News release from 26/11/2020
New parish to be created to govern Northstowe
Northstowe – the South Cambridgeshire development which when complete will have around 10,200 homes and 26,200 residents – is to be governed by a newly created Northstowe Town Council.
The decision was made at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Full Council meeting (26 November) and follows a Community Governance Review with local parish councils and communities to consider the governance options for the new community.
You can review the options considered throughout the course of the Community Governance Review on the Council’s website. The decision to establish a new Northstowe Town Council was favoured by a clear majority of residents from Northstowe and the surrounding villages as it was felt it would allow Northstowe to develop its own, distinctive identity, and enable Northstowe residents to be represented as a distinct community.
The Community Governance Review ran from November 2019 to September 2020 (longer than originally planned as a result the coronavirus pandemic), and invited the local parish councils and communities to comment on:
- Where any parish boundaries should be
- What the electoral arrangements should be
- Whether to create a new parish and, if so,
- What style the new Council should be (e.g. a town or parish council), what it should be called, and how many Councillors there should be.
Outcome of the Community Governance Review
In addition to the decision to establish a new civil parish for Northstowe, and to call it “Northstowe Town Council”, the following decisions were made:
- Defining the new parish boundary, which encompasses the whole of the Northstowe development and sees land north of the busway become part of Willingham Civil Parish (please see map below)
- That 15 councillors will sit on Northstowe Town Council
- That elections to Northstowe Town Council will first be held in 2021, with councillors serving for a single year so that all councillors can then stand for a full four-year term in 2022, in line with the rest of the district’s parish/town council and district council elections
- And that the District Council will write to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to seek re-alignment of district and county boundaries.
The Community Governance Review of Longstanton and Oakington and Westwick was prompted by the new development at Northstowe, in recognition that the development would alter the spread of housing across the parishes of Longstanton, and Oakington and Westwick. With three centres of population, the current parish boundaries were felt to no longer reflect a “natural settlement pattern”.
The intention of the Community Governance Review was to ensure the local governance arrangements would reflect the identities and interests of the community in the area, and to bring about improved community engagement, better local democracy and more effective and convenient delivery of local services.
Cllr Sarah Cheung-Johnson, District Councillor for Longstanton, and Oakington and Westwick, said: “I’m so grateful to all the local residents who took the time to reflect on what would work best for our local communities and took part in our consultations. There’s been a fantastic amount of engagement and that’s been absolutely key in informing the decisions that have been made about how our communities want to reflect their identities and ensure they are represented through local governance. Thanks too to the dedicated Council staff who have led the Review process – with the added pressures of running a consultation during the pandemic – and have given up many evenings and weekends to ensure residents were able to share their concerns and ambitions throughout.
“But this is just the start of the process really. I’m now looking forward to supporting our existing parish councils as these changes take effect, as well as the new Northstowe Town Council as it establishes itself.”
Cllr Alex Malyon, District Councillor for Longstanton, and Oakington and Westwick, said: “I echo Sarah’s gratitude to everyone who took part in the Review, and especially to our hard-working parish councils who have invested such an enormous amount of time over recent years into Northstowe – from providing local insights during the planning process to supporting local residents during the Review. I am happy these new arrangements will make it possible for our local communities to have agency over their governance, and look forward to working with the new Town Council and our excellent existing parish councils alike.
“We would like to encourage Northstowe residents to put themselves forward for the new Town Council. There will be loads of opportunities to find out more about what the role involves, and specific training and support for the new Councillors.”