South Cambridgeshire Logo
My South Cambs:
Sign in or register
White icon - council

50 years of South Cambridgeshire District Council

We celebrated 50 years of serving local communities as South Cambridgeshire District Council, with an event held at South Cambridgeshire Hall on 20 March 2024.

The anniversary event was attended by Mr Jeremy Newsum, the Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Cllr Sebastian Kindersley, Chair of the County Council, as well as current and former local councillors. The occasion was an opportunity to come together to honour the golden anniversary and reflect on the shared history and heritage of the District. It was an evening of celebration and reflection, reminiscing about the work that councillors and officers have done over the years to make a difference to residents in the district. Councillors said that the half century milestone is a legacy of service, innovation, and progress over the last 5 decades.

As part of the event there was a tree planting ceremony, in which Mr Jeremy Newsum, Vice-Chair Cllr Peter Sandford and Chair of the Council, Cllr Peter Fane came together with 2 apprentices from the planning service, Bonnie Kwok and Noa Buckley, to plant a commemorative tree to mark the occasion.

Tree planting ceremony with Cllrs and Apprentices

A moment which was both sobering and uplifting, was a speech from South Cambs resident Svitlana Sushko, who spoke about her traumatic journey seeking refuge from Ukraine. Upon arriving in South Cambridgeshire, she received substantial support from our Homes for Ukraine team as well as the local community. Following this she was able to find long-term housing and expressed that she now 'finally has a home.' 

There was also a dance performed by our young Indian community from within the district, and a rendition of a classic political anthem from the 1800s performed by Cllr Ariel Cahn, the Council's youngest member at 25 years old.

Indian dance group

The celebrations were a true reflection of the dedication and community spirit that we have created and embodied as a local authority over the last 50 years. 

Historic timeline 

Officially established in April 1974, the District Council has been at the forefront of shaping vibrant communities across 104 parishes.

Download the PDF version of the timeline [PDF, 0.4MB]

1973 to 1974

  • Councillors Donald Allen and Joe Brown are elected the first Chairman and Vice-Chairman of SCDC and the first act of the new Council is to tender a loyal address to HM the Queen.
  • Mr SJ Flint, former Clerk of Chesterton Rural District Council, is offered the position as Chief Executive at a salary of £7,203.
  • Council proposes a pilot scheme for the salvaging of waste paper, a very early version of the green box recycling scheme.

1974 to 1975

  • The Council opposes proposed expansion of Cambridge development from Cherry Hinton into the Green Belt in the parishes of Fulbourn and Teversham and requests that the County Council conduct an inquiry.
  • Councillors discuss the impact on traffic of the new M11 motorway and Western By-Pass of Cambridge, especially as the motorway will be completed before the By-Pass and force traffic onto the A45 (now the A428).

1975 to 1976

  • Planning officers are extended delegated powers to determine planning applications, where no objections have been made.
  • Council writes to express concern on the Government’s proposal for an interchange at Barton, as part of the work on the Cambridge Western By-Pass.
  • The Council votes overwhelmingly against further development at Stansted Airport.

1976 to 1977

  • The Council has its first all out elections. There are problems at the polling station in Linton where a late surge of voters in the final hour results in a number of electors being refused ballot papers.
  • When the County Council approves plans for development at Cherry Hinton the Council resolves that no more than 25% of dwellings built will be private housing.
  • Major DFB Gape MBE, Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, presents the Council with its new insignia, which had been paid for by past and present members of the two rural authorities forgoing part of their allowances.

1977 to 1978

  • The draft scheme for Flexible Working Hours is first considered as part of the organisational review.
  • Bar Hill Parish Council assists with the purchase of flagpoles for the Council offices at Great Eastern House.
  • A special meeting is called to consider the Structure Plan. Villages selected for growth are Duxford, Melbourn, Milton and Sawston.

1978 to 1979

  • Staff restructure is completed but officers remain in the 2 separate locations of Hills Road and Great Eastern House.
  • Severe flooding occurs at Swavesey, Over, Longstanton, Fen Drayton, Waterbeach, Milton and Landbeach, partly due to otters damaging the Council’s Awarded Watercourses. The Council considers the establishment of internal drainage boards for Swavesey.
  • The Best Kept Garden Competition begins, with a cup being presented to the winner as well as an award - the equivalent of 2 weeks' average rent, for example, £25.

1979 to 1980

  • The Coat of Arms is officially presented to SCDC before the annual meeting in May 1979.
  • Council writes to the Prime Minister opposing the location of a third London airport at Stansted.
  • The Accommodation Review Working Party begins to look at the possibility of expansion at Great Eastern House and the sale of the Hills Road site.
  • The Council agrees to provide 6 council homes for the accommodation of Vietnamese refugees.

1980 to 1981

  • For the first time refuse collection is scheduled over the Christmas/New Year period. The Environmental Services & Health Committee looks at moving to fortnightly waste collection.
  • 88% of Impington vote against amalgamation with Histon The turnout is 64%.
  • The Government makes Stansted the third London airport despite objections from this authority, other councils and the opposition of the Roskill Inquiry. The Council writes in protest; no response is received.
  • Members' allowances are raised for the first time since 1974.

1981 to 1982

  • Councillor Roberta Cannon is elected the first female Chairman.
  • Members consider the possibility of evening meetings. A vote is taken and the proposal is defeated.
  • The Development Control Sub-Committee looks at an application to make a Country Park at the Milton.
  • Mr BJ Hancock is appointed as the new Chief Executive, following the retirement of Mr SJ Flint.

1982 to 1983

  • Council donates £1,000 to the South Atlantic Fund and £500 to the Falkland Islands Appeal Fund.
  • Council sends the following greeting to the Prince & Princess of Wales: "we wish to record our joy at the birth of Prince William of Wales and our hope that his life will be long and happy.”
  • Council agrees to combine the offices in a new building at the Hills Road site. It was suggested that this site might not accommodate all staff in the future and so we should relocate to a village where land was cheaper.

1983 to 1984

  • Councillor Owen North, a master baker, achieves an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for making a loaf of bread in record time.
  • Council agrees to the maintenance of the Swavesey Bye-ways by raising a special charge on certain lands and on the Swavesey Parish Council for the payment of costs incurred.

1984 to 1985

  • Brief experiment to hold evening meetings is abandoned after two meetings.
  • Council agrees to take over responsibility for St Denys Church in East Hatley, as a bird sanctuary with no public access. The ruined building, a redundant church, is being left to decay gradually.
  • Members donate their December expenses to the emergency fund for Ethiopia.

1985 to 1986

  • The first meeting is held in the new offices at 9-11 Hills Road on 23 May 1985.
  • The Council grants a licence to the Linton.
  • 160 properties in the District get a wheeled bin refuse service, courtesy of North Herts District Council.

1986 to 1987

  • Following media reports suggesting that the SCDC Independent Councillors were really Conservatives, Council issues a statement deploring the local, regional and national coverage of the local elections, which inferred that the Council was not truly independent.
  • Plans for a wheeled bin refuse service are rejected due to cost.

1987 to 1988

  • Council votes in favour of a new settlement off the A45 (later the A428). This will become Cambourne.
  • Council urges the government to give discretion to District Councils to implement the community charge immediately in order to avoid the confusion and additional expense involved in a phased introduction.

1988 to 1989

  • The East Anglian Regional Health Authority proposes moving Papworth Hospital out of Papworth Everard. The Council urges them to reconsider.
  • Plans for a new settlement of 3,000 homes on A45 (A428) discussed at length. Development between Oakington and Longstanton is suggested as an alternative.
  • Councillors propose a trial of wheeled bin refuse collection in some villages.

1989 to 1990

  • Planning consent is given to a waste disposal site at Thriplow.
  • Council adopts the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan Consultation Draft 1988, to be placed on deposit for adoption as a statutory Local Plan.

1990 to 1991

  • As part of a proposed local government reorganisation, South Cambridgeshire faces a merger with Cambridge City, East Cambridgeshire, Huntingdon, North Hertfordshire and southern Fenland.
  • SCDC grants £30,000 (50%) towards excavation of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Edics Hill, Barrington.
  • The Milton Country Park Working Party meets at the County Park for the first time.

1991 to 1992

  • Refuse collections are scheduled for Saturdays whenever a bank holiday disrupts the regular collection.
  • Whilst the Council decides not to collect the community charge from local service personnel currently in the Gulf, the Government plans on replacing it with a Council Tax based on property value.
  • Photo ID badges are first produced for all members to wear while in the Council buildings.

1992 to 1993

  • Council sets a target of 25% recycling and proposes a paper collection scheme for villages near the Depot.
  • Council appoints John Ballantyne as the new Chief Executive, to begin in May 1993.

1993 to 1994

  • Planning Committee approve the Monkfield Park application, subject to Section 106 agreements.
  • The Council grants £300,000 (an additional £50,000 was granted the following year) towards the cost of building a swimming pool at Impington Village College.
  • Architect Simon Ward receives the Architectural Technician of the Year award from the British Institute of Architectural Technicians for the Visitor Centre at Milton Country Park.

1994 to 1995

  • The Cottenham Village Design Statement is adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance.
  • At Milton Country Park a gala-pageant celebrating A Hundred Years of Change, 100 years of Parish Councils and the centenary of District Councils is scheduled for 2 July 1994.
  • 1% residents oppose a merger with Cambridge City. After more than a year of consultations, discussions and reviews, the County Council drops the proposal to merge the authorities.
  • The Planning Committee gives planning permission for a Park & Ride Site at Madingley

1995 to 1996

  • The Council's opposition to proposed library closures in South Cambridgeshire villages sees the County Council allow them to remain open for the time being.

1996 to 1997

  • Members prefer the name Monkfield for the A428 new development but the developers press forward with Cambourne and release promotional literature featuring this name. The Cambourne Master Plan is completed and given approval by the Planning Committee.
  • A pilot scheme for tenant participation is held at Coolidge Gardens in Cottenham.
  • The first Parish Council representation to Planning Committee is heard on 6 November 1996.

1997 to 1998

  • The Council investigates erecting acoustic barriers along the A14 and M11 to alleviate traffic noise.
  • Officers warn that continuing not to levy any Council Tax will have significant financial impact by 2001.

1998 to 1999

  • The South Cambridgeshire Local Plan is adopted.
  • Council agrees that personal computers should be supplied to all members, the computers to be returned to the Council upon retirement or sold to the member at its then-current value.
  • A District Council Tax is levied for the first time: £50 for a Band D house.
  • The government allows local authorities to set their own fee charges for building control services.

1999 to 2000

  • South Cambs News is first published in magazine format.
  • A 650-year old veteran oak at Parkway, Shudy Camps is identified as the District’s oldest tree.
  • Orwell is selected to host the Millennium Beacon, being one of the very few parishes in the District on the meridian line, and having a hill over 200 feet high.
  • Two Millennium photographs, one of staff and one of Councillors, are presented to the Council by the Chairman and are hung in the Council Chamber.

2000 to 2001

  • Public consultation favours Cambourne as the most appropriate village for its main office.
  • On discussion of new political structures, Council prefers the existing committee system but opts for a Leader and Cabinet model in May 2001 if the existing system must be abolished.
  • Milton Country Park is closed due to the foot and mouth outbreak.

2001 to 2002

  • Councillor Daphne Spink is elected the first Leader of the Council.
  • Council votes 27-20 in favour of the acquisition of an office building on the Cambourne Business Park.
  • The green box kerbside collection scheme is launched.
  • Council considers the location of a new settlement. The possible sites identified are: Childerley, Great Abington, Oakington, Waterbeach and Six Mile Bottom. After much debate, Oakington is selected.

2002 to 2003

  • A planning appeal is held on the Council's refusal to grant planning permission for a research lab at 307 Huntingdon Road, Girton. The inspector upholds the Council's decision.
  • The Oakington depot site is disposed of and a new site acquired at Landbeach.
  • Council receives £1.88 million in DEFRA funding to introduce a new wheeled bin collection scheme.

2003 to 2004

  • The Parish Planning Pack is published to provide guidance to Parish Councils on various aspects of planning and associated training initiatives.
  • The new town is named Northstowe, after the ecclesiastical hundred. This time the Council selects the name, rather than the developers.
  • Council funding provides three Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) for South Cambs villages.
  • Gamlingay Gt Shelford Village Design Statements are adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance.
  • Council Tax is again kept at £70, but there could be serious consequences.

2004 to 2005

  • In May the Council completes the move of its main offices from Hills Road to Cambourne.
  • The Licensing Act 2003, with all the implications for pubs, restaurants and other food establishments in the district, leads to a busy schedule of panel hearings before the deadline.
  • The Council receives the "Best Local Authority Recycling Initiative" award from
  • Council is capped by the Government for attempting to raise its Council Tax to £140 for a Band D property.

2005 to 2006

  • Council holds a series of meetings to agree the Local Development Framework. They last a cumulative total of 85.4 hours with 8,864 pages of information. In 2006 the Core Strategy is found to be sound.
  • The Transformation Committee is established to oversee the restructuring of the authority from four departments into a front office / back office structure, with the resultant re-organisation.

2006 to 2007

  • Finance and Resources Director Greg Harlock is appointed as Chief Executive, initially for a year.
  • Council agrees that all committees will be appointed on a politically proportionate basis.

2007 to 2008

  • The Conservative group takes control of the Council after the 3 May 2007 elections, the first time in the Council's history it has a controlling group.
  • Public speaking at the Planning Committee is introduced and proves popular, with many residents and parish councillors attending meetings to make representations in person.
  • Council selects Cambridge Sports Lakes Trust as the preferred bidder for running Milton Country Park.

2008 to 2009

  • The Council decides to open its main offices between Christmas and New Year.
  • The Council starts kerbside collection of plastics for recycling.
  • The new parish of Orchard Park is created in April 2009 and the Scrutiny Committee’s review on Orchard Park wins the Centre for Public Scrutiny’s Best Use of Scrutiny Resources award in 2009.

2009 to 2010

  • The results of the housing futures ballot show 72.6% of tenants are in favour of remaining with the Council instead of being transferred to a Housing Association.
  • Developers begin remediation work on former Bayer Crop Science site in Hauxton.

2010 to 2011

  • The Council secures £920,000 of funding from the Government for the Rampton Drift Retro-fit project to allow residents of Rampton to make their homes more energy efficient.
  • The Council appoints Jean Hunter as the new Chief Executive, following the retirement of Greg Harlock.
  • The Council votes to allow Compulsory Purchase Orders at Windmill Estate, Fulbourn, if there were no other alternative ways of completing the renovation project.

2011 to 2012

  • The Council agrees a group order to amalgamate the parish councils of Histon and Impington.
  • With Accent Nene the Council is awarded the IEEM Tony Bradshaw Best Practice Award for its housing of swifts at the Windmill Estate Steering Group.
  • Following a High Court Judge ruling, the saying of prayers at Council is discontinued.
  • The Council takes on £205 million debt but can now receive 100% of its Council rent and capital receipts.

2012 to 2013

  • Council receives copies of the “Joint Vision for Cambridge’s Quarter-to-Six Quadrant” from the parish councils of Barton, Coton, Grantchester and Madingley.
  • The Civic Affairs Committee is set up, combining the work of the Electoral Arrangements Committee, the Standards Committee and the Constitution Review Working Group.
  • Council agreed to increase the size of Hauxton Parish Council from 7 to 9.

2013 to 2014

  • Council agrees to allow its meetings to be filmed by members of the public.
  • Council agrees to advance £7m of funding to set up South Cambs Ltd as part of its Future Housing Investment Plan. South Cambs Ltd later becomes known as Ermine Street Housing Ltd.
  • Council agrees a motion opposing a proposal that Papworth Hospital be moved to Peterborough and supporting its move to Addenbrookes Hospital.

2014 to 2015

  • Council agrees the governance arrangements for the Greater Cambridge City Deal, which includes the setting up of an Executive Board and Joint Assembly.
  • Council passes motions opposing the closures of banks in Histon and Sawston.

2015 to 2016

  • Council discusses the Planning Inspectors’ decision to suspend the examination of the Local Plan.
  • Council agrees to move to all out elections in 2018 and to reduce the number of councillors from 57 to 45. It was also agrees that Parish Council elections will follow the same elections schedule.

2016 to 2017

  • Council agrees to create a new parish of South Trumpington.
  • Council agrees that all votes be recorded, save those on appointments or those agreed by affirmation.
  • Council appoints Beverly Agass as its Chief Executive.

2017 to 2018

  • Council agrees to increase the maximum investment limit of Ermine Street Housing to £45m whilst retaining the maximum investment with Ermine Street at 60% of the Council’s total investment portfolio.
  • Council agrees to alter the boundary line between the parishes of Over and Willingham.

2018 to 2019

  • After May’s elections the Liberal Democrats take control of the Council and Councillor Bridget Smith is elected Leader.
  • Council agrees the Local Plan.
  • Council passes a motion supporting the construction of the East West Rail line.

2019 to 2020

  • Council appoints Liz Watts as its Chief Executive.
  • Council agrees a motion aiming to double the areas of wildlife habitats, tree cover and accessible green space. It also agrees to declare a climate emergency.
  • Council agrees to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism as the working model for challenging and confronting incidents of discrimination.

2020 to 2021

  • Council agrees that all Chairs and Vice Chairs and committee members should remain the same to provide stability due to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Council adopts changes to its decision-making process to allow for remote meetings.
  • Council agrees to change the name of the parish of Thriplow to Thriplow and Heathfield and agree warding of the 2 areas.
  • Council passes a motion agreeing to explore the option of responsibility of assuming civil parking enforcement.

2021 to 2022

  • Virtual meetings end, so meetings must be held in public. In order to maintain social distancing the annual meeting of full Council is held at the hangar in Duxford Imperial War Museum.
  • Council agrees to adopt the Cottenham Neighbourhood Plan, the Histon & Impington Neighbourhood Plan, the Foxton Neighbourhood Plan and the Waterbeach Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Council agrees a new parish boundary between the parishes of Sawston and Babraham.
  • The Council provides significant Covid-19 pandemic relief to local businesses with £4.6m being awarded from April 2020 to June 2021 and an additional £1.8m awarded since June 2021.
  • The Council helps to house Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, granting more visas than any other district authority in the country. The Council agrees a motion to strongly support its peers in Ukraine.

2022 to 2023

  • Council agrees to adopt the West Wickham Neighbourhood Plan, the Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan and the Fulbourn Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Council agrees to rent an interim community facility at Northstowe.
  • Council agrees to amend the Constitution to allow the appointment of Political Assistants.
  • Cabinet agrees to trial a four-day week to improve recruitment and retention.
  • Council agrees a motion signing up to the LGA’s Debate Not Hate campaign condemning the intimidation and abuse of councillors.
  • The Council is accredited by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance.

2023 to 2024

  • Councillor Peter Fane is elected as Chair of the Council. He makes Cambourne Youth Partnership his chosen charity for the year.
  • Cabinet agrees to extend the trial of a four-day week.
  • The Council achieves bronze accreditation as a Carbon Literate Organisation by the Carbon Literacy Trust.
  • The Council carries a motion to increase support for care-experienced people and agrees to seek White Ribbon accreditation.