Cam Skate can only affect change if the people in power listen to us. How can we improve our chances of getting our voices heard?
By voting and putting pressure on candidates.
Cambridge skaters need to know which candidates support skating, and candidates need to know that skaters are organised, and can sway their chance of being elected.
Cambridge will next go to the polls on Thursday 6 May 2021, to vote in four different elections.
The deadline to register to vote was Monday 19 April, 11.59pm.
Find out who your local candidates are using Who Can I Vote For?
Get in touch with candidates and find out where they stand on improvements to skate facilities in Cambridge. Let us know what you find out and we will collect all relevant information on this page.
Too young to vote? You can still email candidates and try to convince others, like parents/guardians.
You should ask candidates about anything you think is important, but here are some suggestions. It doesn't hurt if multiple people ask similar questions - this is also about showing skaters are engaged.
It can be good to include a mix of open (what do you think of...?) and closed (yes/no) questions.
The elected Mayor leads the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority which is made of the seven council leaders in the county - Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire, Fenland, Huntingdonshire, Peterborough, South Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire County Council.
The Mayor and Combined Authority have powers over transport, housing and planning in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The Mayor gets funding for transport from the government and is responsible for drawing up a Local Transport Plan.
We reached out to the three mayoral candidates with the same set of questions. We received a response from Dr. Nik Johnson, the labour candidate.
Labour Party candidate in the Mayoral election.Read More
Nik replied to our questions:
I have been inundated with similar questions from lots of groups. I apologise for the brevity of my answers but I think you will find in me an ally for the Skater community (if not actually able to do an "ollie")
Councillors are responsible for making decisions about local services and budgets, while council staff implement the councillors’ agreed policies.
Parties and candidates are presented in alphabetical order.
We currently have no responses from Conservatives candidates on the issue of skating. Send us any responses (or email a candidate and cc us) and we can add them here.
Jeremy Caddick of the Cambridge Green Party got in touch with the development team at Eddington on our behalf to try and find out why our DIY skatepark was being evicted. He described the project as "an excellent community project and a good use of otherwise derelict land while it isn’t being used".
Green Party candidate in Abbey in the Cambridge local election.
Since Cam Skate reached out to the Cambridge Green Party Hannah has been in touch multiple times, inviting us to give feedback on Chesterton Recreation Ground and East Barnwell Regeneration.Read More
Green Party candidate in Queen Edith's in the Cambridge local election.Read More
Cam Skate member Daan Leenders reached out to Peter asking for his comments on skating in Cambridge and received a response. You can read the whole response here. Some quotes, edited for brevity:
I am a roller skater [...] Though I am not a skateboarder, we do share common facilities; or we would do, but as a relative newbie, I have been put off using outdoor facilities during the pandemic due to their small size and lack of council upkeep.
Potholes are a huge issue that the council has not done enough to solve. This is dangerous and affects [skaters, rollerbladers, pedestrians]
I don't believe that the council is doing enough for skaters in Cambridge. Facilities (which are all outdoors) need upkeep, which the council is not committing to. We would like to work with Cam Skate and Cambridge RollerBillies on skating issues.
I definitely agree with the proposals to replace the Donkey Common skate park [and all facilities] with something fit for use. It would be great to enlarge facilities too as I personally wouldn't call a couple of ramps a "skate park". I would like to see more.
[Lights at skate parks are a] basic health and safety issue, there is absolutely no reason not to have adequate lighting. In fact I would suggest sufficient lighting all along foot/cycle paths in Cambridge’s parks, similarly to what we now have on Parker’s Piece, as many residents do not feel safe walking alone at night through these paths.
In response to Antony Carpen's question on Twitter "Which candidates for @CamCitCo elections are in favour of a new, larger skating facility in Cambridge?" the Cambridge Green Party responded:
We recognise the lack of adequate skating facilities for the Skate community in Cambridge and support the goals of Cam Skate to make sure that skating facilities are part of the ongoing development of sports facilities in Cambridge.
We need to support community building for people of all ages and interests as we come out of the pandemic and sports equipment like this is really important.
Independent candidate in Queen Edith's in the Cambridge local election.
Sam has supported Cam Skate since its inception and has helped us understand the workings of local politics. As a supporter of 'meanwhile spaces', making temporary use of land, she was a defender of the DIY skatepark efforts that Cam Skate grew out of.Read More
Sam's response when asked for her thoughts on how skaters can be better included in local politics:
It's incumbent on us all to find ways to includes young people's voices (including, but not limited to skaters) in decisions about how space is used and to dispel the prejudices about what happens when young people gather together.
We'll make 'safe space' playgrounds for under 11s but we have a real blind spot about how to accommodate the needs and preferences of older age groups. To quote Jane Jabos: "Little tots are decorative and relatively docile, but older children are noisy and energetic, and they act on their environment instead of just letting it act on them". The work your group did on the University's vacant plot is a great example of harnessing that energy for positive ends and it's a real shame that you weren't allowed to continue to develop that site. We should be looking to provide incentives for imaginative grassroots projects like that.
Labour Party candidate in Petersfield in the Cambridge local election.
Currently serving as Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources.Read More
Mike responded on Twitter to the question "do you agree Cambridge lacks enough proper skateparks and Donkey Common skatepark should be improved?"
Absolutely agree... we need more skateparks. Trumpington soon, brand new for East Chesterton on its way. Working on Donkey Common for bid later in the year. Thanks for all your advocacy.
From our point of view, this is a promising response - we met with Mike, Katie Thornburrow, and other members of the council last year, and they were supportive of the idea of building a new park at Donkey Common. In later emails Mike has confirmed that Cam Skate would be involved from the start in any such bid, although it's worth noting that he is hesitant to fully commit to concrete details at this point. I don't want to give the impression that a vote for Labour in Petersfield is in any way a guarantee that we'll get a new park at Donkey Common but Mike and Katie at least publically support the idea.
It's also worth noting that of the two other parks Mike mentions, Trumpington was not built by the council and Cam Skate only found out about it from a member of the construction team, and the East Chesterton park is described by the council development team as "a wheeled sports facility [like Trumpington pump track] rather than a dedicated skate park. Even with these new additions Cambridge skateparks are still massively overcrowded and need refurbishment.
Labour Party candidate in Petersfield in the Cambridge local election.
Currently serving as Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces.
Katie met with Cam Skate multiple times in 2020 and was able to secure repairs and installation of bins at Jesus Green skatepark.Read More
We're thankful to Katie for all her support with Jesus Green skatepark. We've contacted Katie multiple times since December 2020 on the subject of lights at Trumpington skatepark, and more recently to ask for her comments on skating in general before the election, but have yet to receive a response.
Liberal Democrats supported the original installation of ramps at Donkey Common and on Jesus Green, when former Cllr Joye Rosenstiel was in charge of their communities portfolio.
Liberal Democrats candidate in Market in the Cambridge local election.
Currently serving as a councillor in Market.
Katie invited Cam Skate to talk at a council meeting to help raise our profile in Cambridge, and helped us put pressure on Labour for repairs at Jesus Green skatepark.
Katie made us aware of the Meadows housing development project, the skatepark element of which we've been providing feedback on and sharing designs with Cam Skate members.Read More
We invited Katie to comment on how she has helped Cambridge skateboarders in the past and her plans for the future. You can read the full response here. Some quotes from Katie's response:
"Liberal Democrats believe that Cam Skate, as a group with extensive expertise in this area, should be consulted in any developments which involve skateboarding proposals. I was disappointed and surprised to find that this had not happened recently with the ruling Labour group, even in their Meadows council run housing development."
"I understand how the Donkey Common ramp, whilst well used, is not really fit for purpose any more but I would want any proposals for a replacement to made in consultation with Cam Skate to ensure that the best and most accessible choice is made."
"Cam Skate have been asking the council whether it would be possible to use one of the multi-storey car parks in the city for a sheltered venue and I would be very keen to take this forward to explore what permissions would be needed and to consult residents for their views on this. There are considerations around noise levels, insurance and opening hours, but these are not insurmountable problems and can be addressed."
Liberal Democrats candidate in Newnham in the Cambridge local election.
Currently serving as a councillor in Newnham.Read More
Matthew O'Neill reached out to Markus with the question "At the moment we have zero skateparks. I feel a perfect location for a skatepark would be on llamas land recreational ground. Can you please let me know your thoughts on this because we are in desperate need of a skatepark", to which Markus responded:
Thank your question- I agree that for example the skate park near the Parkside Pool is always very well used. I am happy to take this suggestion away and discuss with officers and my council colleague Cllr Matthews (in cc). We are currently discussing the long term plans for Lammas Land and as such I think need to review the provision for skaters and other similar sports.
As of Friday 9th of April all candidates are now officially announced. We will be contacting all candidates to hear their position on skating in the coming months. We encourage you to do the same. Send us any responses (or email a candidate and cc us) and we can add them here.