This will be the final entry in this blog.
Over the summer, our family decided that we would relocate away from Cambridge in early 2024. My term of office as the Independent city councillor for Queen Edith’s ward runs until next May, but as my long-term future isn’t in Cambridge, I feel it would feel wrong to stay in post any longer, continuing to make decisions which will affect the lives of those who will be here. I have therefore decided to relinquish the position with immediate effect.
It has been a great privilege to serve the residents of Queen Edith’s, and I am very sad to stand down. However, a further reason to resign now is that it is long enough until next May’s local elections that a by-election to fill my position will be held. This means I can be sure that Queen Edith’s residents will have continuous representation by a full complement of councillors.
Avoiding adversarial politics
I have been the only Independent councillor since my election in May 2021. This has enabled me to work with councillors from across the political spectrum to address casework and wider issues within the city, particularly related to my interests in planning, transport, community development and social justice. I chose to stand as an Independent because I dislike adversarial politics, and I’m very grateful to councillors from all parties who have offered their cooperation and support.
In particular, I must thank Councillor Naomi Bennett and her colleagues in the Green party, who I’ve sat with in an administrative group, for their help in navigating the more byzantine aspects of the Council’s operation. I have also benefitted from the expertise and dedication of some outstanding officers across all areas of the Council’s work.
Explaining what’s going on
During my time on the City Council I have been able to highlight the many challenges Cambridge faces. This blog has been a very effective way to do that. I know from many conversations with residents that they have really valued someone taking the time to explain what’s going on, why things are as they are, and how our local government structures are woefully inadequate for both tackling the problems and maximising the opportunities which the city’s growth presents.
I have worked as hard as I could to do my bit, but it is more apparent than ever that, without a major overhaul of local government structures, financing and powers, our council will struggle with relentless demands to maintain current levels of service and protect residents’ quality of life.
Readers of this blog will know how seriously I have taken my responsibilities to Queen Edith’s residents and to the city in which I have spent my entire adult life. Over that period, I’ve experienced it from several perspectives, including as Chair of the Queen Edith’s Community Forum since 2015 and more recently as your Councillor too. I hope that in both roles I have been able to make a difference – they have presented me with some of my biggest challenges, for example during the Covid pandemic, but also some of my proudest and most satisfying achievements.
A new chapter
I have been lucky enough to receive support from so many people in Queen Edith’s and beyond, and have had the privilege of working alongside some truly talented and dedicated individuals. Thank you all.
I will be moving on and starting a new chapter in my life next year, but this blog will remain online. I hope that the information and ideas which I have documented here in over 130 weekly articles since 2019 will be useful to those trying to secure better outcomes for the city and its residents, in the face of its pressing environmental and social challenges. ♥
UPDATE Thursday 12 October
Thank you so much for you kind messages, below and privately. Many people have said that they hope the work I’ve been involved with will continue. One direct way in which you can make this happen is to support our Community Food Hub with regular financial donations. The Food Hub is entirely community-run operation, which works efficiently and locally like almost nothing else I’ve seen in the area. But it will only last while people support it. Make a one-off gift, or set up a regular donation of a few pounds every week or month. It’s up to you. Details on how to donate are here.