Greater Cambridge Partnership Eastern Access Project – Consultation

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.

As a result, car and van drivers, public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians will all see changes to their journeys. Find out more here: https://www.greatercambridge.org.uk/transport/transport-projects/cambridge-eastern-access.

The current consultation ends at midday on Friday 18 December 2020. Take part here: https://consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/cea-consultation-2020.

And if you’d like us to keep you informed of new developments throughout the project, just sign up below:


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Mill Road Covid & Active Travel Changes – County Council Launch Survey

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:

http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/mill-road-consultation

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 policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk 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!

Your Ideas for Mill Road

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:

Responses to survey at https://overmillroadbridge.org.uk/mill-road/mill-road-positive-thinking/

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.

L.E., St Philips Rd

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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