Cambridgeshire’s councils must ensure summer community events (eg The Strawberry Fair) include outreach stalls – esp for consultations

Using Cambridge as an example given my limited mobility these days…

Cambridge City Council has advertised a number of events at …one of the biggest [independently organised] of which is the Strawberry Fair, which attracts thousands of people – esp young people, from all over the region. And they need more volunteers!

Take the above from Cambridge City Council:

5 June – Jesus Green: ‘Platinum Jubilee Celebrations’ Cambridge Groove Orchestra and Swagger.

  • 19 June – Cherry Hinton Hall: March Brass 2000
  • 17 July – Dudley Road Rec: CSD Brass
  • 7 August – Chesterton Rec: Cambridge Rock Choir plus support
  • 21 August – Kings Hedges Rec: Waterbeach Brass
  • 18 September – Jesus Green: Cambridge Jazz Festival presents Cubafrobeat and Cambridge Youth Jazz Orchestra

Above – four of the five are in residential areas and will inevitably attract more than a few people who don’t normally pay close attention to consultations in the way ‘Guildhall Groupies’ [I’m gonna get that on a t-shirt one day] like me do. Because let’s face it, they have [a life! And…] more important things to do – for example caring responsibilities, or long hours at work.

There doesn’t need to be any hard-sell. Just a small marquee/gazebo with some boards, portable tables and chairs, paper and felt-tips/crayons/templates for children to do some colouring-in, and a some literature to hand out and/or something that says **take a photo of this poster with your phone!** so people remember to follow up what they’ve seen & discussed.

It saves having to do all of this after a hard day at work or doing caring work. When you are exhausted, the last thing in the world you want to do is to get your head around 190 pages of the Devonshire Gardens consultation

Above – – which got rejected last time around because the rooms were too small and the buildings too high. Amongst other things.

Which reminds me, the developer behind Romsey Labour Club – who did this the last time he secured planning permission, is back, because [presumably] due to the economic down turn from the pandemic, no one wanted to buy the site at that price. So the developer is back again (see and type in 22/01432/FUL into the search box. If you need guidance on how to comment – either in support of, neutral to, or objecting to planning applications on the Greater Cambridge Planning Portal, see my earlier guide at

The two organisations with consultations out – the Combined Authority’s Local Transport & Connectivity Plan, and the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Reclassification of Roads in Cambridge are both happening over the next couple of months and are open. The second one is only on for eight weeks. Which is against the guidance from The Government way back in 2008 which states that consultation should be 3 months minimum. Don’t believe me? Read it here.

Above – the Code of Practice on Consultation 2008

To make it easier for those people running any of the consultation stalls, they could invite the various transport campaigns to set up next to them. Note CamCycle is asking for volunteers who want to take part on such stalls, even if it’s just for a few hours, to contact them.

The Strawberry Fair on 11 June 2022

It’s back this year for the first time since the pandemic –

…and they also need more volunteers! I’ve done it before, it’s great fun, get involved!

Above – the brilliant Gabby Rivers who was still in the middle of her GCSEs when she was one of the main acts on the Cambridge 105 Stage. (Cambridge 105 will be back again this year too)

Given that the theme this year is ***Love Our Planet*** this is something that a host of other organisations can book stalls to help ensure the financial sustainability of the fair.

This also goes for local businesses and firms that want to support the fair – see – but from a local transport and environment perspective, this is something that local public sector organisations should be making use of in terms of ***listening exercises***. That involves having imaginative methods of finding out both what people think about your existing plans, and what other ideas and improvements they think you could make – for you to take account of in later stages of policy making and project development.

This matters for given the few consultation responses public sector organisations have had on transport from those that are most likely to be affected by their proposals: young people and/or those on low incomes. Given that this is one of the few one-day-events where there will be lots of both (because it’s a free festival in the summer in the centre of town) then it’s a no-brainer: Go where the people you want to engage with are, rather than where you would like them to be at your convenience – eg picking up things during office hours on a weekday. I wrote about this earlier when I was in hospital… …and also when I was in hospital again the next day for something more serious!

“It sounds like you’re asking a lot of people to do a lot of things”

Yes and no. But in terms of the organisations that have communications and publicity budgets, for me this is could be something that could have a high positive impact – even if the feedback from the people there is absolutely shocking in terms of the existing proposals. Better to find that out now before the strategies have been signed off, than after construction of infrastructure has already started.

Food for thought?

If you are interested in the longer term future of Cambridge, and on what happens at the local democracy meetings where decisions are made, feel free to:

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