The Mill Road Summer team has been confused and saddened by a press release from the Mill Road Traders which arrived by email on Tuesday afternoon, 16 July and which will be reported on in the local news in the coming days. We’ve consistently tried to encourage involvement from local traders in Mill Road Summer and we’re working hard to support them and everyone else in our local community during this challenging time.
Here is our response:
Mill Road Summer was organised by volunteers, councillors and community groups in Romsey to be an umbrella festival for all of the events happening on Mill Road while the bridge is closed to cars. Numerous public events have been held over the past few months with the local community and traders invited to help shape the plans and budget for the Mill Road Summer.
From this, the approach to Mill Road Summer was developed to encourage the local community and businesses to submit their ideas and budgets so that promotional support and funding could be allocated. Many ideas have been submitted so far and Mill Road Traders are encouraged to apply and to get involved. Despite the division of funding between Romsey and Petersfield, Mill Road Summer decided that it was important to support applications from both sides of the Bridge as it was deemed vital to keep both sides of the Bridge united throughout the bridge works.
To see the events planned for Mill Road Summer and to register your own ideas visit www.millroadsummer.org. You can keep up to date with Mill Road Summer activities by finding @MillRoadSummer on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
A Mill Road Summer spokesperson said: “Rather than organise a few large events, we wanted to ensure all of the community had an opportunity to be involved in Mill Road Summer and that there was consistent promotion through a number of channels throughout the closure of the Bridge to cars. We’re encouraging the community to come and enjoy Mill Road while there is less car traffic on the streets and to support the local businesses we love so much and to remind them that for most of the closure they can still walk over the bridge.
In addition to encouraging local trade, Mill Road Summer is here to celebrate our local community and support everyone during a disruptive and challenging time.
Mill Road Summer is proud of what has been achieved with very little notice in challenging circumstances and we’ve consistently been trying to facilitate a united Mill Road throughout the Summer. The amount of behind-the-scenes organisation it has taken to get to this point has been substantial and we’re pleased to see that activities are now ramping up. The comments released today by the Mill Road Traders association are confusing as we’ve had a positive response to the work we’ve done so far despite little involvement from traders in our planning meetings.
From the suggestions we have been given by Romsey traders, Mill Road Summer is already working hard to fulfil many of them. We have been offering publicity for traders through promotional videos, photos and descriptions on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. We have been coordinating advertising for traders on local radio station Cambridge 105. We have funded and spent a lot of time organising many festival events to build a stronger community. We have given both Romsey and Petersfield traders the opportunity to have the story of themselves and their businesses spread to the wider Cambridge community, to bring more people down to Mill Road despite the closure of the bridge to cars. We have dedicated a lot of time to visiting traders up and down both sides of Mill Road and listening to their concerns.”
The idea for ‘Mill Road Stories’ the Mill Road Summer video series came from Dadhi from the Romsey Town Post Office. He became involved with Mill Road Summer as he wanted to tell the community about all the services they could use at his post office rather than go into town. The Mill Road Summer team produced a video of Dadhi to share on social media platforms. Due to the success of this first video Mill Road Summer has since created a series of videos to celebrate and promote the business along the Road. There has been an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the ‘Mill Road Stories’ series from the traders and from viewers on social media.
‘Mill Road Stories’ have also been produced for Limoncello, Taank, Fantasia, Raj’s Newsagent, Vanderlyle, Modigiliani, the School Run Centre, the Baptist Church, Century 21 and there are many more planned over the coming weeks.
Mill Road Summer is also working with the Cambridge 105 Radio breakfast team to run a weekly morning session titled ‘Mill Road Moment’. In this, they will invite guest from Mill Road to discuss Mill Road and Mill Road Summer. This is a fantastic opportunity at a prime listening time to celebrate and promote Mill Road but also discuss issues and queries. The first ‘Mill Road Moment’ aired on Wednesday 10th July.
So far, the ‘Romsey’ Mill Road Summer team has:
- Created an organisation and governing structure to ensure proper management of liability, insurance and budgets
- Developed the Mill Road Summer website and branding
- Developed a process for businesses and community groups from Romsey and Petersfield to register their event and request support
- Set up Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and generated significant numbers of followers and strong engagement
- Commissioned ads with local radio station Cambridge 105 to promote Mill Road businesses (broadcasts to begin next week)
- Facilitated ‘Mill Road Moments’ on Cambridge 105 breakfast radio
- Printed and delivered leaflets to most houses in Romsey and Petersfield
- Prepared a second round of posters and leaflets to commence distribution next week
- Liaised with contractors and the council to keep the community informed about what is happening on Mill Road and with the bridge
- Created video interviews and other social media content with numerous traders on Mill Road to promote their businesses
It is still early days and there is still more to come in the next few weeks. Mill Road Summer is planning to:
- Purchase targeted social media advertising to promote Mill Road to more people
- Increase the amount of social media content and encourage more volunteers to contribute
- Prepare more signage to help people find their way around diversions and over the bridge and to show the community that Mill Road is open
- Support and promote more community events
- Keep visiting traders to ask them to come forward with ideas for Mill Road Summer support.
The proposed parklet will require a small amount of the budget and has been developed through significant volunteer contribution from the local community and businesses who are all enthusiastic to try something new on Mill Road. The parklet will be a first for Cambridge and is going to create a lot of interest. It will attract people from the local community and beyond and encourage them to walk over the bridge and visit Romsey.
“Mill Road Summer is continuing to work on a united Mill Road and Mill Road Summer festival and we continue to extend our invitation to anyone from Romsey, Petersfield and the Mill Road Community to get involved. Our next weekly meeting is Thursday evening, should anyone wish to attend they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The funding from Govia Thameslink was always given for the purposes of generating community activities to attract people to Mill Road. At no point was it ever in scope that these particular funds were available for direct compensation for businesses on either side of the bridge.