Candidates for the Cambridge City Council Queen Edith’s by-election on why they should get your vote
Four candidates will by vying for votes in a Cambridge City Council by-election taking place on Thursday, November 23.
The poll in Queen Edith’s ward follows the resignation of Independent councillor Sam Davies.
Labour, which runs the city council, will be hoping to add to its 25-strong representation, but the party will face competition from the Liberal Democrats, who have 10 councillors currently, along with the Green Party, which has four, and the Conservatives, who have one.
There is also one Independent councillor on the authority after Cllr Mairéad Healy left the Labour group in response to the national party leadership’s comments over the Israel and Gaza conflict.
The Tories won their first seat on the council at the last city council by-election, which took place in King’s Hedges, when Alex Collis resigned from the Labour group shortly after the May elections. Cllr Delowar Hossain’s victory was attributed to the debate over the congestion charge.
Having lost a couple of seats on the council, Labour will be hoping to regain one – but the other parties will all be hopeful that the race is wide open.
Ms Davies had represented Queen Edith’s ward since her election in May 2021.
She announced last month that she would be stepping down due to a family decision to move away from Cambridge in early 2024.
At the time she said it had been a “great privilege” to serve people in the Queen Edith’s ward and said she was “very sad” to stand down as a councillor.
Polling opens at 7am on November 23 and will close at 10pm.
Ahead of the city council poll in Queen Edith’s ward, we asked hopefuls to explain what they would offer.
Thomas Ron – Labour
I’m running to be a city councillor for Queen Edith’s ward because I believe that residents deserve an accessible champion on the council.
If elected I plan to hold frequent surgeries and events across the ward, bringing myself to people. I also want to champion the community in all my work, listening to residents and raising their concerns at council. At any given time I plan to be only a phone call away.
My priorities are based on the issues I’ve heard from residents. If elected I want to work to tackle GP waiting times by pushing for more face to face time and helping residents with NHS digitalisation.
I also want to help with the cost of living by pushing for a return to the warm rooms and assisting community organisations with the funding they need. Furthermore I want to tackle antisocial behaviour by working with the police to improve their routes and ensure the council puts resources to provide people with resources so they don’t get into crime.
Additionally, I want to work with our schools, liaising with them and working with the county council to speed up SEND diagnoses. Finally, I want to hold developers to account and will use the council’s powers under section 106 to ensure that they pay back into the community. I will also work with ecological groups to make sure they get the resources and fight to protect chalk streams like Nine Wells.
This plan is based on listening to residents on the doorstep, the hundreds of surveys I have had returned, and the community events I have organised. I want to be the accessible community champion, acting on our priorities through the lens of values that I share with this community.
Immy Blackburn-Horgan – Lib Dem
I am the candidate in this election who already has an active track record in the Queen Edith’s community.
Living here for the past five years, and working at Addenbrooke’s, I’m acutely aware of the issues on our doorstep.
I’m proud of the ground-breaking work done here, but we must manage the results of success and build the fabric of the community to ensure this remains a great and caring place to live.
In 2020, with the help of the Community Forum and others, I set up a residents’ association in the Red Cross Lane area.
With the police, I established a neighbourhood watch scheme to address a variety of anti-social behaviours.
I have volunteered with local children in developing Hope’s Friendship Garden and won funding for a community noticeboard to promote jobs, events, services and artistic works by people of all ages.
Many will also have seen me volunteering at the local food hub, the Nightingale Community Garden, the church café, Joy’s Garden, Skip Days, homelessness sleepovers, as a police cadet leader – and more.
As a city councillor I aim to multiply this work through the whole of Queen Edith’s, involving more people, especially young people.
I’ve seen at first hand how bringing people together can effectively tackle issues, which reflects my liberal values. I will work with my Liberal Democrat colleagues to make the change we need at the council.
Please vote for me on November 23 – a local champion working for a great Queen Edith’s within a successful Cambridge.
Oliver Fisher – Green
I want to join the group of Green and Independent councillors on the city council because they are challenging a decade-long drive to expand the city in a way that is unsustainable and has failed to provide affordable housing, decimated the green belt and changed the character of our city.
The Green Party is helping to change the conversation. In May 2023, 18 per cent of Cambridge residents voted Green, electing two new councillors to Cambridge City Council and increasing the number of Green councillors to 10 per cent. Across the city and across the country, more people are looking to the Green Party for fresh ideas to challenge business-as-usual politics.
I am very passionate about tackling issues that impact our city and community. I was a parish councillor in Teversham for nine years. This has given me experience working in local government and knowledge of the effort needed to achieve results and the importance of working with others.
The challenges that we face in Cambridge are great and I believe that I can offer a lot to help us find a fair and sustainable way forward. If elected, I promise to carefully scrutinise council proposals and listen to residents so that I can speak up for them.
David Carmona – Conservative
As a local councillor, I will listen to what constituents have to say about the future of Queen Edith’s.
I will strive to foster a strong community spirit in our area. I will hold the Labour-led council to account for its decisions and raise issues that are brought to my attention by residents. For too long the local council has taken people here for granted and ignored local voices.
This was blatantly illustrated when it tried to impose the poorly thought out and highly unpopular congestion charge proposal on our city. The Conservatives were the only party opposed to the congestion charge and I remain firmly against it.
I care about sustainable transport that promotes walking and cycling, but we need to get the balance right. I will use my seat on the local council to explore alternative ways of helping people in Queen Edith’s to get around the city and live their daily lives in a sustainable manner.
I’m delighted that the government is funding the £200 million Cambridge South station in our ward as it will provide better connections to Addenbrooke’s for staff and patients alike.
Finally, I am also determined to ensure that local people have a greater say about large-scale planning proposals that will affect their quality of life. Labour and the LibDems care more about party policies than the interests of residents. It is time for our residents to stop being taken for granted. Please vote for me and I will stand by you.
Look out for the result and reaction to the by-election at cambridgeindependent.co.uk.