Residents, traders and councillors are up in arms as the Conservative-controlled Cambridgeshire County Council abandoned plans to bring up its temporary Mill Road bridge closure scheme for its six month review.
The experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) was introduced in June 2020 to support social distancing and active travel in the COVID pandemic and was supported by Labour on public health grounds.
Councillors pressed from the start for a timely review incorporating local feedback and data on traffic flows and pollution.
The scheme should have been reviewed in January but local councillors were then told it would come to the March Highways committee. Now it has been delayed again, until June, with problems in the County’s own consultation process being blamed. This means the review will be a full year after the scheme was installed.
‘The County Council committed to a review after six months – then broke its promise,’ said Petersfield Councillor Linda Jones. ‘We supported the ETRO to safeguard residents in the COVID pandemic, but this was a contract of trust with our residents and traders. It is now shattered.’
The County Council cited the high volume of duplicate entries among the over 3500 responses to its survey as a reason for the delay, suggesting that there had been attempts to skew the feedback. Local councillors are shocked by the news of the delay. So why did the County not recognise and sort out this problem earlier?