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.

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!

 

Bridge Closure Dates, Bus Routes and More

Over Mill Road Bridge were at the Public Meeting Govia Thameslink (GTR) held Monday at the Salvation Army Hall on Mill Road.  Many people attended the meeting, despite short notice.

GTR Slides are linked here

We noted a few key points / actions:

  • dates of bridge closure will be 1st July to 25th August
  • GTR will need to shut the bridge completely including to pedestrians for about a week, around the middle / end of July for safety reasons
    • St Matthews and St Phillips school summer term ends on 23rd July
    • we will ask GTR to keep the pedestrian access available until after that date
  • residents concerns about the proposed Shuttle Bus service commissioned by GTR and run by Stagecoach (see page 11 of the slides attached below)
    • proposed turning streets may not be suitable
    • the service on the Romsey side only goes to and from Sainsburys Brooks Road, but lots residents make lots of Addenbrookes appointments by bus
    • we’ve arranged a meeting Tuesday 7th May with GTR and County Council Highways officers to find answers
  • GTR need to engage better with the Romsey and Petersfield communities
    • e.g. provide financial support to help with the planned Celebrate! festival
    • clarity on who’s got the chequebook at GTR
    • better communications are a must
    • OMRB will follow up all these points

Celebrate! Update

What’s been going on since the end of March Public Meeting?

Here’s a quick update on progress since we held our public meeting at Romsey Mill:

We’ve got volunteers working on both Arts and Music themes, and we’ve had a couple of meetings with County Council Officers re highways issues.  There’s some good news and bad news re Highways:

  • Good news: we’re working with CCC Highways to get permission to shut a short stretch of Mill Road near the Bridge to all traffic each weekend, giving us an outdoor venue for events, not a done deal yet but we’re persisting 🙂
  • Good news: Stagecoach will be running a shuttle service to and from the bridge on both sides
  • Bad news: there’s a gas utility that wants to take the opportunity of Mill Rd being quiet to replace the gas main over the entire length of Mill Road, a project that may take up the whole period of the closure.  We’re awaiting a meeting with them.  We’re going to tell them we want a rolling program which will allow us to continue with events and activities for most of the closure period

We’re also meeting with Govia Thameslink again shortly and will give you an update with anything of interest which comes out of that.

Meantime please contact us if you can offer us any time, whether a little or a lot.   Celebrate! can only be a success with your help.

Andy – Over Mill Road Bridge

How to celebrate a Mill Road summer?

Public Meeting Romsey Mill Fri 29th March 2019, 7.30pm

Mill Rd bridge will close to motor traffic in July and August 2019.  So we expect the traffic on Mill Rd to be substantially lower.  How can we make the most of it?

With the date for the planned closure of Mill Road bridge approaching fast, we want to encourage the Mill Road community to come together to prepare for a summer with a difference.

With the road closed to through traffic meaning much lower traffic volumes, we think we can recapture some of the spirit of the Mill Road Winter Fair, attracting visitors to Cambridge and residents from across the city to this unique destination and boost trade for our local businesses. We envisage a ‘Mill Road festival’ celebrating this diverse community and its historic connections to the railway with exciting events, areas to relax outside our shops and temporary landscaping and planters to enhance the welcoming feel of the road.

Everyone’s invited to a public meeting at 7.30pm on 29th March at Romsey Mill to discuss ideas – like the ones shown below.  Whether you’re a local resident, trader, parent or advocate for one of the many community groups in Romsey, please do get involved!

Please register your interest using the form at the bottom.  And could you download and display this poster at your home or work?

Could local schools get involved in Arts projects?
Where would we put areas to relax like this?
Would planters enhance the look of the street? Where could they go?
How about some streets stalls or a street market?

We also need to be sure that residents can still access their properties, businesses can receive deliveries and more cycle parking is made available for the increased numbers of visitors.

Yes, I’m interested in coming to the public meeting, please keep me informed

Every Cloud… : Making the Most of the Bridge Closure

Could there be a silver lining to the closure of Mill Road Bridge to motor vehicles in 2019?

The idea of reducing the amount of motor vehicle traffic on Mill Road has been much discussed in recent years.  Benefits could include reduced pollution, safer cycling and walking, more reliable bus services and a more pleasant environment in which to live, work and shop.  But we’re all conscious of the potential downsides – eg the impact on traffic in surrounding roads, the inconvenience for private motorists in particular for disabled drivers and the elderly, and logistical problems for bulk deliveries to the shops and business on Mill Road.  The financial cost (or benefit) of reduced traffic on local shops and businesses is also unclear.

So given that the bridge has to be closed to vehicles for at least 8 weeks in 2019, there’s clearly an opportunity to better understand the impact of reducing traffic on this key Cambridge thoroughfare. For example

  • measuring the traffic volumes in surrounding roads
  • gathering information about the financial effect on Mill Road shops and businesses
  • surveying local residents on how they are coping with the restrictions in place

We’ll be starting conversations with Cambridge Cycling Campaign (Camcycle),  local councillors, Mill Road businesses and the Cambridge Area Bus Users Group to progress these ideas.

Camcycle have produced this vision of a Mill Road with fewer cars.  Improvements to the Mill Road streetscape that become practical with fewer cars around could be trialled during the closure.

But what do you think?  Please do contact us and let us know your views.