A typical day…

June 1 2021…

Being a councillor is an important job, and each of us has to decide how much time we spend each day or week in our role, especially those who have caring responsibilities, full time jobs, or other voluntary commitments. I’m fortunate to be able to devote a lot of my time to it, and I really admire my colleagues who manage to fit in their work as a councillor with other obligations.

Now that things have settled down after the May elections, I thought it might be useful to share a typical day.

I usually start the day catching up with emails and checking out what’s being said on social media. I know they say you shouldn’t read what they say about you on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m afraid I can’t resist. Today I spent a productive couple of hours dealing with email, answering the pressing stuff and flagging the things that could wait, and found time to like and retweet some comments that resonated with me.

I helped out a couple of fellow councillors deal with a biodiversity issue and a road closure issue – because we work as a team. I’m always calling or WhatsApping (is that a word? I think it is now..) others to discuss issues outside my area of expertise where I need guidance, and I’m happy to do the same.

A lot of time goes into coordination. It’s a lot easier now that we can meet virtually – at least for most things (let’s not forget that the Conservative government refused to extend the provisions to let us hold council meetings online, forcing us to sit at suitably distanced school desks in the Corn Exchange for last week’s full council meeting).

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Thank you to all who voted Labour

At the Local Election on May 6 Petersfield ward elected three Labour councillors – me, Mike Davey, and Richard Roberston – and Cambridge City Council remains under Labour control with 27 of the 42 seats.

Thank you to everyone who voted Labour. We will be working hard to deliver on the promises we made to all of the people of Cambridge

Details of Petersfield results

Details of Cambridge results

Preserving and enhancing our chalk streams

In 2019 I convened a Water Crisis Forum which was attended by representatives of many local organisations, as well as Anglian Water. That forum, and the hard work of many organisations that care about water like the Wild Trout Trust, FECRA, the Wildlife Trust, Cambridge Eco Schools, and Cam Valley Forum, managed to put concern over the local water supply on the news agenda, and made people more aware of the threat to our precious chalk streams from over abstraction of water from the chalk aquifers.

I’ve continued to talk and campaign about this issue, and have followed up on the report we issued last February.

In this video (which you can watch by clicking the link) I talk about biodiversity, and the chalk streams. Labour is committed to doing more to help, so please vote for your Labour candidate on Thursday May 6.

The last few days of campaigning

The local elections are on May 6, and the Labour teams are still out around Cambridge talking to residents, delivering our leaflets, and working for your vote. I was delivering in Glenalmond this weekend, and I’ll be out in other parts of Petersfield today.

To find out more about how we’re delivering for communities here Cambridge  take a look at our manifesto online at https://cambridgelabour.org.uk/manifesto-2021/

My candidate statement

If you go to the Petersfield Labour website you can read more about me and why I’m standing.

I thought it would be useful to put it here too..


I’m Katie Thornburrow and I’m currently the city councillor for Trumpington Ward, but following the reallocation of large areas of the ward as a result of the boundary review I am standing for re-election this May in Petersfield.

I moved to Cambridge in 1986 to work as an architect. Since then, I’ve built my own architectural practice in the city, with an office on King’s Parade. My job has given me a lot of insight into the need for us to create good spaces for people to live and work in, as well as a passionate concern for issues of sustainability and ensuring a low carbon future. I’ve always been concerned about our food supply and how we make sure that we have good food that is sourced in a local, socially just, and sustainable way, so I did a Master’s Degree on Food Policy.

I was elected in May 2018, when I won Trumpington ward by four votes and became the first Labour councillor there for 73 years, since Edward Andrews in 1945-46.  I’m now the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces, which means I’m responsible for the planning service and for all the parks and other council-owned public spaces in Cambridge.

For me, the most satisfying thing about being a councillor is making a difference to people’s lives, whether that’s something simple like sorting out a bus stop or an overgrown hedge, or something much bigger like delivering Labour’s promises on council homes, congestion, and enhancing biodiversity.  I love the day to day contact with local residents and the sense that I can help in their lives in the short and long term.

When I became a councillor, and then an executive councillor, I decided to reduce my other work so that I could give it the majority of my time. Doing that is a privilege, and I know that many other councillors have to fit their commitments in with their jobs.  This has meant that I can take part in a wide range of activities, and joined a range of council committees including Civic Affairs, Employment (Senior Officers), Employment Appeals, Joint Development Control Committee – Cambridge Fringes, and Development Control Forum, Planning, and the Joint Planning Advisory Group. I am vice-chair of the South Area Committee which includes councillors from Queen Edith’s, Trumpington and Cherry Hinton.  I sit on on the Clay Farm Advisory Board, and  I am a trustee of the Storey’s Field Community Trust, as well as being the City Council member representative on  Natural Cambridgeshire, Water Resources East, and the Future Parks Accelerator Project.

I’m very involved in drawing up the next local plan, which will help decide how Cambridge changes to 2041, helping  to ensure the priorities of Climate Crisis, Biodiversity and Green Spaces, Wellbeing and Equality and Great Places are properly reflected. In Petersfield we have to look after and nurture our open spaces. We also need to deal with traffic congestion and the air quality problems it causes, and I will work hard to support active transport and make the station cyclepoint fit for purpose.

At a ward level, I’m really proud of work to deliver promised allotments on new developments, and managing to reroute a proposed cycle path that would have run directly through the new community garden.  Last March I was able to support the Trumpington Food Hub as it got established, and I continue to volunteer there. I helped to set up and manage the trumpington.info community website.

In planning, I have been guiding the planning team through the process of integration into a shared planning service, and representing Cambridge residents as we prepare the next local plan to set out how development will take place in and around Cambridge to 2041. In my Open Spaces role I am working to  protect and enhance these spaces so that they continue as an important places for our residents, and  increase the understanding and amount of biodiversity in the city and beyond – for example with the very well-received hedgehog campaign.

As a council we have achieved an enormous amount, especially around delivering our promises on building council homes and protecting the natural environment. Under my direction the open spaces team stopped using herbicides on our land, and we have planted over two thousand trees, and created new open spaces and wildflower meadows throughout Cambridge.

I am standing for re-election because I want to make sure that decisions made by local government reflect the interests of everyone, not just a privileged few.  I want to continue to deliver Labour’s promises, and carry on standing up for the environment.  We need find ways to live that balance people’s needs for a good quality of life with the planet’s need for us to live sustainably, and the city council has a key role to play in this

Sorting out Clay Farm Allotments

When I became a city councillor in 2018 one of the top items on my list of things to sort out was the delays in handing over allotments in Trumpington from the developers of the new estates to local residents.  Since then we’ve managed to get three out of four sorted – Glebe Farm, Trumpington Meadows and Nine Wells are all now growing local food for local people.

However there are still issues over the Clay Farm allotments, and I’ve just written to Dave Fox at Cambridge allotments to explain what’s going  on.

You can read it here

[the image shows a screenshot from allotments.net with a map of Clay Farm allotments]

The short version: the original agreements between the council and the developers in 2007 and 2010 weren’t properly thought through and the local councillors at the time did not seem to understand the issues.

Getting back to campaigning – safely

When it was announced that this year’s local elections would be going ahead everyone active in local politics was relieved that we would get a chance to speak to people, discover their concerns, share our vision and campaign for your votes.  

For the last few weeks we’ve been doing that through phone canvassing, but now we’re actually going out onto the doorstep again. Or rather, we’re knocking on doors and then standing a safe distance away from the doorstep, wearing a mask and following the guidance we’ve been given!

I have always enjoyed this part of the campaign the most, as it gives me a chance to meet people and find out what matters to them, to hear about any problems they may be having, and to explain why I believe that voting for a Labour councilor is the way to make sure that Cambridge can thrive.  

A lot of the concerns are about local issues, but we can also talk about bigger things.  I believe we need find ways to live that balance people’s needs for a good quality of life with the planet’s need for us to live sustainably, and that the city council has a key role to play, and I’m always happy to talk about our support for the environment, food supply, and biodiversity.

Today I was in Accordia, off Brooklands Avenue, an area I know very well as it is one of the sizeable parts of Trumpington Ward that has been moved into Petersfield as part of this year’s boundary changes.  It was hard to decide which part of Trumpington to stay with when everything was moved, but having lived in Petersfield in the past I felt that I had most to offer there.

I hope I’ll get a chance to see lots of Petersfield residents between now and election day on May 6, but if I don’t please get in touch – you can email me on katie@katiethornburrow.com or call or message me on 07480 246939.

I’m standing in Petersfield… but bringing part of Trumpington with me

I was elected to Cambridge City Council in 2018, when I won Trumpington ward by four votes and became the first Labour councillor there for seventy-three years, when Edward Andrews won in 1945-46.  However in the forthcoming election I will be standing for Petersfield ward, and I wanted to explain why. 

It’s all to do with the way Cambridge has grown, and the resulting changes in the number of voters in each ward.  In 2018 Trumpington had 8940 registered voters,compared to 5,364 for Petersfield and 5,724 for Market. It was projected that in 2024 Trumpington would have nearly 10,100 voters – while Petersfield would still be less than 6,000.

As a result the government decided to review the ward boundaries in Cambridge, a formal process that concluded in 2019 with significant changes across the city and meant that every councillor would have to stand for election in new wards with new boundaries – but the same names, as the number of wards didn’t change.

Most of the changes are small, but Market, Petersfield and Trumpington have changed substantially as the north of the Trumpington ward has been reallocated to Market and Petersfield. This means that the numbers of electors for all three will be around 7,000 per ward by 2024, but in order to achieve this over 2,500 resident have been moved out of Trumpington. There are other substantial changes in the north of Cambridge.

Read the boundary review here

Because of the changes I was faced with a decision as to which part of the ward I would stay with, and after talking to ward members who are in the newly expanded Petersfield ward, I decided to seek selection there.  I know the area well, having lived Petersfield three times during my three decades in Cambridge, most recently on Sturton Street. 

I also understand the issues it faces. I had been attending meetings of the Petersfield councillors to discuss shared issues, and as a result I knew about the things that concern the ward, like traffic congestion, community facilities and homes for older people. These are all issues I am working on as an executive councillor and I will continue to press them as councillor for Petersfield.

The 2020 election would have been fought on those new boundaries, but it was suspended, so this year we have elections for all City Councillors in the new wards, as well as the normal four-yearly County Council elections. And the Combined Authority Mayor. And the Police and Crime Commissioner… 

I am really pleased to be one of your three City Council candidates for Labour in Petersfield, and I hope you’ll vote for me and my brilliant fellow candidates, Cllr Mike Davey and Cllr Richard Robertson, so that we can continue to deliver for Petersfield and Cambridge.

Find out more about our campaigning in Petersfield on the Cambridge Labour Website

Cambridge and Doughnut Economics

Over the last few months your Labour councillors have been talking a lot about an idea called Doughnut Economics. Developed by economist Kate Raworth, it is a way to think about how we live that balances people’s needs for a good quality of life with the planet’s need for us to live sustainably. 

It is a really interesting model, and I think it offers a way for us as a Labour council to think about how our policies affect residents and the world, and how to make the necessary tradeoffs that ensure we will be able to support people and the environment, and begin to undo some of the damage that has already been done.

One way we’re getting the message across is by holding public meetings, but this is very different in this time of social distancing and staying at home. When I ran the Water Crisis Forum in 2019 I started by booking a room in The Guildhall, and had to think about seating arrangements, catering, and how to make sure the PowerPoint presentations were visible from the back of the room. 

It was rather different on Wednesday 17 March, when we held our online event on Doughnut and Cambridge, organised via the ticketing website Eventbrite, advertised on Twitter and Facebook, and run on the Zoom videoconferencing service.

Katie standing looking at a screen. The rear of the monitor is visible
Katie standing looking at a screen. The rear of the monitor is visible

  

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