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Cutlacks store in Cambridge’s Mill Road set to close as owner scales down - and cites proposed bridge closure and congestion charge

Cutlacks, the home and hardware shop in Cambridge’s Mill Road, is set to close – with a looming congestion charge proving the last straw for the owner.

Owner Paul Chambers, 70, explained the closure was part of a plan to “simplify” his life but added that the threat of the city congestion charge and the Mill Road bridge closure had influenced his decision.

Cutlacks in Mill Road, Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell
Cutlacks in Mill Road, Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell

Proposals to build nine flats on the site while keeping a shop front downstairs have been submitted to Cambridge City Council.

Mr Chambers said: “It is closing because we are at a certain age and we are trying to simplify what we do.

“With the congestion charge and Mill Road bridge being closed and managing an outlying place, it’s too complicated and we are trying to ease our workload.”

He added he was worried about the future if the congestion charge is approved, saying: “I think it’ll make it very difficult. I think it might even prevent people coming into into Cambridge.”

And he pointed to “restricted flows” of potential shoppers coming past during the previous bridge closures.

“Closing the bridge just doesn’t work for us – that and the rates are part of a number of things that don’t help.”

The decision on whether the bridge should be closed again will be taken by Cambridge City Council on March 7. A protest against the proposed city congestion charge is taking place at Parker’s Piece on Sunday.

Mr Chambers explained he did not have a date for when the shop will close but that there were no buyers waiting to take on the store. Cutlacks has had a store on the site since 1995. The other Cutlacks shop in Ely remains open.

The application sent for consideration by planners envisages that the rear of the building at 264-268 Mill Road would be demolished and rebuilt to provide nine apartments. There would be shop space on the ground floor and basement with the front of the building being retained.

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