highways committee 4.11.21

Released 4 November 2021 17:33

Mill Road for People, a campaign group of over 600 local residents and traders, welcomes today’s decision of the Transport and Highways committee to expedite a consultation on the future of Mill Road.

We were very concerned that the draft proposal for this meeting had recommended that the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) undertake a consultation starting in June 2022, with implementation in 2023 at the earliest.

Members of Mill Road for People argued strongly in the meeting that such a needless delay would ignore the wishes of local people. We were pleased that our comments were taken on board in the form of an amendment from Cllr McGuire, asking the GCP to prioritise Mill Road as a street that needs urgent action. However, we still want to see commitment to a specific time-scale and will continue to hold the committee to account on this.

Paul Lythgoe, chair of Mill Road for People said:

Paul Lythgoe, Chair of MR4P

This delay was quite obviously not what local people wanted. People on all sides of this debate want a consultation to take place at the earliest opportunity so that the issue can be finally resolved and we can all move on with certainty. While we are absolutely in favour of a city-wide plan, we believe the case for lower traffic in Mill Road has already been made and the decision should not be kicked into the long grass.

We were also pleased to note that there was general agreement that new traffic legislation will allow the issue of Blue Badge access over the bridge to be resolved.

Mill Road for People’s disability officer Andrew Allsworth says

Andrew Allsworth, MR4P Disability Officer

We have always supported bridge access for Blue Badge holders. But we also want the clean air, wide pavements and lack of clutter that would benefit people with many different kinds of disability.

However, we continue to believe that removal of the bus gate was unjustified and undemocratic and that it should be reinstated as soon as possible. We know that pro-car activists deliberately derailed the previous consultation with multiple submissions. That consultation already showed a majority in favour of the bus gate – that majority would have been even bigger if those submissions had been discarded. We have robust evidence that a substantial majority of local residents wish to see a bus gate on the bridge.

Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, has already backed reinstating the bus gate, explaining how the County Council is currently running a very real risk of cuts to funding if they do not progress the government’s Active Travel plans fast enough.

Since the bus gate was lifted, we have seen an increase in dangerous speeding, overtaking and pavement parking. In response to questions asked by our members, we were pleased to hear councillors acknowledge that issues of safety and air quality need to be addressed urgently.

Completion of the Ironworks, Timberworks and Travis Perkins developments will mean many hundreds more residents shortly wanting to use Mill Road as their High Street. To do nothing about Cambridge’s premier accident blackspot or about levels of pollution frequently in excess of WHO guidelines would be irresponsible in the extreme.

Paul Lythgoe said,

The strength of feeling on this issue is very real. Membership of Mill Road for People is already at 600 and is growing rapidly. The County Council Joint Agreement between the Lib Dems and Labour promised to put climate change at the heart of all decisions. We need vision and leadership on this defining issue of our times, not further procrastination.