Mill Road traders in Cambridge say they won't make it to Christmas if the bridge doesn't reopen

  • Claire McGlasson has the full story


More than 75% of businesses on Cambridge's Mill Road say the bridge closure has left them struggling to cope.

It was closed to vehicles in June to widen pavements to give pedestrians more space to socially distance. It was one of 90 road schemes brought in by the county council for this reason.

The bridge was closed to traffic to allow pedestrians to socially distance. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The move has been welcomed by campaigners saying it'll make walking and cycling safer.

A spokesperson from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign said:

"Camcycle strongly welcomes the current bus gate on Mill Road, which enables social distancing and safer walking and cycling, in line with clear government policy.Mill Road has always been in the top 10 collision sites in Cambridgeshire. If the street is to thrive, it needs to be safe. Across the country there are many high streets which are thriving with low levels of motor traffic.

"We have proposed a whole set of improvements, which would support local traders, including the addition of cycle parking, car parking and delivery bays, and are surprised that local businesses are not asking for these themselves. Wider pavements and outdoor seating would also assist with COVID safety and we call on traders to suggest a wide range of solutions to protect both businesses and residents during the pandemic, rather than submitting a survey with such a limited range of options. It's never been more important to work together to keep each other safe."

However, traders say it's causing customers to stay away and there's a risk some businesses could go bust by Christmas.

The owner of this store has been left with no choice but to close. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Kailash Hardware Store will be closing at the end of this month. The owner, Mahesh Gohel, says he's been left with no choice.

The last four or five years have been difficult and it's been going down gradually and I would say the bridge closure was the last nail in the coffin.

Mahesh Gohel, Kailesh Hardware Store

The Mill Road Traders' Association says the closure is putting off shoppers who normally drive to the area.

I'm really concerned about lots of businesses on Mill Road and I expect 20 per cent are going to close before Christmas.

Piero D'Angelico, Mill Road Traders' Association

A protest was staged by traders and residents in July. They say local people were not consulted.

A protest was staged by traders and residents in July against the bridge closure. Credit: ITV News Anglia

According to a survey carried out by the Traders Association, 88% of businesses want the bridge to reopen. Among them are antique dealers Pattie and Dee.

If it doesn't reopen, I can't see myself staying. If you're not taking the money, you can't pay the rent.

Patti Gourlay and Dee Thomson, Antique dealers
88% of businesses want the bridge to reopen, according to a survey. Among them is this antiques shop. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Cambridgeshire County Council says it's listening to concerns, but declined to be interviewed. It will consider the traders survey as part of its review into the bridge closure.

Changes to the scheme, however, will not be made until the end of a six month consultation period.