Cambridge Local Elections 2023

Some Cambridge City councillors are up for election on Thursday 4 May 2023. Cam Skate are sending the following questions to local election candidates:

  1. If you have worked with Cam Skate directly, or have done any work that you think is relevant to the interests of Cambridge skateboarders, please give a brief description.
  2. How would you bring skateboarders more into the planning and decision-making process in Cambridge?
  3. Do you support proposals to replace Donkey Common skate park with a facility that is fit for use? As councillor, what steps would you take towards making this happen?
  4. Skateboarders in Cambridge have nowhere to skate during the winter. How would you address the need for winter-appropriate skate facilities?

Click to jump to your ward (which you can find out at Who Can I Vote For?) to view responses / information on candidates:

Cherry Hinton (1) Coleridge (1) East Chesterton (1) King's Hedges (1) Petersfield (2) Queen Edith's (1) Romsey (1) Trumpington (2) West Chesterton (2)

Cherry Hinton

Archie McCann (Liberal Democrats)

Relevant work to Cam Skate?

I'm afraid I haven't worked with CamSkate directly myself – I know some colleagues have in the past (such as Katie Potter), but I've not yet had the opportunity to do so.

Bringing skaters into decision making

Planning meetings are, as a general rule, woefully underattended, and those that do attend are sometimes just those who are most angry. We really need to rethink how planning decisions are made to take into account everybody's needs, not just those happy with the status quo or those in the majority. Specifically, I think CamSkate could send in letters in support/opposition to planning proposals, and planning officers at the council should take that into account as an interest group. The examples on your website give great ways to either have purpose-built skating facilities, or to incorporate skate-friendly architecture into other facilities, both of which I think planning officers should be carefully listening to you about.

Do you support Donkey Common campaign? How would you help?

Yes. If the people using (or currently not using because it's not fit for purpose) a facility aren't happy with it, then there's no point it being there. I lived near Watford when the new Oxhey Activity Park opened, and I love it because it feels like everybody can use the space. I'd be really interested in hearing your proposals for "DIY" skateable spaces. The skateboarding community has always had a stereotypically bad rep, but in my experience are very happy to put the work in to make spaces welcoming and to reduce disruption to others whenever possible.

How would you address the need for winter facilities?

Honestly before I read this question I didn't know that skate facilities could be "winter-inappropriate". It'd be great to learn more from CamSkate about what the needs of skaters are – and this goes back to your idea behind DIY skateable spaces, as yous would know best.


Tim Griffin (Labour Party)

Relevant work to Cam Skate?

I'm 67 with a total hip replacement and wobbly knees, so skateboarding is not my thing. However, I do cycle everyday. And I do enjoy seeing people using the skateboard parks around Cambridge. It looks like a lot of fun.

Bringing skaters into decision making

I think skateboarding is just one part of the general goal of having more open spaces in Cambridge that everyone can enjoy.

Do you support Donkey Common campaign? How would you help?

The city council made this statement last year. So, it looks to me like the ball is now in your court. You need to come up with an alternative proposal. (Please tell me if I'm missing more up-to-date information on this issue.)

Cam Skate comment: This council statement was based on our original design, even though we presented an alternative proposal some time before the statement was made. We clarified this with Tim. His reply:

Cam Skate is engaged in ongoing discussions with Councillors Collis and Thornburrow on these plans and I trust that they are handling this well.

How would you address the need for winter facilities?

If elected, I would look forward to seeing a proposal from your group for such a facility.

East Chesterton

Alice Gilderdale (Labour)

Cam Skate note: Alice has been working with us on the Donkey Common project, providing pressure and visibility among councillors to help us arrange meetings etc. and has also connected us with multiple possible grants that could be applied for (for DC or other goals).

King's Hedges

Alex Collis (Labour)

Relevant work to Cam Skate?

Throughout this year, as Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, I’ve had a fair amount of direct involvement and meetings with Cam Skate – including at Donkey Common, to discuss their vision for the site. Those discussions are ongoing, and I’m now getting a better understanding about what their vision for the site is. I do believe that we can work together to achieve something new for the site, that also fits with planned work in the area such as air source heat pumps for Parkside Pool. We need to make sure that the site works for all users, and I know Cam Skate is equally committed to that. What I am most excited about, however, is the prospect of a city-wide skating strategy – I want to see something that benefits communities on the edges of the city, as well as in the centre. There are other potential sites that we could be looking at, together with County Council officers, such as the East Road car park area. Skating has some amazing benefits in terms of health and wellbeing, and building community – there has to be a way we can harness that potential as a city.

Bringing skaters into decision making

Any city-wide skating strategy would have to involve skaters and Cam Skate. We, as a council, may have ideas about what is needed and where, but we need that expert input. That could be achieved through a mix of formal and informal channels – taking part in local plan consultations and workshops, and meeting with council officers, as well as going to people and asking how they would like to be involved. Formal channels won’t work for everyone. I’ve seen this work well with debates over community spaces in Abbey, where there was a more social, informal consultation – guided by community artists – to hear what local people thought would work for them. This sort of approach could work really well in this case, and could have the benefit of encouraging people put off by formal meetings.

Do you support Donkey Common campaign? How would you help?

Broadly, yes, I do. There are still a lot of questions to be worked through regarding Donkey Common as. site, including the footprint of the site and ensuring the different uses of the area (skating, pedestrians, cyclists and users of Parkside and Kelsey Kerridge) do not conflict. Cam Skate have already done a considerable amount of work on this, and this is a really encouraging step forward. I look forward to continuing these discussions. We need to work together to shape a Cambridge that works for everyone, including the skateboarding community.

How would you address the need for winter facilities?

This would need to be part of the development of a longer-term skating strategy for the city. Currently, indoor spaces in the city are at a premium, so we will need to be creative in our thinking about spaces that could be used. I would lobby for this to be built into future developments across Cambridge.


Note: this is the ward containing Donkey Common.

Joshua Morris-Blake (Green) Katie Thornburrow (Labour)

Katie Thornburrow (Labour)

Cam Skate note: Katie has been working with us directly on the Donkey Common project since it began.

Joshua Morris-Blake (Green Party)

Relevant work to Cam Skate?

I’m not going to pretend to be a committed skater, having last hopped on a board when I was about 13 - but I really enjoyed watching skateboarding make its Olympic debut in Tokyo, and learning about the differences between Park and Street disciplines. As a very sporty local resident passionate about accessibility in sports, I’d be keen to get more involved with Cam Skate and have just signed up as a member on your website.

Bringing skaters into decision making

Consultation and cooperation! Skaters are not the only group of people in the city unhappy about a lack of consultation on key issues in the city - many residents in Petersfield, for example, are currently - and rightly - unimpressed with the lack of meaningful consultation by the LibDem-Labour County Council regarding the proposed Sustainable Travel Zone.

People are more likely to be on board with decisions the council makes, if the council takes into account their views and ideas before proceeding. The same principle applies here: skaters are more likely to use new facilities if they are designed properly, taking into account their expertise and preferences. Therefore, I would ensure that any final proposals for, say, Donkey Common, have a broad consensus of support before any implementation.

Do you support Donkey Common campaign? How would you help?

Absolutely! A replacement is long overdue and would be a priority if I’m fortunate enough to be elected in Petersfield. Growing up in Brighton, I saw the Green-led city council complete the redevelopment of The Level skatepark and it drastically improved the space. There are far more people now using the park, it can be used into the late evenings thanks to new floodlights, and a water tap was also integrated into the design for skaters to use.

I’m really impressed with CamSkate’s proposed ‘plaza-style’ skatepark, particularly the considerations in terms of minimising environmental disruption and enhancing the local landscape. As a councillor, I would use my voice in the council chamber to support Cam Skate’s plan, and work with members to refine the designs to ensure they are as accessible and sustainable as possible.

Cam Skate have already outlined how the council could help with grant applications, so I would help facilitate time for council officers to work with Cam Skate members to process any relevant applications.

I would also be happy to write a public letter in support, and I’m confident other Green Party colleagues would be eager to support too!

How would you address the need for winter facilities?

In Brighton, many of my peers who did skate regularly were able to use the indoor skatepark at the Brighton Youth Centre when it was too wet to use outdoor facilities, so it’s a disappointment coming to Cambridge that skaters don’t have any similar opportunities to skate safely.

I think the idea of converting excess parking space to create a safe indoor space is great. Car parks are already a bad use of public space, and given there are almost always excess spaces anyway, I fully support a trial period, so long as the site is easy for younger skaters to reach themselves and it can remain an inclusive environment.

Skateboard GB’s letter in support of Cam Skate’s plans says they would support discussions with the city council regarding an indoor sports strategy, as they have done so in Manchester already. So it seems like a no-brainer for the council to take on this offer and use their expertise to see if there are any other possible options for new indoor facilities.

Queen Edith's

Antony William Carpen (Independent)

I've written up my response in a blogpost which I invite your members to scrutinise accordingly.

Cam Skate comment: Antony's full blogpost is worth reading, but we will include some quotes and our own comments below.

Relevant work to Cam Skate?

Antony has helped Cam Skate multiple times in the past, linking us up with other campaigning groups and signal boosting our Donkey Common campaign. Aside from this, a more general section from his post:

Cambridge does not have the governance systems to tax the wealth we’re told Cambridge generates in order to provide for what our city needs. In particular children and young people who are easily ignored and whose facilities always seem to be the first to be cut. Something that I experienced in the 1980s & 1990s in my own childhood.

“How do we get more people into the planning and decision-making process” – such as skateboarders and skaters

I’ve paraphrased the above because it links to the video I made outside Rock Road here about how our city functions. One of the things I want to do was something several of us tried out in 2015 at Be the change – Cambridge which I organised. Patsy Dell, then of Cambridge City Council kindly volunteered to run an Introduction to Planning workshop – which you can watch here. This is what I’ve wanted to see replicated because we demonstrated proof of concept just by running it. Sadly I did not have the capacity to persuade anyone to take it on and make it a routine workshop repeated across our city.

Do you support Donkey Common campaign? How would you help?

Antony presented our proposal to political parties in 2021 during the run up to the election.

How would you address the need for winter facilities?

You can read the indoor sports strategy here – one that I’m struggling to find a mention of skating in.

But what’s the point in having the strategies if they are undeliverable in the present model of local government? It’s broken. Hence my central pillar of my plans to overhaul it. Or at least try to persuade politicians to adopt the important parts for the general election.

Essentially, the challenges that Cambridge’s skateboarders and skaters have is similar to those that many other community groups and associations have. Our response to central government (which holds the powers) has to be a united one. And that involves repairing our polarised, grossly unequal, and fragmented city. Because if we do, we might just have a chance of becoming greater than the sum of our parts.


Mohammed Azamuddin (Conservatives)

Cam Skate note: Azam and Shapour put us in contact with the PCC and helped us apply for the Youth Fund grant which provided £3500 towards Donkey Common.

Thank you for your email, I and Azam are very happy to support Cam Skate in any way we can. We had few meetings with you and your group which made us to understand more about Cam Skates. We support your proposals to replace Donkey Common skate park with a facility that is fit for use and we will push to bring your organisation into the planning and decision-making process in Cambridge. We are looking forward to work together to deliver your goals.


Shapour Meftah (Conservatives)

Cam Skate note: Azam and Shapour put us in contact with the PCC and helped us apply for the Youth Fund grant which provided £3500 towards Donkey Common.

Thank you for your email, I and Azam are very happy to support Cam Skate in any way we can. We had few meetings with you and your group which made us to understand more about Cam Skates. We support your proposals to replace Donkey Common skate park with a facility that is fit for use and we will push to bring your organisation into the planning and decision-making process in Cambridge. We are looking forward to work together to deliver your goals.

Ingrid Flaubert (Liberal Democrats)

Relevant work to Cam Skate?

No. I have not done any work directly with Cam Skate. However, I have visited both as a Cllr and as a parent of boys with an interest in skating.

Bringing skaters into decision making

Seeing my children use Trumpington Skate Park made me realise that it is fun and healthy and we are happy to have it here because many have to travel to access it. As a member of the planning committee if I get re-elected, when possible, to do so, I can use my influence to persuade developers to integrate skateboarding and other activities in their development. I do not find that there is a debate about how valuable this activity could bring commercial input as well as adding cultural, educational and bringing people together from different backgrounds, addressing difficult social challenges.

Do you support Donkey Common campaign? How would you help?

The council was said to have repaired this park last July. If the facility continues to be unsafe, it would require another independent safety inspection in case that there are further safety actions. I have noticed that this skate park is very small compared to others. Pop-up skate parks are now increasing and it would be cheaper to do this in Donkey Common Park as finding funds to upgrade is proving difficult.

How would you address the need for winter facilities?

The Skate park in Trumpington needs better lighting and this is something that as a councillor I can pursue. I am ready to listen and work with the Cam Skate team to improve this urban sport.

West Chesterton

Mike Harford (Conservatives) Jamie Dalzell (Liberal Democrats)

Mike Harford (Conservative Party)

I swim regularly at Jesus green and often watch the skateboarding nearby and admire the skills of your activity.

I think it very important to encourage sport especially amongst youth. Now that skate boarding is now an Olympic discipline it would be fantastic to have the quality of facilities in Cambridge to encourage future champions.

I support my colleagues in helping your endeavours.

Jamie Dalzell (Liberal Democrats)

Relevant work to Cam Skate?

I have not worked directly with Cam Skate, but I was happy when I was a Councillor that the portfolio holders in our team (notably Cllr Katie Porrer) took various steps to support Cam Skate, building on work that Cllr Joye Rosentiel undertook introducing staking facilities built across the city. I have been happy to see skating (in various formats) rise up the agenda and be discussed within new development proposals.

If elected this year, I would be keen to ensure that facilities continue to improve across my area and the city. I know through conversations with Cam Skate members that pump tracks are flexible and have broad appeal (from toddlers on balance bikes, to older skateboarders) and I would be keen to see if there are other sites around West Chesterton where we could add them.

Bringing skaters into decision making

The Labour group's failure to consult Cam Skate on redevelopment proposals, including the Meadows council housing development, has been at times disappointing. As the local experts in skateboarding, with connections to national and international groups, we believe they should have been involved in consultations for new sites and housing developments. We are pleased to see that this is changing.

As Lib Dem members, we have raised this issue in planning and other committees, where appropriate, to ensure that skateboarding is included in overall sporting provision.

If elected to Council again, I will work to ensure that Cam Skate are harnessed in the discussions regarding developments in our area, including the work ongoing on North East Cambridge. We have already secured additional open space on this important site and we should ensure this includes great provision for young people, including a good skate site.

Do you support Donkey Common campaign? How would you help?

Donkey Common's equipment is due for renewal, and although it is not currently within my ward, I would endorse Cam Skate's participation in its redevelopment. I would hope to see a net gain in biodiversity achieved through any alterations and to preserve local trees and footpaths. It is essential that any proposals comply with Skateboard GB's official guidance, and we are aware that Cam Skate is being conscientious in adhering to best practices with their submissions regarding plans.

If action has not been forthcoming in 2023, if I was elected I would suggest bringing forward a capital bid to the 2023-24 Budget to make sure the money is there to get the work done.

How would you address the need for winter facilities?

I know that our team in Market has been in discussions with Cam Skate about using part of one of the city's multi-storey car parks for a more sheltered venue over the colder months, when outdoor facilities are less well used.

I appreciate that there are challenges to overcome, like insurance, managing noise levels and operating hours, but these should be manageable especially if it gives people (especially teenagers) a fun and creative place to spend time together.

More widely, we need more options for young people in the city centre and outside it and skateboarding should be something available to as many people as possible. I would be pressing the Council to take action accordingly.