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Meet the four candidates vying to replace Lewis Herbert as the next Labour leader of Cambridge City Council

The four candidates vying to replace Cllr Lewis Herbert as leader of Cambridge City Council have been revealed.

The Labour leader announced his intention to stand down late last night (Monday), following nearly seven and a half years at the helm.

Cllr Lewis Herbert will step down as council leader in November. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Lewis Herbert will step down as council leader in November. Picture: Keith Heppell

This makes him the longest-serving council leader since the council was established in 1973.

He will stand down at the end of November, but continue to serve as a ward councillor represent Coleridge on the Labour-led council.

The four candidates hoping to succeed Lewis as the new leader of the Labour group are:

  • Cllr Rosy Moore (Coleridge), executive councillor for climate change, environment and city centre;
  • Cllr Martin Smart (King’s Hedges), non-statutory deputy leader and chair of planning committee;
  • Cllr Anna Smith (Coleridge), statutory deputy leader and executive councillor for communities; and
  • Cllr Katie Thornburrow (Petersfield), executive councillor for planning policy and transport.

Here, we find out more about each of them.

Cllr Rosy Moore

Cllr Rosy Moore
Cllr Rosy Moore

Cllr Moore has been leading the council’s efforts on climate change, which have included fresh standards for new council homes, installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels at 11 of its major buildings, LED lighting at 10 buildings, a solar thermal system at Abbey Pool and energy efficiency measures at the Guildhall.

She has also had to navigate the council’s controversial work on revamping Cambridge market, which aim to “reanimate” the space.

A councillor for five years, Cllr Moore, who serves on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s joint assembly, studied international relations and development studies at Staffordshire University, and has worked at Cambridge Baby and at Mood Foods in Sawston.

Originally from Lambeth in South London, she move to Cambridge about 17 years ago and has lived in Coleridge ever since.

A mental health support worker, she is a single mother to three teenagers, and one grown-up.

In her ward, she has helped secure funding for new playground equipment at Lichfield Park and improved pedestrian access with new trees and planting at the Hobart/Suez Road block, and she helped set up and run Coleridge Community Action to support vulnerable residents during the pandemic, also opening the weekly Coleridge Food Hub in St Thomas’s Hall, providing essential goods for households in need while reducing waste from shops and businesses.

Cllr Martin Smart

Cllr Martin Smart
Cllr Martin Smart

Among Cllr Smart’s notable roles on the planning committee was chairing the debate that led to plans for The Flying Pig pub being rejected in March. He called for “a clear package of measures in place for the future sustainability of The Flying Pig”, although the owner of the site, Pace Investments, gave the landlords six months to leave, casting the pub’s future in doubt.

A councillor since 2014, Cllr Smart has said he believes in a fair society where everyone has an equal chance. He has pledged to challenge discrimination.

Originally from Bristol, he moved to Cambridge in 1994 to organise a city council children’s festival called PlayFest which ran for three years.

After starting a family, he stopped work to look after his twins and later on his third child, and become involved in community organisations such as Woodcraft Folk, and those in the areas of disability, sport and art.

A governor at North Cambridge Academy, a member of Kettles Yard North Cambridge Open House Community Panel for the arts and a committee member of Disability Cambridgeshire, he works as an exams administrator in schools.

During the pandemic, as that work came to a halt, he has worked as a hospital porter at Addenbrooke’sto help with the effects of the pandemic.

In discussion over the North East Cambridge development, he called for it to be a home for the creative industries, rather than given over solely to the “knowledge industries”.

Cllr Anna Smith

Oxford-educated Cllr Smith’s role include work to build better communities, and that has included helping with the city’s pandemic response, working with officers on support networks and providing funds. It has also involved laying on events such as the free Music in the Parks series.

Cllr Smith trained in Cambridge to be teacher, and taught history, classics and archaeology at Hills Road Sixth Form College for 13 years, where she was a middle leader, specialising in pastoral support and guidance. She went on to become deputy head at Parkside Federation, teaching at Coleridge and Parkside and setting up Parkside Sixth. She now works as an education adviser.

Cllr Smith said she is passionate about social justice, something sparked after her dad, an electrician, had to give up work due to ME.

“I grew up on benefits, watching my parents do everything they could to make the money go as far as possible, and knowing how much my dad would have done anything to be well enough to work again. And then I turned on the TV and watched Tory politicians calling people on benefits ‘shirkers’, and I got such a sense of the injustice of these privileged people telling my amazing dad he was no good. And from that moment on I knew I wanted to fight for social justice and support for the most vulnerable. It’s why I went into teaching, and it’s why I’m a socialist,” she said, while standing for election in May.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow

Cllr Katie Thornburrow. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Katie Thornburrow. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cllr Thornburrow has fronted the city council’s work on the emerging Local Plan blueprint, which will guide where tens of thousands are homes are built to 2041.

Upon the release of the first proposals, she said: “We want to use land carefully and wisely – building on as small an area as we can, so we can boost the amount of land managed for nature and take steps to increase our biodiversity.”

Raised in Hong Kong, she undertook architectural training in the UK and has worked in practice and research. She was a partner of a commercial architectural practice and a director of Cambridge Architectural Research for years. A member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), she has been registered as an RIBA Conservation Architect since 2011. Her architectural practice, Granta Architects, specialises in the restoration and extension of historic buildings.

Cllr Thornburrow, who has lived in Cambridge for 30 years, is also the co-author of a number of conservation management plans, including for the Fitzwilliam Museum, the University of East Anglia and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich,

She studied with Prof Tim Lang at City University, achieving a masters in food policy and is a director of Cambridge Sustainable Food.

She was elected to the city council, to represent Trumpington ward, in May 2018.

Read more

Lewis Herbert says the time is right to stand down as Cambridge City Council leader after seven years

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