Released 7 December 2021 17:41
We are delighted to see that County Council has agreed to expedite a consultation on the future of Mill Road. While there are differing views about the principle of a bus gate, we all agree there were shortcomings in its implementation. The period of uncertainty since has not been in the best interests of residents or traders. The Highways and Transport Committee have recognised the urgency of the situation and have promised that their consultation will deliver a ‘technically and procedurally sound’ solution for Mill Road.
All three of our organisations seek the best possible future for Mill Rd, and while we differ on how to achieve it, we all recognise that ultimately this is a decision for local people. It is therefore essential that any consultation is robust, wide-ranging, and accessible to everyone.
It must consider not just Mill Rd Bridge but wider questions of safety, attractiveness, accessibility, and business viability for the whole street. The question of access to and from Cambridge Railway
Station is also key. A comprehensive solution for Mill Road should not be a binary one about whether or not to install a bus gate, but should include a range of options of how and when any restrictions should operate and mitigating measures to be introduced at the same time.
Any eventual solution must achieve two aims: significant progress on active travel, road safety and carbon reduction targets, and secondly the strong importance of maintaining the thriving businesses that are at the heart of Mill Road. Both must be central to its implementation. It is vital that the final outcome is based on reliable empirical data. All three of our organisations call on the Greater Cambridge Partnership, who are charged with carrying out the consultation process, to obtain robust data on issues such as why journeys are made using Mill Road by those whose destination is elsewhere, traffic flow in Mill Road and surrounding streets, modes of transport used by shoppers, and pollution levels.
We would like to see as many stakeholders as possible included in the initial focus groups and workshops as these will be key to the content of the public consultation. In our view, these should include organisations such as local schools, religious groups and disability groups as well as residents’ and traders’ groups.
We are pleased to note that the Council has promised measures to avoid multiple submissions to the quantitative element of the consultation. Given the well-documented problems of the previous consultation, we feel this is extremely important, since everyone needs to have faith in a fair outcome.