20 April 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: What local issues should take council priority after the current crisis?
Crisis changes us; often in ways that we do not expect. When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, we will not be the same Cambridge that we were before. For some of us, the crisis will go long after the lockdown ends. There will be those amongst us struggling with bereavement, dealing with ongoing health issues and of course many may have lost homes or jobs. Some of our most loved local businesses and organisations may not survive the crisis.
All of this will increase pressure on council services while we are still in a climate emergency. Community ties have undoubtedly been strengthened by this crisis and each community will have felt the effects of the crisis differently. As such, the Cambridge City Council should set up Citizen Assemblies to allow local communities to shape and decide their collective futures and further build community bonds.
In addition, many of us have a new appreciation of our local green spaces and the importance of access to nature in our lives. Yes; we need more affordable housing. However, all pending and future developments for the city must be reviewed under a new lens that prioritises appropriate living space and access to green spaces. We simply cannot continue to destroy our green belt and green spaces to build poor quality or cramped accommodation.
This can only be achieved if we have the courage to oppose growth for the sake of growth. It is more important than ever that the City Council works with its partners to better share our economic success across the county and reduce the strains on Cambridge. When the lockdown is lifted, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make big, meaningful and long-lasting changes to how we approach local politics.
Let’s seize that moment.
Our response was written by Naomi Bennett. Naomi is the coordinator of Abbey Greens and is standing for City Council.