Under The Bridge: what was happening behind the hoardings?

Posted on behalf of Mill Road History Society

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.

Mill Road Vision: Public Meeting – What Was Discussed!

The evening was hosted by the Mill Road Summer Committee and aimed to raise awareness of the City Council’s ‘Making Spaces for People’ consultation and encourage discussion about a vision for the future on Mill Road.

The following opening statement was made by the chair:

“Tonight, we are going to look for a vision for Mill Road that will fit into the current Making Space for People consultation.

A vision that would find ways to create an Opportunity Area to support the interests of Mill Road’s characteristic smaller independent traders, the vitality and viability of our road and protect and enhance its unique character.”

Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning and Open Spaces, gave an overview of the consultation, and Kieran Perkins spoke on behalf of Cambridge Architects Association, who had prepared a blue-sky thinking display in the room.

 People were then invited to breakout into one of five themed groups to discuss and input ideas for change. Overwhelmingly people were keen to input ideas around the Green agenda. Below is a roundup of the information that was gathered by the facilitators on the night.

Theme 1: GREEN

People listed the ‘green spaces’ on Mill Road that they liked and it was suggested that these spaces should be enhanced. These spaces included:

  • Donkey Common
  • outdoor play areas
  • Ditchburn Place
  • existing trees, flowers, hanging baskets
  • outdoor cafe seating

It was also noted that celebrations and festivals played their part in highlighting Mill Road and its green spaces.

When asked ‘what do we have already?’ people answered with both positive and negative aspects, mentioning:

  • Personal gardens
  • Ditchburn/St Barnabas gardens
  • the  new flower bed outside Coop
  • interesting trees
  • seagulls
  • Donkey Common
  • Parkside
  • graveyard
  • Romsey Rec
  • Vinery Rec
  • garden in front of Mosque
  • small independent traders
  • active community (religious buildings/ heritage)
  • hidden green space
  • too many cars

It was noted that things were not always the same and historically Mill Road had less traffic, more variety of shops, fewer cafes and as one person said ‘I used to leave my bike unlocked’

Suggestions for Change

Traffic and how we move through Mill Road 

  • One way traffic with Coldham’s Lane or Hills Rd
  • One lane of traffic on Mill Rd, Access only for – electric vehicles, public service vehicles, emergency vehicles
  • More buses
  • Widen Devonshire Rd and re- surface all pavements
  • Big picture transport plan- make sure Mill Road is part of and joined up to the bigger transport picture for the City
  • More studies/ research to show what would work
  • Change traffic patterns – eg deliveries at different times or early morning delivery only

Biodiversity and Green Space

  • Green spaces set back from the street ( ref London’s tranquil zones)
  • More green, wildflowers for bees
  • More biodiversity
  • More trees- pedestrianise the rd
  • Tree give away and free planting,
  • Hedges for biodiversity
  • Green walls, rooftop gardens
  • Enhance existing greenery

Community Use of Space

  • Community gardens/ flower beds
  • Corner of Coleridge Rd – park instead of flats and make it a  ‘ proper garden’
  • A Mill Road Climate Change/Green group

Air Quality

  • More greenery for air quality
  • Zero emissions zone

Other

  • Ban plastics/ packaging/ food items/ other goods

Theme 2: HEALTH

The discussions around health fell into the following areas:

Safety

  • This was a key issue, with concerns expressed about pedestrian safety
  • Walkers pushed into the road by pavement-parked vehicles and sometimes by cyclists on pavements
  • Very narrow pavements in many places along Mill Rd caused problems
  • Older, unsteady walkers found pavement quality poor and unsafe
  • Some crossing points dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists e.g. Kingston St – Devonshire Rd junction with Mill Rd

Pollution

  • Asthma and COPD related to pollution, which was a concern in Mill Rd area – narrow streets, tunnel effect
  • Strong community support for clean air zone not just in city centre but along Mill Rd corridor

Volume of traffic

  • Too high and too dominant
  • Restrict access and manage deliveries better
  • Support for reallocating road space to give pedestrians wider pavements
  • Some support for creating more space for cyclists; call for high quality reworking of Mill Rd

Mix of views

  • Warm feelings for Mill Rd but divergence of view eg. one person called for dedicated cycle lanes and one-way system; another person wanted no changes at all to Mill Rd

Theme 3: WELCOMING

What does a welcoming Mill Rd look like/ what would you change?

  • Mill Rd as destination
  • Pedestrian and cycling priority
  • Sort out the balance of transport nodes
  • Police and clean the area
  • Signage for orientation – mins walk e.g. from railway station
  • More seating – Ditchburn/ entrance to Cemetery

Theme 4: WELL CURATED

What does a well curated Mill Rd look like? / what do you like?

  • Diversity of style
  • David Parr House
  • Victorian terraces
  • Renovate and clean the existing architecture
  • Eclectic
  • Renovation of Hot Numbers
  • Andy Records sign
  • Mosque

CLOSING DISCUSSION

A wider discussion followed and everyone who wanted to speak was given one opportunity.  The discussion ranged between those (few) who would leave Mill Road as it was to those who would partially close it to traffic.

150+ people attended, and a collection raised £115 which went towards the £170 cost of the room.

Mill Road Vision – Public Meeting, St Barnabas Church, Tue 8 Oct 7.30pm

What’s your view about how Mill Road should evolve to meet challenges like

  • climate change?
  • the impact of online shopping on Mill Road retailers?
  • pollution / congestion?

The future of the public space on Mill Road is part of a City Council consultation called Making Space for People .

Why not come to a public meeting this evening organised by Mill Road Summer – 7.30pm at St Barnabas Church?  Explore your ideas with others including your neighbours, Cambridge’s Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, and members of the Cambridge Association of Architects?

And then please feedback to the consultation!

Agenda:

Mill Road Futures

Mill Road Summer and Over Mill Road Bridge hosted a packed public meeting at St Phillips Church on Mill Road last Thursday evening.  We wanted

  • to review and seek feedback from Romsey & Petersfield residents and traders about their experiences during the bridge closure
  • to ask how those experiences could translate into a vision for the future of Mill Road and the surrounding area

In this post you can find

Immediate actions from the meeting are

  • establish a Working Party including representation from the whole of Mill Road, residents, councillors and traders (want to get involved?  Use the form below)
  • hold a further public meeting (in a larger venue!) where we
    • start to find a concensus around a vision for Mill Road
    • agree practical steps to progress this vision

Video and Presentations

Over Mill Road Bridge

Camcycle

Architects report re the Parklet

 

Chair of the Petersfield Organising Group, Linda Jones, reported on the vibrant festival delivered by local groups in spite of the bridge closure, continued high traffic volumes, disruptive Cadent gas works and awful fire at Gee’s electrical store. Nearly 20 events were organised focusing on music, dance, history, art and writing. The History Happening day and the 3 Car Boot Sales attracted hundreds of people and the Group secured a community legacy – including a digital piano, sound system, banners and folding tables.

Chair of the Mill Rd Traders’ association, Shapour Meftah, praised the work of organisers in staging the festival but highlighted the loss of trade for many traders caused by bridge closure, gas works and fire. Traders wanted to work with the local community of Mill Rd, but it would only thrive if people could access the shops easily.

Feedback

 

Comments

Please let us have your thoughts, and let us know if you think you can help us campaign for the future of Mill Road.  You can read about how we will take care of the information you provide here.

The Bridge is shut – But the road remains open

    

Following Dave’s negotiations with Govia they agreed to reduce the days the pedestrian/cycle access would be unavailable from 14 to 8.

The footpath on the bridge will be closed on the following dates:

  • 5th & 6th July 2019 08:45 – 20:45
  • 11th & 12th July 2019 *08:45 – 20:45
  • 28th & 29th July 2019 08:45 – 20:45
  • 3rd & 4th August 2019 08:45 – 20:45

We are still pushing and hope they will reduce this again to six.  We also hope that the closure over the big weekend will be significantly reduced if not removed.

Govia Propose Total Bridge Closure Dates – Unacceptable!

Govia Thameslink have emailed councillors advising periods over which they want to completely close Mill Road bridge including to pedestrians.

Govia had previously told residents that the bridge would be totally closed for about a week, with the possible need for the odd day of further closure.  They are now proposing a total of 14 days of total closure over the 8 week period.

Govia sent their email on Tuesday this week (25th June), with the first total closure proposed starting 5th July, little more than a week later.  There was no consultation with the community prior to the email being sent.

The total closure dates that Govia have proposed are:

  • Friday 5 July until Monday 8 July – from 8.45am until 8.45pm each day
  • Thursday 11 July until Saturday 13 July – from 8.45am until 8.45pm each day
  • Sunday 28 July until Wednesday 31 July – from 8.45am until 8.45pm each day
  • Saturday 3 August until Monday 5 August – from 8.45am until 8.45pm each day

We are acutely aware of the impact this would have on residents and traders on both sides of the bridge, and councillors are demanding that Govia think again.

Romsey City Councillor Dave Baigent was talking about this on Radio Cambridgeshire on Wednesday – segment starts at 1:05:50: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07ccllm

After this spirited radio broadcast and a number of social media posts which drew considerable support, Dave tells us he is hoping that Govia will think again…

We have been told that there’s a rumour circulating that Govia were going to remove all pedestrian access for the entire period  of the closure.  As far as we’re aware this is untrue.

Bridge Closure – Update #2

Here’s the second of a series of information posts about the Mill Road Bridge closure this summer.  We’re using these to give Romsey & Petersfield residents and traders as much detail as we can about the closure arrangements.

Please use the comments box below if you have concerns or questions. We’ll respond to those as quickly as we can.

Also, please help us and your fellow residents by sharing this as widely as possible. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, there are sharing buttons for those services below.

Contents:

Bridge Closure Dates

Mill Road Bridge closes to all motor vehicles from Monday 1st July 2019, and Govia Thameslink estimate that the work will be complete by Monday 26th August 2019.

We’ll pass on any changes to the projected end date as soon as we hear about them.

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Bus Services

Here’s a map showing the diverted Citi 2 service (yellow), and the shuttle services 2A (blue) and 2B (green).

More detail on the changes to the Citi 2 service including timetables is available here: https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/east/mill-road-closure

Cambridge Dial-A-Ride will provide a door to door service for residents who will find the revised service physically difficult to use.  This service will run for the entire period of the closure.

If this would be useful for you, then please apply for Dial-A-Ride membership now.  Call 01223 506335 or write to

Cambridge Dial-a-Ride
Unit B, Rene Court
1 Coldhams Road
Cambridge
CB1 3EW

Govia Thameslink have agreed to fund the costs of this service.

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Gas Utility Works

Triio will be replacing the gas main which runs the length of Mill Road during the closure period.  For further details see our previous post: https://overmillroadbridge.org.uk/bridge-closure/info/update-1/#gas

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Financial Impacts on Traders

We understand that Govia Thameslink (GTR) are working with the Mill Road Traders’ Association regarding the potential for financial impact of the Bridge Closure on traders.  If you have concerns about this then please contact the Traders’ Association direct.

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Art Panels

Govia Thameslink will be providing two new art panels on the bridge, and are running a competition amongst local schools to choose a design for each.

The existing art on the bridge will remain as-is after GTR’s work has been completed.

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Community Festival Public Meeting – Fri 31st May 19:00 – 22:00

Sing? Play the ukulele? Crochet? Make banners?
In a band? Into Mill Road History? Sculpt? Paint?

Or know someone who does?

Mill Road Needs You!

Can you display a poster?  Download one here

At the last full public meeting on 29th March Romsey and Petersfield residents and businesses came together to generate loads of great ideas for a Summer Festival on and around Mill Road in July and August.  Since then:

  • we’ve negotiated Festival funding with Govia Thameslink (the train company who are doing the work on the Bridge)
  • there’s a website and we’re using social media to start to publicise Festival events
  • we’re discussing how the Festival can use the Mill Road street space with County Council highways officers

There’s a 2nd public meeting in the large hall at Ross Street Community Centre on Friday 31st May. Please come along anytime between 19:00 & 22:00, and let’s work out how we can make it a Mill Road Summer to remember!