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.

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.

Labour’s Campaign for Mayor

The Labour candidate is Nik Johnson, and he has my full support and backing – you can find out more about him and how to support him on his website at https://drnikjohnson.co.uk

Here is what I wrote in support of my candidacy.

I’ve been a Cambridge City Councillor since 2018 and I am looking forward to standing again for the council at the next election, in May 2021. 

However I have also put myself forward to be the Labour Party candidate for another election taking place at the same time, the election for the Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority.  

The combined authority was established in 2017, with a wide range of responsibilities including promoting local economic growth, developing transport infrastructure, housing – especially affordable and council housing, skills and apprenticeships.

If I am selected as Labour candidate I will propose policies for the Combined Authority that the region and each of the seven local authorities will benefit from, and if elected I will deliver these policies, honestly and transparently.  

As an executive councillor in Cambridge I have been working on the shared local plan for Greater Cambridge. As an architect I know that the new plan has the potential to transform how we build new homes and communities. At the same time, I have the vision to improve how we provide spaces to support existing and new businesses and organisations. 

As we develop our plans together, we need to be mindful to reduce our carbon footprint and ensure that we all understand the consequences of our decisions. As a Labour Mayor I will stop the Combined Authority making things worse and take actions to control our negative effects on the climate and biodiversity crisis.

As a Labour Mayor I will commit to build new homes, create opportunities for jobs, and make sure every young person has an education that is right for them. The next generation need homes to live in, jobs they will enjoy, and infrastructure that supports them.

We don’t just need more homes, we need great new homes, particularly Council homes.  To be serious about climate change, we also need a plan to improve what we already have.

And of course we need to acknowledge that Covid 19 has forced us to adjust our living, working, and learning patterns. My manifesto will be visionary in reacting to the new situation whilst tackling inequality, and promoting infrastructure and a working transport system.

If selected by Labour to stand for Mayor you can expect to hear a lot more about my plans.

Room With A View

I get to use an attic room overlooking King’s Parade, and it is a great place to view all very many ways this significant Cambridge street is used: for protests, for dancing, singing and busking, for weddings and funerals and picnics both on the wall outside King’s and, more recently, on the college’s lawn. 

I often get my phone out to photograph the comings and goings of people but also the rain, sunsets and birds. Some I post up on Twitter with or without comments, but mostly they get left in my cloud storage. 

Today I photographed some dancing, singing, a bubble machine, families with dogs, some drummers, all in blue and silver glitter with flags, bunting and banners. A protest about the threat to water, and the climate crisis.  Both things I am very concerned about.  

The group behind it was Cambridge XR, and once they had assembled there were some speeches. About the climage emergency. About Black Lives Matters as well. Taking the knee and silence.  All on the green in front of King’s College, while the sun shone and a group of brass instruments played loudly further down the street.

After a short while the group reassembled and moved on, while continuing to protest while dancing and singing. I posted a couple of photos and quoted the banners, and referenced Cambridge XR. 

I don’t support any form of violence, but I do support freedom of speech and peaceful protests. I campaign for equality, to protect biodiversity, nature and to mitigate the climate crisis. 

I’m not a member of XR but I can see the impact they have had on the conversation about the climate crisis. The younger people are speaking out and I am trying to listen. 

We Need Safe Junctions in Trumpington

If you shop at the Waitrose in South Trumpington, or pass it regularly on foot, cycle or by car, then you may have noticed how hard it can be to turn into or out of the site, and how badly positioned the traffic lights are.

The issue of safety at the junction was first brought to my attention during my campaigning in 2017 and 2018, when I heard from several families with small children about their concerns. It’s not just that the road is inherently unsafe as cars approaching from the south can always turn into the junction, but it’s also impossible to teach young children to cross the roads safely as there is no safe way to cross here.

There are often queues building up to get into the carpark, and then a rush to drive over during the short period when the cars have the right to cross. And the visibility for cars turning in when coming from the M11 junction can be an issue if not kept under control.

When the junction was built, long before the thousands of homes in Trumpington Meadows and the new junior school, it was a minor inconvenience as it was only really used by people walking to Monsanto or cyclists heading south.

However, it is now part of a major thoroughfare.
There are many families who live in old Trumpington who cross twice a day to go to the Trumpington Meadows Primary School.
People who live in Trumpington Meadows use this route to go to the Clay Farm Centre, and the recreation ground.
Then there are visitors who go to the successful Country Park or want to walk over to Byron’s Pool Local Nature reserve.
And of course, the Harston – Trumpington cycleway also uses this route.

With so many more people using the junction, it has become a real concern, and not just because of the way cars turn into the site. Last week I heard a really worrying story from a local resident about a father and son who were heading south and waiting to cross.

A bus was pulling out but did not have enough time or space to leave the site, so ended up blocking the pedestrian route over the junction. The family crossed in front of the bus, with the father leading the way. The lights went green and the bus pulled forward without the driver noticing that the young son had not reached the safety of the crossing island.

As a result, the boy was trapped between the railings and the departing bus, and ended up bruised, and in shock. It could have been so much worse.

It’s clear that as well as some traffic control we need a safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists before someone is seriously hurt. Having worked closely with local residents to support the campaign to put safety measures in place along the guided busway, I hope we can pull together similar support here.

Campaigning in Trumpington

There will be elections on May 2nd for Cambridge City Council, and I’ve been out talking to hundreds of local residents about the issues that they face and asking them to vote Labour. I’m not standing this year, but I want to support our great candidates.

Normally there would be one City Councillor being elected, but after absentee former Lib Dem Donald Adey finally stepped down from his role on the City and County Councils after almost a year claiming he could represent the people of Trumpington from 400 miles away in Fife, we actually have a chance to elect three new Labour councillors – two for the City, one for the County.

And we have some great candidates: May Shafi and Matt Bird are standing for the City Council and Rob Grayston for the County.

Rob, May, Katie and Matt

You’ll be seeing us all out and about between now and the election on May 2nd – and if you have any questions about the campaign and our policies, do get in touch,

Taking Your Petition to the County Council

The petition calling for a temporary speed reduction on the guided busway in Trumpington now has nearly 4000 signatures and we are still pushing hard for the proposal to be adopted by the bus operators.

Yesterday I spoke to the County Council about the issue, as they are the authority responsible for the busway. I felt that the councillors understood the issues, and want to thank them all and especially Jocelynne Scutt for their comments.  The meeting has been reported in the Cambridge News – thanks to Josh Thomas for being there.

We have already seen some changes – the white lines and warnings on the busway are a welcome development – but we need more.

This is what I said in my allotted three minutes:

Continue reading “Taking Your Petition to the County Council”