Douglas Higgins, Project Director at First Base, writes
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to introduce First Base and our emerging proposals for a new mixed-use neighbourhood in Cambridge.
We would like to invite you to our planned public consultation and associated workshops to help inform our plans.
The site, currently a Travis Perkins depot, is located on Devonshire Road, close to Mill Road bridge and is five minutes’ walk from Cambridge station. Travis Perkins will be relocating to a new state-of-the-art branch in Cambridge, providing an enhanced offering to its customers.
First Base – with RPMI Railpen (the investment manager for the railways pension scheme) – acquired the site earlier this year. We have already started discussions with local stakeholders to help guide our plans for a modern mixed-use quarter, comprising homes, workspace, leisure, and community spaces, arranged around new public gardens. The development – which aspires to be largely car free – will include a dedicated cycle hub and will create new pedestrian and cycle routes linking it to the station.
As part of our wider discussions with stakeholders and other interested groups, we are launching a digital public consultation on these proposals running from 09.00 on Monday 30 November until 21.00 on Sunday 13 December 2020, providing the local community with an opportunity to view our initial ideas for the site and share any comments and feedback.
This information is available here, on the dedicated Devonshire Gardens website. In addition, the consultation is being promoted across social media and in the local press, with newsletters posted to residents in the surrounding area and a freephone telephone number provided for questions and queries 0800 130 31 31.
We will be hosting a series of public webinars during this period, which will include a live, online presentation by – and Q&A with – members of the project team.
The first workshop was:
Topic: Character and Sense of Place Date: Wednesday 2nd December 2020 (12.30-13.30) Location: Zoom Meeting Platform (Online)
We are also running workshops on Walking, Cycling and Active Travel and Liveability, Health and Open Spaces. Please do let us know if you would also like to attend either of these.
These workshops will provide us with a deeper understanding about issues and opportunities relating to the site itself and how it relates to the wider neighbourhood and beyond. As such, we would greatly appreciate your insights. All workshops will be recorded and uploaded to our website if you are unable to participate in the live session.
If you would like to attend any of the above sessions, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a welcome pack with more details. Alternatively, if you would prefer to discuss the scope of these sessions over the phone, we would be happy to arrange a convenient time to speak with you.
In addition, if you would like to be put in touch with a particular member of the project team regarding our proposals for the site, please mention your interest within your RSVP and we will contact you to arrange a conversation.
In the meantime, if you have any questions specifically relating to our upcoming consultation, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Douglas Higgins, Project Director at First Base
Liam Ronan‑Chlond, Stakeholder & External Relations at First Base adds:
In addition, you may be interested to know that we are also researching the current Mill Road offer to better understand the local character, in a short exploratory survey here.
Whilst this blogpost is open for (polite) comments, please note that these will not form part of First Base’s consultation, nor will the Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire Joint Planning Service be able to take into account any views expressed here, when a planning application is, eventually, submitted.
Mill Road Bridges welcomes this consultation, which follows years of campaigning, nationally and locally. Parliamentarians of all parties, on the Transport Committee, including Cambridge’s MP, Daniel Zeichner, have been looking at this problem for some time. This could herald major improvements to shopping along Mill Road.
We very much welcome the government’s consultation on dealing with pavement parking. This is the culmination of many years of campaigning by national transport groups and disability groups, as well as local campaigning by us and others.
Parking of cars on pavements is a scourge which can be seen all around the city. It makes it difficult for people walking, using buggies, using wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and people with visual impairments. It damages pavements, and in general treats other road users with a lack of courtesy. It causes injuries and deaths of people walking, particularly children, as a result of drivers trying to park their cars on the pavement.
New research by Guide Dogs shows the wide variety of people affected by pavement parking, and the everyday impact it has on their lives. Nine in ten disabled people, including those with sight loss, mobility scooter users, and parents or carers with children said they had been affected by pavement parking.
Many towns and cities were not designed to accommodate today’s high traffic levels; and at some locations, especially in residential areas with narrow roads and no driveways, the pavement is the only place to park without obstructing the carriageway. However, irrespective of whether pavement parking is deemed necessary, there are inherent dangers for all pedestrians; being forced onto the carriageway and into the flow of traffic. This is particularly difficult for people with sight or mobility impairments, and those with prams or buggies. While resulting damage to the pavement and verges is uppermost, a trip hazard, maintenance and personal injury claims are also a cost to local authorities.
Whilst some sections of Mill Road’s pavements look wide, a large part of what you think is the pavement may be the shops’ forecourt, which they can use for outdoor stalls, seating or displays.
When cars, vans and lorries pull onto the pavement, it leaves little room for people to walk past. It’s even harder if you’re pushing a child’s buggy, or using a wheelchair. And should you have to pull your toddler out of the way of somebody’s car?
But isn’t pavement parking already illegal?
Since 1974, parking on pavements, with certain exceptions, has been prohibited in Greater London… [with] Exemptions at specific locations … indicated by traffic signs… The reverse applies elsewhere in England, where parking on pavements and verges is permitted unless specifically prohibited by a … Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). The DfT is currently … looking at how … to make TROs easier to implement, including for pavement parking.
The offence of unnecessary obstruction of the highway, which includes the road as well as the pavement … allow[s] proceedings to be brought by the police … where parking on the pavement, in such a way as to cause obstruction, is … avoidable.
Understandably, CamCycle complain that “The police have failed to take action to address pavement parking,” however, as has been pointed out elsewhere on this website…
Cambridgeshire County Council have had powers to deal with this for over nine years.
Councils with civil parking enforcement powers (including Cambridgeshire County Council) were given ‘special authorisation’ in February 2011 by the (then) Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Norman Baker, to prohibit parking on footways and verges, wherever they considered it necessary. This would be through a traffic regulation order (TRO, or ETRO).
Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 allows most types of parking contraventions to be enforced by local authorities [in our case Cambridgeshire County Council – Ed] as a civil matter, instead of as a criminal matter by the police. enforcement ceases to be the responsibility of the police and becomes the responsibility of the local authority…
Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs)… place Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) on offending vehicles [and] the local authority retains the proceeds from the penalty charges, which are used to finance the enforcement…* Any surpluses must be used for prescribed purposes only.
❌ Cambridgeshire County Council would be under no obligation to do anything. The County have had powers to use TROs to deal with pavement parking for over nine years – powers they have not used, despite there being no cost to council tax payers. Option 1 would, effectively, mean no change to having to dodge cars, taxis, vans and lorries on Mill Road’s pavements.
❌ The same issues apply. Option 2 is simply an extension to the powers which Cambridgeshire County Council have been ignoring for nearly a decade. Would anything change?
✅ The effect of a national pavement parking prohibition would be to reverse the current situation. Cambridgeshire County Council would be obliged to enforce the ban, and would also have to decide where to allow pavement parking. (And, if drivers ignore the ban, the PCN revenue may even help to fill a few potholes.)
We can see why CamCycle write…
We encourage residents to respond positively to the government’s consultation and to support option 3 … In the meanwhile, we continue to ask why the police are not doing more to keep pavements clear for pedestrians.
Nothing would change about the parking arrangements along the narrow sections of (eg) Cockburn Street, Thoday Street and Catharine Street, unless residents asked for change.
Local authorities would be expected to decide where pavement parking remained necessary and to introduce the necessary exemptions and to place traffic signs and bay markings to indicate where pavement parking is permitted. The bay could be placed completely on the pavement where there is sufficient width, or part on / part off.
What would change, is that it would become unlawful to pull any vehicle onto any of Mill Road’s pavements – and the same across the whole of Cambridge – except for specific exemptions. These would include:
fire brigade purposes
delivery, collection, loading or unloading of goods to, or from any premises, in the course of business; where this cannot reasonably be carried out without the vehicle being parked on a pavement