Cllr Katie Thornburrow
City Councillor for Petersfield
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.