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Mill Road bridge closure decision to be discussed

28 February 2023

On Tuesday 7 March, members of the Highways and Transport committee will discuss the results of the Traffic Regulation Order and decide whether the Mill Road bridge closure should be reinstated or not.

A Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to close Mill Road bridge to all motor vehicles, except buses, cyclists, emergency services, taxis and blue badge holders was advertised for five weeks, from 28 November until 6 January. The call for objections achieved 690 objections against the TRO (and 291 comments supporting) – 316 objections and 244 supportive comments were submitted with detailed feedback. The objections to the proposed TRO were grouped by issue and closely reflected those that were raised in the GCP public consultation in 2022. No new issues were raised.

Following the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) extensive public consultation in 2022, where 1,986 online and written responses were received and saw 72% of respondents supporting restricting motor vehicles from crossing Mill Road bridge, members of the county council’s Highways & Transport Committee, in July 2022, unanimously agreed to go ahead with the next steps of the scheme, which was to publish a TRO, including exemptions.

The GCP consultation, which included focus groups of key stakeholders and two public workshops, showed that there was a desire to see traffic reduced while maintaining access for those with disabilities and taxis. There was also a wish to see the environment enhanced along Mill Road, including improving the public realm.

If agreed, the closure would be implemented as a bus gate and blue badge holders will need to register via an application form online. Blue badge holders will be required to provide relevant details such as name, address, blue badge number and appropriate paperwork. They will also be able to register up to a maximum of two vehicles.

If approved at committee on 7 March, the Mill Road bridge closure could be implemented in the summer.

The bus gate would be enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras (ANPR). After implementation, there would be a month’s grace period where non-registered drivers would receive warning notices only and if they are exempt, would be encouraged to register online.

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Following the GCP’s consultation, there was a clear consensus towards restricting access for private vehicles while making improvements to pedestrianised areas and encouraging sustainable transport. At committee in July last year, we unanimously agreed to progress with the next steps of the scheme, which was the TRO, having done that, now is the time to discuss whether we reinstate the modal filter or not and I look forward to the debate at committee.”

Cllr Neil Shailer, vice-chair of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We have heard from people through two consultations and the TRO and I’d like to thank everyone for their feedback. It is now only right we use the public feedback and decide at committee whether to give the go ahead to prevent the majority of motorised vehicles travelling over the bridge and encourage safe, sustainable transport and access to shops.”

There was also a wish to see the environment enhanced along Mill Road including improving the public realm and walking and cycling provision. Various funding opportunities are still being explored for this project, which we plan to develop in discussion with the local community. It is anticipated that, subject to funding, design and engagement work will begin in 2023/24.

The Highways and Transport committee papers can be found on the council’s website

The meeting will be live streamed on the council’s YouTube page.