Building Quality Forum

The Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017 alerted us to unsafe cladding, but there are many other concerns about the quality of the buildings we live and work in. As a councillor, I want to know more about the situation, and about what we might be able to do about it.

So on Friday July 22 I’m bringing together a group of experts with a panel of councillors to find out more, and discuss what might be done

You can register for the panel on Eventbrite, and read more about it here on my blog.

Supporting the Aims of the CEE Bill

There has been some criticism of Labour councillors for the way we voted on a motion at the Council meeting on Thursday 27 May. A motion of support for the Climate and Ecology Bill, which had been laid before Parliament by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and a group of other MPs in September 2020 came to the Council. Labour proposed an amendment which welcomed the Bill, but laid the emphasis on attempting to deliver change through the Environment Bill which is currently being debated. This amendment was passed, and the amended motion was then passed by the council

What that means is that the City Council supports the ambitions of the CEE Bill, but believes those ambitions need to be achieved in a different way, because not even the CEE Bill’s most ardent supporters believe it will become law when we have an anti-environment Tory government with an eighty-seat majority led by a man who has betrayed every promise on the green agenda he has ever made.

Continue reading “Supporting the Aims of the CEE Bill”

A Year of the Trumpington Food Hub

The Trumpington Food Hub opened in the pavilion on Tuesday May 5 last year, supported by the City Council, the Trumpington Residents’ Association and Cambridge Sustainable Food, and this afternoon a group of the volunteers who have kept it going every week since will meet on the rec to reflect on what we’ve achieved and how we have worked to look after each other during the last sixteen months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The way the community worked to support those in need, with mutual aid groups coordinated via WhatsApp, the trumpington.info website, and the Trumpington Volunteer Service all emerging to add to the work done by existing groups of all types and sizes, has been a real testament to our ability to care for and look after one another. Over the year we’ve seen prescriptions collected, pets walked, food delivered and all sorts of other support, especially for those who needed to shield during the most difficult periods as this awful disease spread.

Things are a bit easier now, with many of us fully-vaccinated and elements of day-to-day living restored, although we are clearly not through the pandemic and still need to be careful and responsible.

Continue reading “A Year of the Trumpington Food Hub”

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).

Continue reading “A typical day…”

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