Latest Stories



CAMBRIDGE city councillors have given the green light to £305,000 funding for eight projects aimed at improving the lives of Cambridge residents who are hardest hit by the high cost of living.

The money is being allocated to the eight schemes from the council’s Sharing Prosperity Fund, which was set up to pay for initiatives that fall within the scope of its Anti-Poverty Strategy.

Since 2014, a total of £1,329,000 has been allocated to 25 projects aimed at tackling poverty in Cambridge as part of the strategy.

The initiatives that will benefit from future funding are:

Cambridge Street Aid (£14,292 in 2018-19)

The money will pay for a new part-time coordinator to recruit and train a team of volunteers to extend this programme of support for people sleeping rough. Street Aid has already raised more than £25,000 in public donations which is being used to provide grants for people sleeping rough, enabling them to take part in training, employment and wellbeing activities.

Fuel and Water Poverty Officer (£40,000 in 2018-19)

The council’s Fuel and Water Poverty Officer has made over 220 home visits since April 2015, advising residents about energy and water efficiency, with more than 286 residents taking up energy or water saving measures, saving residents an estimated £174,000 from their annual bills. The £40,000 allocation will be used to cover the cost of the existing post.

Digital Access Programme (£112,000 from 2018 to 2020)

An existing digital access programme is in place that is geared to increasing access to the internet and boosting basic digital skills for low income residents. This funding will support continued activity by the council, Cambridge Online and other partners.

Universal Credit Outreach (£78,000 from 2018 to 2020)

A new skilled financial advisor will be funded at Job Centre Plus to support households impacted by the rollout of full service Universal Credit from October. The Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) advisor will work for up to five hours per day, five days per week to help people maximise their incomes, reduce outgoings and provide other financial support.

Outreach advice project in health centres and other settings (£35,000 in 2018-19)

The money will help to pay for a full time generalist advisor at Cambridge CAB working to support people who present with mental health problems resulting from debt, employment and other welfare rights matters.

Living Wage campaign and engaging businesses in poverty (£20,000 in 2018-19)

Since November 2014 the council has funded a part-time officer to promote the Real Living Wage, providing direct support to half of the 56 employers in Cambridge now accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. This funding will pay for the continuation of the existing post.

Active in Cambridge (£30,000 in 2018-19)

Money will be used to continue the existing programme of affordable and accessible physical exercise opportunities for residents with the greatest financial or health needs. These include subsidised or free swimming, a free exercise referral service that will be extended to four new GP surgeries and expanding the Street Games weekly sessions for young people aged 11 to 24 to King’s Hedges and Trumpington (in addition to Arbury).

 Cambridgeshire Culture Card pilot (£30,000 in 2018-19)

The Culture Card pilot aims to increase participation in arts activities by children and young people, particularly those from low income families.

This funding will pay for prototype testing of the card with around 60 young people in Trumpington Community College and their parents.


Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Communities, said:

“I am pleased these excellent initiatives will get the funding they need to continue helping local people.“Our Anti-Poverty Strategy aims to help and support people who are experiencing hardship and it is clear that our work, ranging from increasing incomes by promoting the Real Living Wage to employers, to helping reduce utility costs for low income families, is making a difference.

“We know that while the Cambridge economy continues to be successful, some residents continue to face poverty and inequality. That is why we remain committed to working with others to support those who need our help most.”

Councillors approved the recommendations in a report, Allocation of Sharing Prosperity Fund at Community Services Scrutiny Committee on 15 March.


Cambridge Labour is tackling poverty

16 March, 2018. NEW MONEY FOR INITIATIVES TO TACKLE POVERTY   CAMBRIDGE city councillors have given the green light to £305,000 funding for eight projects aimed at improving the lives of...

March 2017

I am saddened and somewhat ashamed when residents point out the trip hazards on pavements and potholes in the roads because there is very little that I can do about it.  I am a city councillor, and roads and pavements are a County Council responsibility. 

One thing that can be done is that you can report this sort of problem at

If you do this you can make sure that County know about the problem

November 2017

I just had to let another Romsey resident know that their pavements will not be repaired.  This time it was Catharine St that had captured my attention after a resident had drawn my attention to the state of their pavement.

I contacted the County Council as they are responsible for pavements (and roads).  I was told the pavement budget had been spent up until 2021 and that even then it was unlikely that there would be money to spare except in the most extreme cases.


Given that Shire Hall takes takes £1190 from me as their share of my council tax, perhaps someone will tell me how much of it they spend in Cambridge?





Romsey pavements

March 2017 I am saddened and somewhat ashamed when residents point out the trip hazards on pavements and potholes in the roads because there is very little that I can...

11-3-18 .  Well it finally happened.

Well done to all those people who made it to Romsey Lakes today.  And by the response from the 1,000 or so people who came, all the effort was worthwhile.
Thanks to Guy and the volunteers who made it possible.
Thanks to everyone for leaving your cars at home. 

I anticipate another opening in April - watch this space.



From Capturing Cambridge website.

Saxon & Norman Works:



February 2018

Trial opening of the lakes on 11th March between 1000 and 1500.

At long last a trial opening of the lakes will take place on 11th March.

if you decide to visit, please don't bring your car - there is nowhere to park.

Children must be escorted and no dogs.

I am not the first person to try to achieve this opening.  I have stood on the shoulders of others who went before me and prepared the way for me to succeed.

The following from the local plan may be of interest to people viewing this page.


I went down to the lakes on Thursday to check everything was OK for the open day on Sunday. In the background are 'Romsey Cliffs'.



January 2018

On the 16th January I chaired a meeting of the wider committee that has helped to organise the opening the lakes.  At that meeting I was able to announce that we are almost ready to open the lakes on a trial basis.

Volunteers have been working at the lakes to prepare for the opening

There have been a number of setbacks which have stopped the opening in the past, but watch this space for a date to be announced in March 2018.

Thank you to the volunteers who have helped to make this possible




February 2017

For three years now Romsey Labour Councillors have been working to get the Romsey Lakes open to the public.  We have held a number of public meetings and worked closely with council officers and Anderson to recognise what the public want and achieve this in a safe and efficient way.

The planning application which recognises our wishes will soon be in the public domain and this includes an application to provide 450 homes 40% of which will be affordable.  

The next phase of the public consultation is happening at the Holiday Inn, Coldhams Business Park , CB1 3LH between 1600 to 2000 on Thursday 24th February and 1000 to 1600 on Saturday 25th February



December 2016

There has been a great deal happening with Labour's plans for the lakes.  A series of meetings with Andersons have been taking place over the past three months and we hope to announce something extremely positive in late January early February.

Unfortunately the content of the meetings is confidential and we are at a delicate stage, but I am very confident that people will be extremely positive about the announcement when it comes.

What I can say is that we have followed the steer given by the public meetings that have taken place.



A meeting is arranged with Anderson for the 11th July
Watch this space



The local and PCC elections and now the European Referendum have meant that I have had to focus elsewhere but this does not mean I have let this matter drop.  I am in regular touch with officers to try to get communications working properly with Anderson but they do not seem to be responding effectively.  The ball is very much in Anderson's court as we are ready to proceed to a plan to open the Lakes for visitors.


Met again with officers and we are still having difficulty obtaining the ecology report from Anderson.  I have reached out to the owner and communications have been re-established.

Plans are still moving forward from our perspective.

Our Health and Safety report has raised some issues that are not significant but will need to be addressed.

Officers are working hard and we have a plan, but first we need the ecology report from Anderson.

We have a meeting scheduled for next month.



I had a meeting today with council officers.  

  • Anderson appear to have stalled on their promise to release the ecology report
  • Meeting with Peterhouse is arranged for later in the month
  • A full Health and Safety inspection is now under way to build on the preliminary all clear that we received from the insurance company
  • Conversations are taking place about controlling anti-social behaviour
  • Communications plan will be in place by the end of the month

I have asked for a further meeting with officers before the end of the month to update me


Follow this link to read about the history of the cement works whose workers dug the hole that is now full of water and which we call The Lakes 

UPDATE 19-11-15  Next Steps Committee

A successful and well attended meeting last evening at Mill Road Depot.

There were updates from

  • City Council
  • Andersons

There was also wide ranging discussions on a number of topics. In particular there was a concern over rumours that were being circulated about further uses for the lakes.  It was agreed that all members of the committee would provide the same message.

The lakes will be opened for walking only - there is no other agenda


The actions that are required as a consequence on the discussions from last night’s meeting.

  • The City Council, Anderson and Peterhouse are to meet  and encourage Peterhouse to support the aspirations to open the lakes for walking in the short term and for the longer term entering into an agreement on how the collective ownership manage the site to the approved Masterplan.  Alistair Wilson/ Craig Rought and Rob Linney
  • The Risk Assessments completed by City Council Officers and Zurich Municipal will be shared with Anderson.  
  • A long term and a short term plan may be needed and supported by a Communication Plan, to manage local expectations.  
  • The City Council will discuss and agree a policy on dogs using the site, and with the help of the Enforcement Team consider the use of Dog Control Orders. 
  • There will a follow up meeting with the East Cambridge Urban Park group when the ecological reports are available.
  • Meet with the Angling Club to discuss ecological improvements they wish to make.  
  • The City Council will make arrangements for a further series of Open Days for Spring 2016. 




UPDATE 4-11-15


I held a successful meeting with Carina O'Reilly and council officers yesterday to report on the displays and consultations that have taken place at East and South Area Committees and the 4 tours public tours.

It has been agreed that the time is approaching for council officers to start negotiations with Anderson's and to this end the forecast 'Next Steps' committee on the 18-11-15 will now take place.

This is how I see the future

  • Next Steps meeting 18-11-15 will bring people up-to-date
  • Anderson and the City Council will discuss terms and the Master Plan
  • Anderson will apply for planning permission
  • City Council will consider the planning application



3-10-15 Two more visits to the lakes - this time in the sun










29-9-15 More residents viewed the lakes today - more trips at the weekendIMG_0701.jpeg





24-9-15  Residents viewed the lakes today - more trips next week


There were questions about current ownership and these are answered below








Proposed East Cambridge Country Park

Public guided tour


The City Council would like to invite interested members of the public to attend a guided walk around the former Cement Pits at Coldham’s Lane, to hear about proposals to allow public access for quiet recreation around this attractive and wildlife rich site.


Thursday 24th September      14.30—16.00

Tuesday 29th September       12.30—14.00

Saturday 3rd October            10.30—12.00


Please register your interest to attend one of the above tours at: or call

01223 458520 during office hours



 A year ago to have thought we would be this far down the line was difficult.

But the potential opening of the lakes is now becoming a reality 






We are mindful of the potential difficulties in just opening the lakes so we are going to open them for one or two days as a trial for people to see the potential.  

When the dates are agreed people will be asked to apply on a first come first served basis and visitors will be organised in groups to be taken around the lakes



This afternoon the 'Next Steps' group met at Mill Rd Depot to consider an open day date for the lakes.

We also considered an agenda for getting the lakes open to the public for walking.

Although progress seems slow be assured we are moving forward.




We took the Lake's Committee around the lakes last night.


Zoe Moghadas, Colin Wiles and Baroness Worthington visiting the lakes


Sue Wells (Chair of Friends of Cherry Hinton Brook) and Dave Baigent (Chair of the Labour led council group working to open the lakes to the public)



In two weeks time the 'next steps' group will be meeting to consider how to open the lakes.



Met with officers today as Chair of the East Area Urban Park Committee and suggested:

  • We immediately carry out a health and safety inspection
  • We offer an opportunity for those who attended the public meetings to walk around the lakes
  • We ask Anderson's for an interim ecological report
  • We set a date for a meeting of the 'next steps' group 


Now that the General Election is out of the way I am meeting with officers tomorrow to discuss the next steps we shall be taking, and to find out how much the delay in the City Plan will influence the opening.

Wait for the update.




I have to say that nothing would have happened if it hadn't been for the local campaign group led by Steve Turval and his colleagues.  They campaigned locally for over three years and it was one of their group who persuaded me to take up the campaign if I got elected as City Councillor.

I pledged to help, and during my first year on the council I have established a public committee to bring people together.  This committee has council support and now it only a matter of waiting for the result of the local plan before we can put proposals out for a proper public debate. Then it is a matter for Cambridge City Council to make the final decision and hopefully we shall open the lakes for walking.



Anderson's invite to public consultation 27-2-15 

Dave Baigent attended the consultation meeting at the David Lloyd Centre and spent over two hours having lively debates with some of the 350 people who attended.
It is important to note that nothing is set in stone but that following Dave getting the interested parties together at two meetings at the Guildhall there has been a considerable activity.
This consultation is the next step towards a potential opening of one lake for walkers.  There are a lot of hurdles to cross, including keeping safety at the top of the agenda. People are invited to respond to Anderson's Questionnaire as part of this next phase of consultation.  

The website is available at and comments can be made here or to





People will have been monitoring the meetings Chaired by Dave Baigent at the Guildhall on the lakes.  It now seems likely that walking access will become available this year subject to health and safety approval and agreement about how to protect the ecology of the site.

This of course is part of a wider scheme to develop the land at the back of the lakes adjacent to Coldhams Lane.  To ensure people are up to date the Anderson Group will be providing a public consultation event for their draft plans for the whole site as follows

-       Saturday 28th Feb @ David Lloyd, 11am to 4pm.

-       Monday 2nd March @ Queen Emma Primary School, 5.30pm to 8.30pm.


for further details go to


Dave Baigent City Councillor for Romsey

29th January at the Guildhall.

Cllr Dave Baigent chaired a second public meeting to discuss the future of the lakes. Committee room one was filled to capacity by representatives of over 30 groups and individuals.

Dave was able to inform the meeting that there had been a considerable progress since the first meeting and that it was now possible to see a light on the horizon in the move to get the lakes open to 'walkers'.  

Patsy Dell head of planning at Cambridge City Council advised the meeting that the draft city plan laid out a vision for the future, and that her and Dave were meeting regularly with interested groups on the council and outside to make this proposal a reality.

Cam Lakes reported on how their survey had almost 1000 responses and that the vast majority of these were positive.  Fiona gave a detailed explanation of some of the trends shown in the survey and Dave thanked her and the rest of her team for carrying out this important work.

The Managing Director of the Anderson Group Andrew Jay explained that he was in favour of opening the first lake.  Discussions were already in hand with insurers and Andrew also spoke about how advice was being sought on what a management group would look like.  Anderson's will be holding a public consultation late in February at which they will be providing their initial thoughts for the whole site.

Patsy, Andrew, Fiona and Dave responded to a wide range of questions in what proved to be an friendly, informed and lively debate.

Towards the end of the meeting Dave asked for volunteers for a smaller project group to look in more detail at the proposal.  

In summing up the meeting Dave said "The prize is clear: the opening of the first lake to walkers, early consideration to disabled access, the protection of the ecology and foremost in the minds of all would be the safety of those using the site."

Before closing the meeting Dave thanked Patsy, Andrew Fiona and the wider meeting for their support.

Addendum  CEN are running a story about Romsey Beach, this is not on the agenda.  Current thinking is to get a lake open for walking in the first instance.  Talk of beaches, donkey rides and public water access are misplaced at this time.


















Cllr. Dave Baigent in the chair, with Patsy Dell



Cambridge Lakes were open today

11-3-18 .  Well it finally happened.Well done to all those people who made it to Romsey Lakes today.  And by the response from the 1,000 or so people who came,...

More Stories >

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.