Milton Road Trees Mini Bus Tour

Mini bus tour of 8 sites in respect to possible tree selection for the Milton Road scheme under the city deal - 24th April 2018

You can download the original PDF version of this report written by Anne Hamill here: trees_report.pdf

Participants: Paul van de Bulk, 2 tree officers (Kenny McGregor, Dinah Foley-Norman), Landscape Architect (Henry Casement), Cllr Joceylnne Scutt and 5 local residents [Dorcas Fowler, Anne Hamill, Maureen Mace, Rowland Thomas, Richard Swift].


KM explained the role of the tree officers and their team. With regard to maintenance, a tour of all the trees in Cambridge was carried out every 3 years to inspect health. It was important to choose new trees which would withstand the site conditions, be species with best resistance to known pathogens, and those which would enhance the streetscape. There had been mistakes in some of the tree plantings in Cambridge in the past and he reassured participants that learning had taken place as a result of these failures.

PvB informed the group that approx. £23million was earmarked for the Milton Road scheme, but no specific allocation for planting as yet.

During the course of the tour KM explained that, due to the increasing number of pathogens (possibly as a result of climate change), it was wise to have, say, two species of trees comprising an avenue as a form of protection, these varying on the three different sections of Milton Road. Milton Road was wider in some parts than others and this would affect choice. However, there were possible planting areas suitable for a group of trees, not all of the same species, e.g. by the Golden Hind, which could accommodate larger specimens.

Map of visited sites
Map showing all sites to be visited

Site 1 - Metcalfe Road

Species Viewed: Early Mature Birch

Birches grew well, enriched the soil by fixing nitrogen, were durable (i.e. 80 – max. 120 years), and had low water demand.

Site 2 - Drive-Through Site - Queens' Road

Species viewed from minibus, Lime trees (not clear whether these were the non-sap producing variety). Some Council-planted, some on University land; an example of how mature, medium canopy trees can be planted on a major thoroughfare without causing issues for vehicles.

Site 3 - Sidgwick Avenue

Species Viewed: Mature London Plane

Species Viewed: Tulip Tree

London Plane trees were “bombproof”. Long lasting, surviving pathogens (although some early warning recently reported in Europe), could be pollarded (although this was dangerous to tree surgeons in narrow areas close to roads). In Sidgwick Avenue, roots broke up pavements making problems for push chairs/wheelchairs.

Tulip trees were a suitable choice for larger spaces. Lower branches could be pruned. Robust, pollutant- and heat- resistant. No known pathogens. Less flare at base of trunk than London planes. Quick growing.

Site 4 - Brooklands Avenue

Species Viewed: Mature Hornbeam and Dawyck Beech

There were some problems with the hornbeams (rust), possibly caused by salting roads in winter. Viewed in tight area i.e. narrow verges. An example of how two different species worked well together. [Together, these two species formed a very dense canopy, which was OK on Brooklands Avenue as properties set far back from trees, but would occlude light from adjacent houses where front gardens are small or absent.]

Site 5 - Aura Development in Great Kneighton

Species Viewed: Semi-Mature Lime Trees - Small-Leaved Variety

Very costly with regular maintenance in expensive development area. Survival in other areas would be high risk (KM).

NB. There are varieties of lime trees which do not produce sticky sap, as they have hairy leaves which aphids avoid. [Think these are that variety.]

Site 6 - Brampton Road

Species Viewed: Pears (Chanticleer), Crab Apples, Whitebeam

Flowering pears conical shape, have flowers and autumn colour, grow in poor sites. Suitable for narrower stretches of Milton Road. Crab apples – problem with mushy fruit on the ground (objections from residents). Whitebeam – tough trees, light coloured leaves, get broad but would be suitable for “break out points” along the road.

Site 7 - Wadloes Road

Species Viewed: Mature Cherries and Field Maples

Cherries – upright Y-shaped conical, quite tough, fit in narrow sites. Could use bigger cherry (e.g prunus avium) on corner, say, of a group of larger trees.

NB Horsechestnuts being devastated by pathogen, will soon become rare.

Site 8 - Riverside

Species Viewed: Semi-Mature Italian Alders in Rootcell System (i.e. No Verge for Planting)

Commonly used in urban sites in Europe. Well-behaved trees. Rootcell system effective for providing water needed. Slender with heart shaped leaves. Yellow autumn colour.

Milton Road Local Liaison Forum 30th January 2018 Meeting Summary

Summary of Meeting

There was an excellent turn out of approximately 100 people.


Jocelynne Scutt, chair of the LLF, introduced the councillors for the area, the chairs of Milton Road Residents Association (RA), Hurst Park Estates RA and Old Chesterton RA and gave the audience a summary of the original plans and how the residents and councillors had made them more acceptable. The plans described at this meeting are based on the Final Concept passed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership Board last July.

Engineers Paul van de Bulk, officer for the GCP and Neil Poulton from WSP consultants gave the presentation and questions were asked following this.

Assessment of cycling design

We were told there was not enough room for two segregated cycle lanes on the outbound NW side, an inbound cycle lane on the SE side, trees and verges and a bus lane. The engineers had discussed removing the inbound cycleway but this meant cyclists would use the bus lane and paths.

They had listened to the residents who knew that unless there were Copenhagen crossings over the side roads, cycling would take place on the road. However there was a safety problem with two cycleways on the NW side as it restricted the view of car drivers coming out of the side roads.

Therefore their decision was to have an single inbound and outbound cycleway protected from the road by trees and verges and separated from pedestrians. On the NW side next to the outbound 2m cycleway, they would make a wide path of 3m so it would become shared use for pedestrians and cyclists riding inbound. This happens now, close to Ascham Road, because of the school. Widening the cycle ways and making them segregated along the whole of Milton Road would make them far safer and could encourage cycling rather than using cars.

There were a lot of questions concerning the safety of a shared area. More work will need to be done on this.

Bus Stops and Crossings

Most bus stops and crossings will stay similar to where they are now with the exception of the stops by Union Lane, which holds up the traffic lights, and outside the Co-op where lorries unload. There will be more work on this.

At the workshops residents were given an option of 6 kinds of bus stops. At the time there was disappointment in what we were offered because of the conflict between cyclists and pedestrians and exits from driveways in four of the options which did not give those at the workshops a safe option choice for all users. At the present time there are floating bus stops but Cllr Gerri Bird and other bus users were concerned for those who are disabled as the new plans would make cycling faster.

Trees and Landscaping

There had been a workshop about trees and landscaping but the specimens offered did not include much choice. The officers envisage large trees such as limes and tulip trees between the Busway and Elizabeth Way with smaller birches and flowering trees from Elizabeth Way to Mitcham’s Corner. An external landscape architect will be advising shortly so the road has a green feel about it. This requires more work and Cllr Scutt has this in hand.

Elizabeth Way roundabout

The area will stay a roundabout and will be controlled by traffic lights. Safety is a big issue here especially on the inbound road where cars usually turn into Elizabeth Way and cyclists tend to go straight over.

There are concerns too over the entrances to a few houses leading directly onto the roundabout.

Mitcham’s Corner

It is intended that the future design of this area should integrate with that of Milton Road.
The inbound cycle path will be next to the path outside the shops here with short term parking in bays for 3 cars with areas for trees between the bays to keep the feel of an avenue of trees.

Bus Lanes

Neil said he had listened to the residents about reducing the bus lanes as they are not used the majority of time.

There will be Smart Traffic Lights that will give priority to buses.
Bus patronage is falling in Cambridge and the use of the P & R at Milton has dropped by 15%. If a metro is introduced for Cambridge it is envisaged more people will travel by public transport so MRRA believe that there will be less need for bus lanes.

Discussions with shop keepers near Arbury Road

Paul had talked to the shops owners near Arbury Road. The majority wanted parking for customers outside their shops. The exception was 121 café which encouraged cyclists. The area in front of the shops is owned by the shops whereas the path is owned by the county council. There will be a problem with dropped curbs for cyclists, making it a very bumpy ride, as well as having to give way to cars trying to park.

The officers were aiming to make a safer and better environment but to do this some parking spaces may be lost.


There will be no parking anywhere on Milton Road. Those with no off road parking would park in side streets. An audit would be carried out to see how many households were affected. Also free dropped curbs, where appropriate would be offered free of charge. To keep cars off the verges there may be deep curbs and trees close together. At the moment some cars from Herbert Road and George Street park on Milton Road as well as some parking there instead of in their drives plus several houses do not have a dropped kerb and park on the verges.

It is up to residents on neighbouring streets whether they want to introduce residents’ parking

Next steps

There will be another LLF before for next designs go to the GCP Executive Board for approval next July and this will be followed by a wider public consultation.

A video by Richard Taylor is available here:

The Milton Road Project Manager is Paul van de Bulk, so please email him direct if you have any particular concerns:

Milton Road Local Liaison Forum 30th January 2018

Greater Cambridge Partnership

The plans for Milton Road continue to develop. In July the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board agreed an outline plan called the Final Concept. Then over the autumn and winter a number of workshops were held to discuss details of particular points, e.g. the Elizabeth Way roundabout, cycle paths.

Next the Local Liaison Forum (LLF) is to meet on Tuesday 30th January to discuss issues arising from the workshops and where this leads in terms of design, what is likely to be changed, what needs to be done and what inputs are still required. This is an important stage, because after this the consultants will be tasked to draw up the preliminary design which is to go to the Board in June or July. Though we will be consulted again in this process, it is always more effective to get our wishes incorporated into the design at the start, rather than trying to get it changed later.

So please come along and make your views known at the meeting of the LLF on Tuesday 30th January at 6.00 p.m. in Chesterton Community College. I look forward to seeing and hearing from you there.

You can download the agenda for this LLF here:

MRRA Annual General Meeting 2017

The meeting minutes for this year's AGM are available from the meeting minutes page.

The following information was on the hand out in this year's AGM.

Milton Road Update – AGM

5 th December 2017

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) website:

Milton Road Residents’ Association website:
Link to last news update mailing, October 2017, which also contains video links

Since the workshops in September (Bus Stops and Crossings) and October on Trees, there have been four Design Group Meetings where MRRA representatives have met with the Milton Road Project Manager, Paul van de Bulk and Traffic Engineers to discuss:

  1. Elizabeth Way Roundabout
  2. Cycle Lane between Mitcham’s Corner and Elizabeth Way Roundabout
  3. Mitcham’s Corner interaction with the Milton Road scheme
  4. Bus Lane lengths

See GCP web link above for details of these Design Group meetings.

What Happens Next

The County Officers and WSP Consultants will now work up detailed plans, taking into account the Workshop and Design Group feedback. These plans will then be presented to the Milton Road Local Liaison Forum (MR LLF) at a public meeting in January 2018 for residents and stakeholder comments.

The Officers aim is then to take the Preferred Option design and outline business case to the Assembly and Executive Board in the March meeting. That will mean they need to get all the work done by the first week of February 2018 so the reports can be approved, edited and published in advance. They will be asking for approval from the Board to take this Preferred Option design out to public consultation, probably in May 2018.

Following analysis of feedback from the consultation and any changes that may instigate, they will then need to go back to the Board in the Autumn of 2018 to present the outcomes and ask for approval to go ahead with the Detailed Engineering Design.

GCP Assembly and Executive Board Meetings – Important Dates for Milton Road

The Assembly and Board meetings are open to the public who can ask a question if submitted three working days beforehand. Documents for these meetings are posted on the South Cambs website at least a week in advance, along with protocol for asking questions. See link via the GCP website on the Events Page for all meetings.

GCP Assembly, Wednesday 28 th February, 2-5pm, S/Cambs offices, Cambourne

GCP Executive Board, Wednesday 21 st March, 4-7pm, Shire Hall

What Can You Do?

Keep up to date on developments by following MRRA on Twitter and Facebook, by checking the GCP website and the Milton Road project updates and come to the GCP Assembly and Executive Board Meetings.

But most important is to lobby the decision makers for the best possible design for Milton Road for future generations.

The ‘Final Concept’ plans, approved by the GCP in July 2017, include a full length bus lane, albeit alternating between the north and south side. We believe a bus lane will not bring the desired modal change and at most only save a couple of minutes on the rare occasions when the traffic is queuing, before reaching
Mitcham’s Corner. We are therefore hopeful that we can get these bus lane lengths reduced since we believe that this is valuable space that could be used for safer walking and cycling, segregated by a tree-lined avenue of trees and verges the whole length of Milton Road; a safer and more environmentally worthy landscape for one of the main gateways into our beautiful city.

Just three councillors will decide the fate of Milton Road. Please continue to let them know what you want for Milton Road:

The GCP Executive Board (the ultimate decision-making body)

Non-voting members:

The GCP Assembly (make recommendations to the Exec Board)

You can also contact the Milton Road Project Engineer, Paul van der Bulk, and GCP generally at:

Or write to them at GCP, Room SH1311, Shire Hall, Cambridge CB3 0AJ

Milton Road Update - October 2017


There have been two workshops recently, one on bus stops and pedestrian crossings and another on street trees. Attendance at these workshops was by application to GCP. Each workshop followed a similar format: An initial Presentation giving the tasks and parameters for the evening, followed by discussions in small groups. Milton Road was divided, either side of Arbury Road, for separate discussions and feedback.

Workshop 1 - Bus Stops and Crossings - 19th September

The GCP workshop presentation was given by Officers and the WSP Consultant and participants discussed preferred design type and location of bus stops and crossings along both sections of Milton Road. At this meeting the bus lane ran the length of MR unlike our Do Optimum plans.

The Presentation slides can be viewed on the GCP website: Milton Road – Bus Stop and Crossings Workshop

Workshop 2 -Trees - 3rd October

Presentations were given by the City Council’s Tree Officers who proposed a few tree options and Kieran Perkins, an urban realm architect, who presented ideas for a sense of place. Participants, in small groups, were asked to choose species for each section of Milton Road from the pre-selection offered. Afterwards the groups were allocated one of four potential public spaces for ideas on how these spaces should be used (Milton Road Library, Shop area near Arbury Road, Land by Woodhead Drive and the King’s Hedges junction).

Concern was expressed that the current GSP ‘Final Concept’ design left little green space for the promised grass verge and tree-lined avenue. The Presentation slides can be viewed on the GCP website here: Milton Road Replacement Tree Planting

And Richard Taylor’s video of the event can be found here: Milton Road Trees Presentation

What Happens Next?

GCP’s Programme and Timescale
GCP’s Proposed Programme and Timescale

The County Officers and WSP Consultant will now work up detailed plans, taking into account the workshops feedback. Followed by:

  • Presentation to the MR LLF in November/December 2017 and January 2018
  • Consideration for the final detailed design as a basis for Public Consultation Questionnaire by the Joint Assembly (28th February 2018) and the Executive Board (21st March 2018)
  • Public Consultation Questionnaire from May 2018
  • Consideration of Public Consultation by the Joint Assembly (20th September 2018) and Final detailed design approval by the Executive Board (11th October 2018)
  • Forecast completion date of Milton Road remodelling is 2021

What You Can Do

Follow us on social media:

Follow MiltonRoadRA on Facebook

Follow MiltonRoadRA on Twitter

Check for Milton Road project updates on the GCP website and come to the GCP Assembly and Executive Board Meetings.

But most important is to keep lobbying the decision makers for the best possible design for Milton Road for future generations.

GCP’s current ‘Final Concept’ plans include a full length bus lane, albeit alternating between the north and south side. We believe a bus lane will not bring the desired modal change and at most only save a couple of minutes on the rare occasions when the traffic is queuing, before reaching Mitcham’s Corner. We believe that this is valuable space that could be used for safer walking and cycling, segregated by a tree-lined avenue of trees and verges the whole length of Milton Road; a safer more environmentally worthy landscape for one of the main gateways into our beautiful city.

Just three councillors can vote to decide the fate of Milton Road. Please email them with your views.

The GCP Executive Board (the ultimate decision-making body)

Cllr Francis Burkitt (Chair)
Cllr Lewis Herbert (Vice-Chair)
Cllr Ian Bates

Mr Mark Reeve
Professor Phil Allmendinger

You can also contact the Milton Road Project Engineer, Paul van der Bulk, and GCP generally at:

Or write to GCP, Room SH1311, Shire Hall, Cambridge CB3 0AJ

The Milton Road Alliance

The Milton Road Alliance is a joint partnership between MRRA, HPERA, and the Cambridge Cycle Campaign. It's purpose is to produce a better plan for the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which is currently in the form of the 'Do Optimum' proposal. More details about the Milton Road Alliance can be found here:

Do Optimum

A joint partnership between MRRA, HPERA, and the Cambridge Cycle Campaign has resulted in the creation of the 'Do Optimum' alternative to the City Deal's 'Do Something' proposal. The new Do Optimum proposal has been discussed and a resolution has been passed by the Milton Road LLF to recommend the Do Optimum proposal to the City Deal board. A joint statement by the 3 groups has been released and can be found here.

The Do Optimum proposal was presented to the LLF by Matthew Danish. A summary of the Do Optimum proposal can be downloaded here Download PDF

Do Optimum Road Layout

Petition Presented to Cambridge County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council required at least 3000 Cambridgeshire residents' signatures to debate the petition as part of a full council meeting. The online petition, along with our paper petition, has surpassed this goal. On 19th July 2016, the Milton Road Residents' Association Chairman presented the petition for discussion to the County Council.

A video of the meeting can be found here

Cambridge 105 Radio podcast interview with Milton Road Residents' Association

Click here to view the online petition

By the end of the meeting the councillors voted in favour of a motion from Councillor Jocelynne Scutt for the following recommendation:

'We want a commitment from the City Deal Assembly and the City Deal Board that if, in the end, construction requires removal of any single one of the trees in Milton Road, then the City Deal monies return to Milton Road mature trees lining Milton Road’s verges making Milton Road the impressive vista it should be, a lead-in to Cambridge of which we – all of us – whether Cambridge City or from the County as a whole can be proud.'

A further motion by Councillor Ian Manning recommending the City Deal to consider other options for Milton Road was rejected by the councillors:

'This council wishes to express its opposition to any plan that will result in the removal of the majority of trees on Milton Road. Further the council believes that measures contained in the City Deal do not represent an efficient or desirable way to tackle congestion and ask that more options be considered in the public consultation.'