Cllr Katie Thornburrow
City Councillor for Petersfield
I’m City Councillor Katie Thornburrow and I’m one of four Labour councillors for Petersfield Ward, working with Mike Davey and Richard Robertson on Cambridge City Council and Richard Howitt, our County Councillor.
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, and I have a Master’s Degree on Food Policy.
I was first 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. After a change to ward boundaries and the delayed local election because of Covid-19 I was elected as a councillor for Petersfield in 2021.
I’ve been an Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces and for Planning and Transport. I’m currently the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Infrastructure which means I’m responsible for the planning service and for the parts of transport policy that the city council manages. I’m working to develop the new local plan for the Greater Cambridge Area, as well as developing our sustainable transport policy.
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 parking fine 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 it means I have joined a range of council committees including Planning, the Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Transport & Infrastructure Committee, Civic Affairs, Joint Development Control Committee – Cambridge Fringes, Development Control Forum, and the Joint Planning Advisory Group.
I attend the East Area Committee which includes councillors from Abbey, Petersfield and Coleridge. I sit on on the Cam Conservancy, and I am a trustee of the Storey’s Field Community Trust, as well as being the City Council member representative on the Local Government Information Unit, East West Mainline Partnership, Water Resources East, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Flood and Water Partnership I’m very involved in drawing up the next local plan, which will help decide how Greater Cambridge changes to 2041, helping to ensure our priorities of Climate Crisis, Biodiversity and Green Spaces, Wellbeing and Equality and Great Places are properly reflected.
At a ward level, I’m really proud of voting against inappropriate planning applications that would damage the area, representing residents when petitioning the council, securing grant funding, getting more hedgehog doorways into garden fences, and listening to the concerns of residents and local businesses about proposals to reduce congestion and pollution.
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.
As a Labour council we have achieved an enormous amount, especially around delivering our promises on building council homes and protecting the natural environment.
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. I worked very hard to raise awareness of the water crisis facing the county, because this will have a significant impact on where and when we build homes, and continue to push this issue.For transport, our direct power is limited as most of the decisions are made at county level, but because we now have a shared administration we are able to fight more effectively for our policies, and I work closely with Richard Howitt and our other county councillors. I’m especially concerned with supporting active transport like walking and cycling, and making sure that trains and buses are reliable, available, and affordable – and that they run at time people need. I’m also working to put our city in the centre of the rail network and ensure that Network Rail does what is best for 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 help everyone in Petersfield, to continue to deliver Labour’s promises, deliver a good local plan that puts communities and sustainability and its centre. 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.