meeting at st barnabas
meeting at st barnabas

Mill Road Vision

 Intro: The evening was hosted by the Mill Rd Summer Committee and aimed to highlight the  City Council’s ‘Making Spaces for People’ consultation and promote discussion of a vision of a future on Mill Road.  The following was read out by the chair Dave Baigent at the start of the meeting and again towards the end :

 “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, introduced the consultation and Kieran Perkins spoke on behalf of Cambridge Architects Association (who had a blue-sky thinking display in the room.

As part of the evening people were invited to breakout into five groups discuss and input ideas for change. Overwhelmingly people were keen to input ideas around the Green agenda. Below is a roundup of what information was gathered by the facilitators on the night.


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 and 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 by making both positive and negative aspects, people mentioned:

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, active community( religious buildings/ heritage) , 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 changed fell into the following themes:

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


  • Ban plastics/ packaging/ food items/ other goods


The discussions around health fell into the following areas: 


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


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

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 plus £50 which went towards the £170 cost of the room.




break out
break out
Architects blue sky thinking
Architects blue sky thinking
break out groups
break out groups
breaking out
breaking out
break out group 5
break out group 5


Mill Road Summer is holding a public meeting to discuss possible improvements to Mill Road that would contribute to the public consultation on ‘Making Space for People‘.
This was held in St Barnabas Church on Tuesday 8th October and was attended by over 150 people

Architects and traffic management consultants that worked with us on Mill Road Summer came up with some material that provided a backdrop for the discussion.

There is now a report of the feedback from the break out groups

The high level agenda wase

  1. presentation of alternative visions for Mill Road: for example changes to traffic flows, streetscape, and cycling & walking infrastructure, with an emphasis on exploring different configurations at a high level rather than presenting lots of detail on any one option
  2. facilitated break out groups, to look at four or five themes (with the opportunity to develop new ones)
  3. feedback and discussion

Some of the thoughts that are coming through so far:

  • Mill Road is not just any road, maybe we should consider shifting the centre of gravity and make Mill Road a destination.
  • The retail trade is suffering from a downturn nationally and we should take advantage of the consultation to improve Mill Road (yet sustain its existing character
  • Mill Road needs a bus service that serves; one that allow people to get to Addenbrookes and the city centre, and from the city centre to Mill Road.
  • Change road hierarchy,  redesign road, reduce/slow traffic, but not cut off people
  • Current rat runs to the station may need to be remodelled
  • The proximetry of Marshall’s development could mean Mill Road would become a more major through route

If you have any views contact us




Mill Road Opportunity Area
Mill Road Opportunity Area

There is also a Making Space for People consultation currently underway, being run by the City Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership, with a closing date of Monday 14th October. The consultation is seeking peoples views on this kind of change – regardless of whether you can make the public meeting, please do feedback via the link above.

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