The Greater Cambridge Partnership’s (GCP) purpose is to “secure Greater Cambridge’s future through multi-million pound improvements in vital infrastructure”. The GCP are now looking at the transport infrastructure network that brings visitors into Cambridge from the East.
And this project will affect anyone living or working in the area including Newmarket Road, Coldhams Lane and Mill Road.
The County Council have just published a survey to gather our feedback on the changes on Mill Road. These emergency measures, including leaving the bridge open just to pedestrians, cyclists and buses, are in a 6 month consultation period, after which the County Council will decide whether the scheme should continue, be amended or be cancelled altogether. The consultation period ends in December this year.
Anyone who lives anywhere can complete this, so it’s particularly important that local residents respond. The weight of public opinion will have a significant impact on how the County decides to proceed… you can complete the survey here:
We believe that this scheme should be retained on grounds of both Covid safety and encouraging active travel, although we need to continue to press for improvements . And there has been plenty of evidence that footfall is returning to Mill Road – in contrast to the City Centre which as you may have noticed sadly now has a number of boarded up shops.
Please do respond to this even if you have already emailed in to the firstname.lastname@example.org address.
Your local councillors are also organising a delegation of local residents to meet the chair of the County Council Highways committee, and to press for the changes to be retained and improved. If you would like to be part of that please email us. Thanks!
Last month we invited your thoughts on Mill Road. We asked what would encourage you to spend more time and money with our local Mill Road shops.
We’ve now collated all the responses that we received – many thanks go to everyone who took the time to contribute their thoughts. Here’s a summary of the results:
Provision of an “Attractive street environment – e.g. art, planting” got the highest support.
Comments reflected the poor visual state of the streetscape – e.g. the use of roadworks hardware…
People wanting safe sheltered spaces to enjoy food and drink also featured strongly.
Al Casbah showing the way in this pic with their on-street counter service…
We’ll continue to press the County Council to allocate resources which would allow these ideas to be realised.
Some of your comments
I feel bad for the traders who are having a difficult time, but I do feel that keeping the bridge closed is the right thing to do. It makes the street much safer for those who walk and cycle, and there is much less air pollution. I know some traders think that this has reduced the volume of trade, but it is surely just as likely that the lack of students and visitors is causing this. I know a lot of locals are trying to shop locally, but without students there just aren’t as many people around.
C.W., Vinery Rd
With outside spaces sheltered from rain and sunshine, I could eat out. I miss live music. I love it not being a through road.
M.O., Devonshire Rd
It’s a question of what shops and what they are selling. It’s often the case these days that you can order the same items from argos or amazon for cheaper and get a same-day free delivery to your doorstep. To some degree we might just need to accept that shopping habits have changed, and people don’t need some of these shops anymore. There is no value in trying to hold onto past memories of shopping habits, we need a future based strategy that includes investment that supports shopper’s habits in the years to come. Mill RD won’t stop a national decline in shopping, but it can take a larger proportion of the ‘Cambridge spend’ with some proper thought.
M.R., Sedgwick St
Copy Dutch cities such as Utrecht/Amsterdam, copy other successful pedestrianising projects – without constant trucks, cars and buses Mill Rd would become the go to place in the whole city. Like the Mill Rd Winter Fair. A weekly farmer’s market would drive that rebranding, and the affluent local community would support it. We need to buy local anyway.
C.F., Cavendish Rd
Regularly shop at al Amin, arjuna, cutlacks and pop-in postoffice. Pleased to see that amnesty book shop is reopening. V frustrated at yet more road works. This seems to be sabotaging everything.
We’d love to come back to eat at SeaTree and other Mill Road restaurants, but as we don’t live immediately on mill road we would like to see tables spaced out in the street so we could eat safely and pleasantly in the open air… Even if what we had was a takeaway and a pint of beer. Could mill road becomes like one of those food courts you see in some countries.. Where you can buy from a variety of food stalls, and then eat your various meals together with your family members on a communual table. Surely this is easy to do in that stretch of Mill Road, because the road is plenty wide enough for half to be allocated to traders.
A.M. Eltisley Ave
The area of Mill Road has become quite inaccessible for me as I have a baby and find it hard to walk without going in the road. There is always a van on the pavement opposite Cavendish Road and normally one outside the Al Amin. The bridge closure is great but the rest of the street is a nightmare. Much of it is becoming such a mess with rubbish and gas canisters everywhere and abandoned buildings. I really hope it improves, the bridge closure remains and is permanent, and the street is allowed to shine.
The economic impacts of Covid-19 are badly affecting many of our Mill Road shops.
Some traders have coped OK. Some traders have been able to make modifications to their businesses in order to adapt. But others are closing down or have been put under significant economic pressure.
We want to see Mill Road remain a vibrant street in the heart of our community. Further down the page you can tell us how we could best work together to achieve that.
Covid-19: National Retail Impact
The Office for National Statistics’ figures show online shopping has risen substantially since the start of lockdown and continues at historically high levels. At the same time there has been a dramatic reduction in fuel consumption throughout Britain. These national trends have hit those stores without an online presence hardest.
Overall 57% of all businesses in the UK are now suffering a serious downturn.
Monitoring shows that footfall in Mill Rd has fallen in line with similar UK high streets.
There are much lower student numbers in Cambridge right now. Fewer people are walking and cycling down Mill Road to go to the city centre. Both factors will adversely affect traders.
We have large numbers of businesses on Mill Road which by their nature can’t provide online services. And others need physical customers walking through the door in order to thrive – e.g. some restaurants simply can’t survive with online orders alone.
Most of our traders need more “real” customers back on Mill Road.
Where Does Mill Road Go From Here?
Residents & traders should collaborate! We will be campaigning to make Mill Road a more attractive destination for all shoppers, while maintaining covid safety standards. And we must work to ensure that already disadvantaged groups (e.g. the chronically sick and the disabled) are not further penalised by the bridge closure.
Ideas, Ideas, Ideas!
We want your ideas. Please tell us about them using the form below!
We’ll collate the responses, and then feedback to you. We’ll also provide an opportunity for discussion in a public zoom meeting, date tbc.
The changes will mitigate the risk of Covid-19 transmission by making social distancing possible and safe. They will also make it easier and safer to walk and cycle, and ensure bus journey times are predictable.
A “modal filter” on the bridge will use number plate recognition cameras to only allow certain types of motor vehicle (e.g. buses) over the bridge. Other types of vehicle that ignore the warnings will be fined. The substantial reduction in traffic volume will allow pavement widening in a number of places, benefiting both residents and traders. The additional space created will facilitate social distancing, as well as making shopping, queuing and eating on Mill Road both practical and safe.
The changes, which are funded by central government should begin to be implemented next week.
We know from a number of previous consultations with local people that a large majority of local residents support making Mill Road safer, less polluted and more welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists. Now the Covid-19 pandemic has given these changes an additional urgency.
And the improved environment for shoppers will present real business opportunities for those local Mill Road traders who can think positively and grasp them.
If you add your details below we’ll send a supportive message to the County Council including your signature.
Romsey’s City Councillors have set up an open meeting for local residents to discuss the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan. The meeting’s at St Philips Church, Mill Road on Wednesday 19th Feb and starts at 19:30, and will include a presentation by Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces. Please come along to find out about and influence how the Local Plan will work in Cambridge.
The Plan will set out the basis by which planning applications for new development in Cambridge will be assessed over the next 10 years. It’s being developed under these main headings:
Romsey residents are campaigning to try to stop – or at least mitigate the impact of – the new train wash facility proposed by Govia Thameslink at the back of Gt Eastern Street. It’s also going to affect significant numbers of residents in William Smith Close and Argyle Street – as the trains will be marshalled for washing at the rear of these streets. The proposed washing operation will run for 24 hours a day, but primarily between 11pm and 6am. Residents are being supported by Romsey Councillor Dave Baigent who is working with Govia and City Council officers. There is an open meeting with Govia Thameslink about the train wash on Monday 24th Feb starting at 18:30 in the Salvation Army Hall, Tenison Rd. For more information about the train wash and residents’ campaigning, have a look at https://quashthetrainwash.org/.
Come and find out what was actually going on at Mill Road Bridge this summer!
Mill Road History Society is delighted that Richard Watson of the Spencer Group is coming to talk to us. He’ll be at Ross St Community Centre CB1 3UZ on Tuesday 12 November at 7:30pm (doors open 7pm, ends around 9pm).
Govia Thames Link commissioned the family engineering company The Spencer Group to carry out extensive work in Cambridge this summer to allow for extra track including alterations to Mill Road Bridge. Richard Watson, the Project Director, has kindly agreed to join us to tell the full story. Do join us for a rare and privileged opportunity to see what the public rarely gets to see, and to find history in the making.
Admission £3 per person on the door. Tea and biscuits served, all welcome.