County Council Proposes Covid-19 Safety Changes to Mill Road

Following our campaign to make Mill Road safer during the Covid-19 epidemic, we’re pleased to see Cambridgeshire County Council has now proposed a number of changes. These include the closure of Mill Road to most motor vehicles at the bridge.

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.

You can also send a personal email to the County Council in support of the changes to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.


If you have any comments on the proposals, you can put them here and we'll pass them on with our message of support to the County Coucil.


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Let’s Make Mill Road Safe in Covid-19!

Agree with us? Take action:

Walked or cycled down Mill Road recently?

Even with the current low vehicle volumes on Mill Road, social distancing for pedestrians is impossible without stepping into or crossing over the Road.

Cyclists, worried about using the enclosed Carter Bridge during the pandemic will find using Mill Road becomes even more unsafe than usual, with pedestrians stepping off the pavements to avoid others.

And with any relaxation of lockdown restrictions, an increase in traffic will make a dangerous situation on Mill Road worse….

Fortunately the Government have recognised this and announced emergency funding to make high density urban streets just like Mill Road safer for walking and cycling during the pandemic.

At Over Mill Road Bridge we’re campaigning to make sure that Cambridgeshire County Council use this funding to make the length of Mill Road a safe space.

Romsey launches Romsey Mutual Aid

Romsey residents have launched Romsey Mutual Aid, a grassroots-based volunteer organisation providing support to anyone living in Romsey and in need during the Covid-19 / Coronavirus outbreak.

Help like shopping deliveries, prescription pickup, as well as moral support – check-ins, phone calls, reminders – and signposting to professional advice, is all being offered.

Protocols to manage the risk of volunteers spreading or catching the virus are in place.

If you want to find out more about how you might be able to help Romsey Mutual Aid in its work, you can read more about volunteering opportunities and sign up here.

If you’re in need of support, or anticipate that you might be in need of support, then please fill in the form here.

And you can download a poster which promotes our work here.

Greater Cambridge Local Plan – Have Your Say!

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:

  • climate change
  • great places
  • biodiversity and green spaces
  • wellbeing and social inclusion

For more info go to https://greatercambridgeplanning.org/greater-cambridge-local-plan/

Romsey Residents – Challenging Govia’s Train Wash Plans…

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/.

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:

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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

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Architects report re the Parklet

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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

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Comments

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