, below.

  • 4.8 % (8 businesses) in Mill Road support the current restrictions
  • 87.6% of businesses want the bridge fully open
  • 7.6 % of businesses don’t mind
  • 92.9 % are independent businesses
  • 7.1 % are not independent
  • 100% of businesses felt that the Council Consultation was inadequate
  • 76.5% of independent businesses say that they are suffering
  • 17.6% of businesses report no change
  • 5.9% say they have benefitted from the restrictions

Councillor Ian Bates responded was that the County Council are listening and will will be reviewing the results of the Mill Road Traders’ Association survey. For the time being, Traders and Residents have been advised by the County Council to send all their objections to: policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Leading members of Mill Road Traders’ Association say that they doubt the sincerity of this ‘listening’, noting that the Minister of Transport who awarded the funds to the county for these ‘temporary measures’ Grant Shapps has forced his own constituency at Welwyn to reverse the restrictions on the high street saying that it benefitted no one.


See this comment, relating to one of our other posts about the one-way scheme and suspension of parking bays in Welwyn.

Mill Road Bridges Web Editor

The Mill Road Traders’ Association can be contacted for comments at millroadtraders@gmail.com.


Please note: Mill Road Bridges is happy to publish views from any section of Mill Road’s Community of Communities. And to host comments, replies and debate.

The publication of this post by Mill Road Bridges should not be considered an endorsement of the views of the Mill Road Traders’ Association nor of the objections to the Mill Road traffic-reduction measures and associated restrictions on the railway bridge. Neither should this statement be read as one of opposition to their views.

The press release, upon which this post is based, released under the name of Shapour Meftah, Chair, Mill Road Traders’ Association, continues with allegations of ‘collaboration’ and ‘bias’.

Mill Road Bridges does not wish to censor any viewpoint but declines to publish such allegations. Were the press release to be found on the Mill Road Traders’ Association website, we would link to that, for people to view and form their own opinion. The Traders’ website, however, does not appear to have been updated recently.

We take a similar attitude to comments on our website. We aspire to host polite debate on all matters concerning Mill Road.


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Energy saving offer for Cambridgeshire residents

We reproduce the Cambridgeshire County Council press release in full, and thank Petersfield County Cllr Linda Jones for alerting us to this scheme.

It sounds as if it’s ideal for Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities’.

Click on the image to visit the Solar Together page for Cambridgeshire

Households across Cambridgeshire will soon have the opportunity to club together to buy and install solar panels at a reduced price.

The County Council and District Councils have joined forces with Solar Together as part of the initiative to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

From 1 September households and small and medium-sized enterprises can register for free and without obligation for the group-buying scheme, by visiting www.solartogether.co.uk/cambridgeshire When they register online for their complete solar PV system, applicants will be asked questions about their house, roof, and electricity usage.

The County Council will then arrange an auction with pre-vetted installers on 6 October. The auction is a reverse auction, meaning the lowest bid wins. The winning bid sets the price for all solar systems and battery systems. All installers are pre-vetted and must comply with certain criteria to guarantee the quality of the offer.

After the auction applications will receive a personal recommendation based on their registration details. They then have six weeks to decide if they want to take up the recommendation and proceed with an installation.

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity. In order to use this energy, the panels mounted on a roof need to be connected to an inverter using cables. The Solar Together offer is for a complete service, including all equipment, survey, installation, monitoring and warranties. Afterwards households or businesses will automatically generate their own electricity from the panels on their roof.

Households that already have solar panels installed can also register to have battery storage added to their ex­isting solar panels to maximise the benefits of their system.

Cambridgeshire County Council press release

I wholeheartedly support this excellent initiative. Solar panels are a sound investment. Households will be saving money on their electricity bills, as well as helping to reduce CO₂ emissions and support a sustainable future through increased generation of renewable energy.

Cllr Josh Schumann, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee

Gas Works – Important Update

Triio, contractors for Cadent Gas, are returning to Mill Road to complete works from last year. Whilst the street sign informing of impending works, which went up a couple of weeks ago, indicated the main focus from the commencement date of Monday 27th July would be near the city end of Mill Road, a letter sent to traders appeared to suggest it was the whole of Mill Road.

Understandably, as we and the Cambridge Independent have reported, Mill Road’s traders were extremely concerned.

On investigation Cllr Linda Jones, Cambridgeshire County Councillor for Petersfield Division, found that the planned Triio/Cadent work was for connections from the new gas main to individual premises, only on the stretch of Mill Road between Mortimer Road and Mackenzie Road.

The planned work, Linda reports, is as follows:

Phase 1, when it starts, will be between Mortimer Road and Guest Road, with two-way signals. This will last four weeks and initially the closed section will be on the southwestern (shops) side as Triio accesses the new gas main (laid last year) to do the connections to the shops. After that the closed section will be the pavements on the residential side, with temporary footways created in the roadway, still with two-way signals but on the other side of the road. Triio/Cadent will, again, be connecting individual properties to the new gas main.

Phase 2 will be between Guest Road and Mackenzie Road and will take around three weeks. There will be three-way signals to enable exit/entry from side roads. Again, works will start on the shops’ side and then move to the residential side.

During the past week, Cllr Jones has been negotiating with Triio and the Cambridgeshire County Council Streetworks team, to achieve the best way forward.

The gas works have been delayed from the planned date of Monday 27th July since the build-outs will need to be removed to allow short stretches of one-way traffic with temporary signals. Linda has also pushed for the ever-deepening potholes to be filled quickly, lest that whole section of carriageway collapse. The potholes have now been repaired.

Cllr Jones has now informed us that the gas connection works will start on Monday 3rd August. Triio will be doing the work in two stages as described before.

Linda also adds:

“As we ‘survivors’ from last summer know, there could be minor delays if antiquated connectors at properties need replacing. But there is no other work currently scheduled for Mill Road.”

Cllr Linda Jones, Cambridgeshire County Councillor for Petersfield Division

Our thanks are due to Cllr Jones for her assiduous work to look after the interests of Mill Roaders.


See also these related items:


The Gas Man Cometh (Again)

Just as you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

Privatised gas-main utility Cadent, with its contractor Triio, has seven weeks of disruption planned for Mill Road.

And you thought that the gas-main replacement work was all done in the summer (and autumn) of 2019? It seems not, as this letter, received by a local trader, on the Petersfield (city) side of Mill Road bridge, reveals.

At the time of publishing this post, it was unclear whether this work would be limited to the Petersfield (city) side of Mill Road bridge, or wopuld also take place on the Romsey side. It would now appear that:

The gas works by Cadent are set to start at the junction with Mackenzie Road and end at the four-way junction of Mill Road, Parkside, Gonville Place and East Road. They are currently set to run from July 27 to September 11.

Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 24 July 2020

Dear Gas Customer,

We’re improving the gas pipes in your street – we need to temporarily disconnect your gas supply

We look after the gas pipes in your area, and we’re committed to keeping you safe and warm. To ensure you continue to receive a reliable gas supply, we are going to replace the pipes in your street. We will need to turn off your gas supply for a short time and gain access to your property.

Working with our partners TRIIO, we plan to start this work between 27.07.2020 and 27.09.2020, and we expect it to last approximately 07 week(s).

We recognise that you may have concerns about COVID-19, and we want to reassure you that your safety is our number one priority. All our engineers follow the latest guidance from the Government. You can find more about this at cadentgas.com/coronavirus.

What you need to do

  • If you or anyone in your home is seIf-isolating and/or shielding, let us know as soon as possible – if you haven’t already done so – using the contact details overleaf. It’s very important you do this, so we can put measures in place to keep everyone safe.
  • We will need access to your property on the day your supply is turned off and at various times throughout the day, including access to your gas appliances once your supply has been reconnected. Someone over 18 must be present to allow the work inside the property to take place. Please do not ask a friend or neighbour to be present. We’ll update you with a specific date closer to the time.
  • All of our engineers carry an identity card; please ask to see this before allowing anyone into your property.
  • Ensure that your landlord knows you have received this letter, and let us know of any potential hazards e.g. asbestos, family pets, that might impact our work as we would like to discuss these before the start date to ensure we work safely.
  • Consider postponing any plans to resurface your driveway or landscape your garden as our works may require digging outside your property.
  • It would be helpful if you could remove any obstructions from around your gas meter before we start work.

You can find more information in the enclosed leaflet or at www.bettergaspipes.co.uk. If you have any questions or concerns – or to let us know that someone in your home is self-isolating and/or shielding – please call us on 0800 151 2404 or email wecare@cadentgas.com.

Yours faithfully,

Cadent Mains Replacement Customer Team


Understandably, Mill Road’s independent traders are concerned…

Beleaguered traders who say the closure of Mill Road bridge in Cambridge to motorists has caused chaos and damaged trade are reeling after it was announced that they now face seven weeks of gas pipe repairs in the street.

They warned it could be the “last nail in our coffin” following the lockdown.

Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 24 July 2020

Read the full article: Gas works ‘last nail in coffin’ for Mill Road in Cambridge say traders


Some thoughts about the implications come to mind:

  • With the Cambridgeshire County Council’s ‘pavement-widening’ barriers and Cadent/Triio’s will any bus, taxi or delivery vehicle be able to navigate Mill Road?
  • As the arguments rage about the effectiveness of the Wider footways, barriers and bridge closure and its effects on trade, how will we disentangle the effects of Cambridgeshire County Council’s initiative, from Covid-19 fear of leaving home and the latest Cadent/Triio work?

And one final thing, just in case anyone didn’t catch the reference in the title of this post…

Your (polite) comments are welcome, below. Be as critical as you wish, but any unacceptable words/phrases will be removed.


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