Last year national government began to intervene in planning the future of Cambridge, which is normally the responsibility of local government. There was no political mandate for this intervention which proposed to double the size of Cambridge in 30 years despite obvious environmental and social limitations. Nor was there really any justification for this intervention because Cambridge is already one of the fastest growing places in the UK with one of the fastest rates of house building, and local government had already set out plans for continued rapid growth for the next 20 years. Having made the future of Cambridge a national government issue it is therefore relevant to ask parliamentary candidates what their party would do if elected.  

We have an idea of what the Conservates would do because they have already started, although the instigator Mr Gove is leaving. What would Labour do? We’ve been trying to ask Daniel Zeichner for 8 months without getting a genuine reply and our conversations with others in the Labour Party, along with public statements, suggest that Labour hasn’t yet decided what it will do with Cambridge but that they will still want to see very rapid growth in order to help the UK economy and public finances. It is unclear whether they would continue what the Conservatives have started, or whether they would hand the reigns of control back to local government or give powers to the Cambridgeshire Mayor, but either way expect continued rapid growth (click here to read their manifesto on development). The Liberal Democrat position appears to be that they would give control back to local government and let it get on with delivering their already ambitious local plan (most of the growth would be in South Cambs District which is run by the Lib Dems), that’s still fairly rapid growth. The Green Party has been clear that very rapid economic expansion is environmentally and socially unsustainable and they would want a more sustainable rate of growth. We don’t know what the Reform Party would do. 

We also know that no new water supplies can be provided to Cambridge until 2032 and a proposed water credit scheme to bridge the gap is not deliverable. At the moment major developments are being held up because there is not enough water for both people and the environment, in particular our rivers and chalk streams. What will politicians do? Will they allow growth at the expense of our environment? Or will they hold growth back for 8 years? 

This is a significant issue for Cambridge which could shape the city’s future for the next 20-30 years so do ask candidates what their position is and tell them what you think they should do. And do vote! 

There are several election hustings taking place locally, which CambridgePPF will try to attend and ask questions. You are very welcome to attend any of these, some require pre-booking: 

Mon 17 June, 7.30pm: Cherry Hinton hustings, Cherry Hinton Baptist Church,  Fishers Lane, CB1 9HR. Details here. 

Wed 19 June, 6:30pm: Hustings on the future of Cambridge at the Friends Meeting House, 12 Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BA. Organised by Friends of the Cam and FeCRA. Details and tickets here. 

Thurs 20 June, 7:30pm: Fulbourn hustings, St Vigor’s Church, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5EP. Details here. 

Monday 24 June, 7pm: South Cams & queen Ediths hustings at St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road organised by Queen Ediths Community Forum. Details here. 

Monday 24 June, 7:30pm: South Cambs hustings at St Andrew’s Church, Girton, chaired by the Rector, Michael Bigg. Details here. 

Wednesday 26 June, 7pm: Cambridge City Foodbank hustings, Church of the Good Shepherd, Mansel Way, Arbury, CB4 2ET. Organised in partnership with local anti-poverty organisations. Details here. 

Coton village recorded their hustings in which candidates set out their views on the Cambourne to Cambridge busway and other issues, click here to watch.