Local Election Hustings

Petersfield Hustings took place on Sunday 25th & Monday 26th April 2021

Did you miss the Petersfield Hustings? Fear not. You can catch up, view the recordings and read all the answers which candidates gave to local residents’ questions.

Graphic of ballot box with voting slip about to be inserted

The Hustings Team hopes that the questions and answers will all help inform voters of the views of the Petersfield candidates, before casting their postal ballots – or voting in person.

There have been two zoom-based Petersfield Hustings:


For full information on the four elections in the fifth month on the sixth day see Elections 4-5-6…

The government has confirmed that all EU citizens who are registered to vote in the UK will be able to vote and stand for election at these polls. For further details see Elections in 2021 on the Cambridge City Council website here.


All Petersfield candidates were sent these six questions:

  1. Please provide a 200-word maximum personal statement on why you are standing in these City Council elections plus a photo.
  2. In which part of Cambridge do you live?
  3. Whether or not you are resident here, please briefly describe your connection(s) with Petersfield.
  4. What  are the three issues most needing Council attention in Petersfield?
  5. What are your own three practical goals for serving Petersfield, if elected?
  6. Local government is about service delivery; if elected, on which issue(s) would you most prefer to co-operate with Councillors of other Parties?

Answers were received from three of the four County candidates and from 10 of 12 City Candidates. You can read the candidates’ responses here.

Those who live, work, volunteer or study in Petersfield were invited to submit questions for the Hustings – a stunning total of 73 questions were received, both via email and via Chat during the Hustings.

Similar questions on important topics of key local interest were amalgamated to generate five questions posed to participants at the County Hustings and four questions posed to participants at the City Hustings.

Then hustings were attended by 150+ participants, from both within Cambridge and beyond (see ‘locations of participants’ listed on the recordings page).

The 25 ‘extra’ County Questions &  16 ‘extra’ City Questions from the Petersfield Community have been sent to all Candidates for each election – including those candidates who did not take part in the live events – candidates have been encouraged to also respond to as many as they wish, for uploading to our website. Responses to the ‘extra’ questions received by midnight on May 5th 2021 will be uploaded. Read the responses here.

The Petersfield Hustings website provides:


Not sure if you live in Petersfield? It’s complicated. The Petersfield County Division and the City Council Ward are not coterminous. They are mainly the same, but differ around the edges. The map shown here originally, was for the City Council (only) up to the date of the election. This has since been corrected with the two maps below.

Click on the map to visit the City Council’s Ward Boundary Review page, and map.
Click on the map to visit the County Council’s My Cambridgeshire page

In order to generate the map, you will need to select the My Maps tab, then open the ‘Council and Democracy’ menu in the sidebar.


Questions for the County Hustings focussed on these public services:

  • adoption & fostering
  • care for  the vulnerable & elderly
  • education
  • libraries
  • policing matters
  • parking issues
  • pavements & potholes
  • roads and traffic management
  • large-scale strategic planning
  • street lighting

Questions for the City Hustings focussed on these public services:

  • benefits
  • bins/recycling
  • City centre & Market Square
  • community centres/events
  • graffiti & litter
  • homelessness & housing
  • parks & open spaces
  • local planning
  • public toilets
  • refugee/asylum
  • rivers/mooring
  • tree services

The Petersfield Hustings were supported by:

And arranged by:

  • Piete Brooks (Hustings Technical Host)
  • Valerie Neal (Hustings Co-Host)
  • Helen Weinstein (Hustings Chair)

Accolades received

To all involved in Petersfield Hustings, Would just like to say, for the record, how brilliant the 2 ‘husting’ evenings have been and how illuminating I personally have found them. Have really made me think hard, as a ‘floating’ voter, and I am so grateful for all the efforts of all involved. Long may they continue into the future! Now I have a real dilemma to sort out before the 6th May! ….Very best wishes to you all

Sue Cox (Trustee, Petersfield Area Community Trust)

Huge thanks for organising the hustings. A really helpful event…. Very grateful to you for your hard work.

Chair of a Petersfield Residents Association

Congratulations….I thought it all went very well and your entire team performed flawlessly. Altogether a success.

Vice Chair of another Petersfield Residents Association

Thanks for a really well organised event.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow evening too.

Petersfield resident

Excellent question!!

Petersfield resident, in Chatstream during Live City Hustings

Excellent set of questions chosen.

Petersfield resident, in Chatstream during Live City Hustings

What you have put on is really important for local democracy

City Council candidate

Thank you for (co-)organising the Hustings and for all the flexibilities around the participation. This is a great initiative!

City Council candidate

Thanks, for creating this site and uploading all information! It looks really professional and it is a real model for local democracy.

City Council candidate

Thank you for everything. It is perfect. 

County Council candidate

Thank you for this comprehensive summary of the hustings. It looks as if it will be a fantastic event.

Campaign Organiser for one of the Cambridge parties

FotoDinkyMat Zapped by Aliens?

Following our earlier excitement at the mini photo-booth on Mill Road bridge and the community’s disappointment at reports that the photo-booth had been stolen, the community has rallied round. The Cambridge Independent asked for information…

… and Tara produced a poster.

Poster –Stolen: FotoDinkyMat
If found contact Cambridge Independent
Tara’s poster

Local artist Naomi Davies offered a print of her Dinky Doors painting as a reward for information leading to the safe return of the Mill Road PhotoDinkyMat.

Photo of Naomi Davies’ painting of Cambridge’s Dinky Doors
And Maurizio Dining offered free pizza

It seems, however, that all is not quite so simple…

Wreckage of the former booth has since been found on the pavement. When our web-editor visited today, he found a crime scene, where Dinky Constabulary’s DI Wallace and his colleague DDC* Gromit (both on secondment from Aardman Constabulary) were investigating.
* (Dog Detective Constable)

DDC Gromit (left) and DI Wallace at the crime scene
The same scene viewed from the Dinky Constabulary drone

DI Wallace and DDC Gromit refused to comment on speculation that the photo-booth had succumbed to alien attack. “We are keeping an open mind, and examining all of the evidence,” said DI Wallace, “however we regard the Melt-o 3000 as highly significant.”

A close-up view of the Melt-o 3000

Three teenagers who go by the collective name of ‘The Dolly Darlings’ were “shocked” to see the damage. “We were hoping to to get a set of photos for our PASS proof-of-age cards for when the pubs reopen, just in time for our 18th birthdays,” said Joanna Darling.

The Dolly Darlings. Left to right: Virginia, Veronica and Joanna

There are further reports on this mystery by Alya Zayed Senior reporter on the Cambridge News – New Dinky Door ‘crime scene’ appears in Cambridge after artwork stolen – and – By Alex Spencer of Cambridge Independent – Dinky Doors: the FotoDinkyMat has returned.

Investigations by Dinky Constabulary continue. Whilst there is a way to contribute financially to the work of Dinky Doors, here.

FotoDinkyMat comes to Mill Road Bridge

A mysterious new Dinky Door has arrived in Cambridge – a photo booth for tiny people. Read more on the Cambridge Independent website.

Mill Road bridge’s dinky door under investigation by K9
Three photos for 3p… if you’re small enough!
Photoshop processing department. Penny Plain: Tuppence Coloured
Essential maintenance: Wallace gives the booth a wipe down…
… whilst Gromit investigates the technical department.
Wallace prepares for his passport photo
Dinky Doors artwork stolen after just four days from Mill Road bridge in Cambridge

By Alex Spencer, in the Cambridge Independent, Friday 2nd April 2021 

Since the last update of this post, doubts have arisen about what really happened to the DinkyFotoMat. Read more: FotoDinkyMat Zapped by Aliens?

Elections 4-5-6…

Four elections in the fifth month on the siXth day…

image of ballot box bearing the word 'vote'

Cambridge will next go to the polls on Thursday 6th May 2021, to vote in four different elections.

The government has confirmed that all EU citizens who are registered to vote in the UK will be able to vote and stand for election at these polls. For further details see Elections in 2021 on the Cambridge City Council website here.

Deadlines for May 2021 elections
  • Friday 9 April: Candidates announced
  • Monday 19 April, 11.59pm: Deadline to register to vote
  • Tuesday 20 April, 5pm: Deadline to apply for a postal vote
  • Tuesday 27 April, 5pm: Deadline to apply for a proxy vote
Are you registered to vote?

If you’re not yet registered to vote, it’s time to rectify that, especially if you’re a local resident who frequently debates some of the hot topics of local concern, in comments on this website, or on social media. And why not check that your neighbours, family and friends are also registered to vote?

Has someone new moved into your street? Why not pop round and let them know when bin days are and how to get residents’ and visitors’ parking permits, and, check they know how to register to vote, online?

Will it be safe to go to the polling station?

Cambridge City Council are working to make sure that polling stations will be Covid-secure for polling day, with measures in place to ensure you and the polling staff remain safe. (Read more.)

Could postal voting be more convenient?

You can vote from the comfort and safety of your own home. Postal votes are available for anyone who would prefer to vote that way. Full details can be found on the Electoral Commission website. And don’t forget to send your vote in early! If you’re concerned about the risks of voting in person at a polling station this could be the solution for you. You can also apply for a proxy vote, where you ask somebody else to vote for you.

Does your friend or neighbour work irregular hours, which might make voting in person difficult? Could your cousin, who delivers goods all across the country, be stuck all day at customs in Stranraer, or in lorry-park in Kent? Encourage them to register for a postal vote.

And, don’t forget, every resident who doesn’t vote, hands greater influence to those people who always vote.
And their preferred candidates might not be yours…

What elections are happening?
  1. Cambridge City Council elections
  2. Cambridgeshire County Council elections
  3. Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner election
  4. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor election
And what do these all do?
  1. The city council are responsible for planning, building more council homes for rent, for emptying the bins, cleaning the streets, helping homeless people off the street, and much more.

    The whole city council must be re-elected. (It’s usually only one-third of the council each year, but some ward boundaries have changed.) Each ward has three councillors. You have three votes which can all be for the same party or split according to which candidates you think will do the best job. You cannot list them as 1st, 2nd 3rd choice.

    The current city council has a Labour majority, with a sizeable Liberal Democrat opposition. For many years there has not been a single Conservative elected to the city council.
  2. The county council is responsible for fixing the roads, filling the potholes, schools, libraries, children’s services, adult social care, the fire service (through the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority) and much more. The county council have responsibility for the current restrictions on Mill Road bridge. They also have (currently unused) powers to introduce penalties for drivers who block the pavements outside of Mill Road’s shops.

    The whole of the county council is re-elected every four years. Each division has one councillor. You can vote for one candidate. You cannot list a 2nd choice.

    The current county council has a Conservative majority, with the Liberal Democrats forming the main opposition. For many years there has not been a single Conservative elected to the county council, from within the city’s boundaries.
  3. The Police and Crime Commissioner has responsibility for oversight of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

    You can vote for two candidates: your 1st choice and, if you wish, a 2nd choice. This means that you can vote for the candidate you really want, and use your 2nd choice to help block the candidate you really don’t want.
  4. The mayor of the Combined Authority, works with our local councils, the Business Board (Local Enterprise Partnership), local public services, Government departments and agencies, universities and businesses to grow the local and national economy. The Combined Authority has taken over from the county council as transport authority. The mayor has powers under the Bus Services Act 2017 to improve bus services.

    You can vote for two candidates: your 1st choice and, if you wish, a 2nd choice. This means that you can vote for the candidate you really want, and use your 2nd choice to help block the candidate you really don’t want.
Isn’t this all rather complicated? And what about the Greater Cambridge Partnership?

Yes it is complicated, even more than you might think. And you don’t get a direct vote to the Greater Cambridge Partnership, the local councillors who you elect appoint decide which of them will sit on the board.

Venn diagram showing overlapping local government responsibilities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

And, if you’re considering ignoring these elections as ‘unimportant’ or because ‘I don’t know enough about the’, let us reiterate…
Every resident who doesn’t vote, hands greater influence to those people who always vote.
And their preferred candidates might not be yours…


There have been a number of controversies concerning Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Greater Cambridge Partnership, the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner in particular. These have been covered in local press, TV and radio reports, with some reaching the national press. As a non-aligned community group it is probably inappropriate for us to air these ourselves.

But this doesn’t apply to our readers and followers. Our comments section, below, is open to you. We will not, however, allow libellous allegations and, to protect yourself, you would be well advised to link to an on-line newspaper report.

Census: Count Me In

Census day is 21st March 2021.

But you can fill in the Census 2021 online as soon as your pack, with your access code, has dropped onto your doormat. And you can still do it for a while afterwards.

By taking part and encouraging others to do the same, you’ll help make sure our community gets the services it needs.

poster linking census to environment

Cambridge City Council and Mill Road Bridges are supporting Census 2021 because we want all parts of our diverse ‘Community of Communities’ to be recognised in Office for National Statistics figures; for Cambridge’s population to be reflected for what it is, a vibrant and unique place; and for our local councils to get the funding local people need.

poster linking census to education

The Census is online by default and now most households will now have received a Census 2021 pack with their access code.

If someone you know has difficulty getting online, contact the local Support Centre on 01223 300407 or by email at help@cambridgeonline.org.uk for support.

You can also ask for help from the Office for National Statistics Contact centre helpline0800 141 2021, or the Language helpline – 0800 587 2021 (open 8am to 8pm during the week and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays).

If you know anyone who needs a paper copy of the Census form, you can request a paper copy of the Census form here.

And, if you are a student in Cambridge, and you’re Right here, Right now (cheesy old skool ref) make sure that you complete the census, too.

poster to remind students to fill in the census

Winter Fair 2021…??

Announcing the 2021 Mill Road Winter Fair Annual General Meeting

This year’s Annual General Meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday 23 March at 7.30pm. Mill Road Winter Fair will be planning the 2021 Fair and exploring a range of exciting ideas for Mill Road Fringe events, which may take place during the summer months as the Covid restrictions lift.

This is the perfect time to join Mill Road Winter Fair’s team of volunteers and help shape the cultural life of Mill Road’s ‘Community of Communities’. Getting involved in the Fair is a great way to meet a fabulous bunch of people while also making a massive difference in our community.

Please email info@millroadwinterfair.org if you’d like to find out more and/or receive the Zoom link for the Annual General Meeting.

The 2020 Fair

In 2020, the Mill Road Winter Fair could not take place owing to Covid-19 restrictions. Instead, the first Online Fair featuring many of the local performers, artists, stalls and organisations who would have been there on the day, took place.

The Fair committee also coordinated an amazing community event to celebrate and showcase the identity and culture of Mill Road. Fun for all the family, the Mill Road Lantern Trail was funded by the charity, Love Mill Road.

Pavement Survey – Update

In December Living Streets Cambridge piloted a survey on the state of the pavements using nextdoor.co.uk for the Petersfield ward. This was also posted, here, on this website. In January 2021 the group has produced a pilot stage report (PDF), a brief snapshot of responses taken from 98 returns.

A second report exploring the findings from Phase 1 and 2 dated 11/03/2021 has now been released. It can be read/downloaded here.

The most striking finding is that only a very tiny minority of respondents responded positively to the question: Are you generally happy with your experience as a pedestrian in Cambridge?

Are you generally happy with your experience as a pedestrian in Cambridge?
Overall YES n= 14 (5.78%)
Overall NO n=153 (63.22%)
It depends n=76 (31.40%)

This clearly highlights pedestrians’ experience that many pavements are in a bad state of repair and frequently blocked for one reason or another.

Mill Road was reported for its narrow sections of pavement which made wheelchair and pushchair access dangerous and for the numbers of parked vehicles obstructing the pavement.

The survey is still open, until the end of March 2021. If you haven’t already taken part, you can do so through this link.

With the current focus on active travel, this state of neglect has come into sharper focus and suggests that continued targeting of limited funds on improving the city centre may not be the best way to address the needs of many of Cambridge’s residents.  This point has been made to the planners in respect of Making Spaces for People which, whilst it has an admirable focus on reducing pollution, concentrates almost entirely on the city centre. Living Streets Cambridge will continue to seek to represent pedestrians on other City and County Council fora relevant to their needs.

The intention, now, is to extend the survey to wider areas of the city and if anyone can help with doing that, through residents associations, social media or posting on notice boards like nextdoor.co.uk for other wards, Living Streets Cambridge would be very grateful for the help. For the present this is limited to City Council wards ( and County divisions within the city boundaries) as far as possible, though at a later stage it might be extended to surrounding areas.

Please email the Living Streets Cambridge group by clicking this link if you feel able to assist in any way.

It’s early days for the revived Living Streets Cambridge group and help of all kinds is needed. I hope this small start enables us to gain some momentum and work to stimulate improvement.

David Stoughton,
For Living Streets Cambridge


In many residential areas of the city the environment for pedestrians remains challenging due to a combination of high traffic levels, narrow pavements and poor maintenance.

As investment in road maintenance has fallen away, footways have become increasingly dilapidated and dangerous.  It will take a significant, concerted effort to get this put right. 

The Living Streets Cambridge group is determined to provide a voice and a campaigning platform for pedestrians in the city, an imperative that has increased in importance since the pandemic struck and ‘active travel’ has become a greater focus of policy.

Living Streets Cambridge

You can email the Living Streets Cambridge group by clicking this link, and/or sign up for local group news, here.


Living Streets is a UK Charity – Registered Charity Nº 1108448 (England & Wales) SC039808 (Scotland) – “for everyday walking”.

Kerb it

By Charlotte de Blois

As we negotiate recent changes to Mill Road it has become apparent that drivers subconsciously behave differently along different stretches of the road. Picture one shows how three car drivers chose to pavement-park opposite a build out.

While further down the road on a narrower stretch of the road, Picture Two, shows how a driver uses the build-out as protection for his parked car and helpfully stays on the road.

This allows pedestrians to use the narrow pavement unimpeded.  Thank you grey car driver.

Pavement Survey – Living Streets

Mill Road and its surrounding streets – like much of Cambridge – suffer from pavements which offer a poor environment for pedestrians, particularly parents with toddlers, and people with disabilities.

The Living Streets Cambridge group was set up to tackle Cambridge’s poorly-maintained pavements – pavements which are cracked and rutted, causing trip hazards and puddles to form, with poorly-sited street furniture adding to the pedestrian obstacle-course…

Rainwater conduit with eroded screed covering, uneven, subsided brick and flag paving, highway signage obstructions, 91 Mill Road CB1 2AW

Overgrown hedges create further obstacles as do wheelie-bins left permanently on the pavement. Living Streets Cambridge believe that these obstacles should be tackled, too.

Black, green and blue wheelie-bins and ‘side waste’ block a narrow pavement, off Mill Road. Photo taken two days before blue bin collection, nine days ahead of black bin collection and 15 days before green bin collection.

Too little action has been taken to address these issues, in part because no register exists to identify all of the problems and bring them to the attention of the highway authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) and City Council (responsible for refuse and recycling collections).

Unregulated pavement parking adds to the problem, blocking pavements and contributing to further cracking, rutting and subsidence, despite Cambridgeshire County Council being granted powers to tackle this nearly a decade ago. Read more about those powers here.

Little room for pedestrians, when this delivery-driver prioritises vehicular traffic. Note, too, the damage to the kerbs and paving-stones.

As a first step towards tackling these issues, Living Streets are conducting a short survey to identify where problems exist and catalogue them by type. The survey can be found here.

Readers can help Living Streets Cambridge by taking the time to complete the survey, giving as much detail about problems and locations as possible.

And please let friends, neighbours, and others who may be interested, know about the survey, by forwarding the link to the survey, or this blogpost to them.


Living Streets is a UK Charity – Registered Charity Nº 1108448 (England & Wales) SC039808 (Scotland) – “for everyday walking”.

We want a nation where walking is the natural choice for everyday local journeys.

Our mission is to achieve a better walking environment and inspire people to walk more.

Progress starts here: one street, one school, one step at a time. Read our three year strategy to find out more about our vision, mission and values.

Living Streets > About Us > Our organisation

Living Streets Cambridge add…

In many residential areas of the city the environment for pedestrians remains challenging due to a combination of high traffic levels, narrow pavements and poor maintenance.

As investment in road maintenance has fallen away, footways have become increasingly dilapidated and dangerous.  It will take a significant, concerted effort to get this put right. 

The Living Streets Cambridge group is determined to provide a voice and a campaigning platform for pedestrians in the city, an imperative that has increased in importance since the pandemic struck and ‘active travel’ has become a greater focus of policy.

Living Streets Cambridge

You can email the Living Streets Cambridge group by clicking this link, and/or sign up for local group news, here.

Mill Road Bridge Restrictions

What are the next steps? When will the scheme be reviewed?

Consultation

We invite comments on the closure of Mill Road Bridge to all vehicles except buses, cycles and pedestrians. Please send your comments by email to [redacted as the consultation is now closed – Web Editor]

The first six months of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) are the consultation stage during which we record all feedback.

A survey runs between 12 noon on Monday 9 November until 23:59 on 24 December 2020 to offer an additional opportunity for people to have their say on the changes and their impact on Mill Road.

We will collate all feedback, whether from emails, letters or the survey and present it to the Highways and Transport Committee when they make their decision on whether to continue the trial, make the changes permanent or to re-open the bridge to motorists.

Mill Road Bridge trial road closure, Cambridgeshire County Council website

Note the closure date of the consultation; Christmas Eve. As Monday 28th is a public holiday; the earliest that all of the comments could begin to be considered and collated would be on Tuesday 29th December 2020.

Readers who have completed the survey themselves will note that there were quite a few sections with space for ‘free expression’ of ideas. These will take some time to assess and aggregate.

The Highways and Transport Committee will hold a virtual meeting on Tuesday 19th January 2021 at 10:00. Click here for meeting details. There is no further information at the time of writing but, if readers keep returning to it, they will, eventually, find a full agenda pack for the meeting published in PDF format to read/download. In amongst that will be a summary of all of the feedback on the Mill Road scheme.

The full calendar of County Council meetings can be viewed here.

It will be quite a tight timescale for Cambridgeshire County Council’s officers to compile a report for the Highways and Transport Committee.

The full membership of the Highways and Transport Committee, including substitutes for those unable to attend, is here.

As for members of the public ‘attending’ (virtually)…

To help people follow the debates at Cambridgeshire County Council we are live web streaming on YouTube our Council meetings. You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #CCCmtgs.

Council meetings Live Web Stream, Cambridgeshire County Council website

We hope this information is of help, to all of our readers and subscribers, whether for or against the scheme, or (like most people) wanting some limitations but not these exact ones.


This blogpost is open for (polite) comments.