Post by Robert Waller on Oct 28, 2021 13:19:18 GMT
Age 65+ 11.5% 580/650 Owner-occupied 46.5% 598/650 Private rented 27.0% 51/650 Social rented 23.8% 130/650 White 82.6% 516/650 Black 1.7% 189/650 Asian 10.9% 106/650 No religion 38.3% 13/650 Religion not stated 9.1% 16/650 Buddhist 1.3% 17/650 Managerial & professional 36.8% Routine & Semi-routine 15.3% (Of those in work) Employed in professional occupations 37.4% 1/650 Employed in administrative and secretarial occupations 7.8% 649/650 Employed in education 23.1% 1/650 Degree level 46.8% 22/650 No qualifications 12.0% 639/650 Students 27.5% 7/650
I sense that there's a lot of experience of Cambridge politics on this site, albeit in some cases (including my own) not very recent. It should be possible to pull together quite a strong profile of the seat. Among the interesting facets is the development of a strong divergence between local and parliamentary voting patterns from the late 1970s until the 1990s. The Conservatives held this seat against a pretty steady decline in their local government strength. That divergence appears modest now - the Conservatives are typically reduced to minority positions in both contests.
It might also be worth noting that Labour came third not just in the 1980s GEs (the attempt by Shirley Williams to return to parliament in 1987 was quite well covered at the time) but in 2010, a result that appears pretty incredible barely a decade on. Which may perhaps make it the only seat that they have won from third spot twice?
"READ THE STANDING ORDERS! READ THEM AND UNDERSTAND THEM!!"
Post by East Anglian Lefty on Oct 29, 2021 14:39:10 GMT
The city council operates four area committees to which various responsibilities are delegated, and that's probably a decent way of starting to think about the different portions of the city.
This consists of the three wards of Castle, Newnham and Market, which are the three main student wards. I'm not going to both delineating which college falls into which ward (not least because there are plenty of outlying halls of residence and you'll find concentrations of postgrads scattered throughout the city) and will instead limit myself to characterising the non-student bits of the wards. Castle is orientated along the Huntingdon Road and is overwhelmingly prosperous. The bulk of the housing is Victorian or Edwardian and aside from the occasional tucked-away flat there is very little you can purchase for less than £600k. Newnham is situated to the west of the city centre. Newnham Village proper is a bit less socially uniform than the rest of the ward, but even that is decidedly well-off for the most part. The large detached houses on the edge of the city behind the private schools are usually the most expensive properties in the city Market is the city centre ward and extends eastwards as far as the Grafton Centre and (since the last boundary changes) also takes in the New Town area. There are a few pockets of social housing within the ward and a larger PRS than in Castle or Newnham, which goes some way towards explaining why it's somewhat better territory for Labour than Castle or Newnham are.
In local elections, all three wards favour the Liberal Democrats, though they aren't safe any longer. All three returned a mixture of Labour and Lib Dem councillors at the last city elections, though this probably tells you more about their high concentrations of 'promiscuous progressives' (to borrow a piece of Canadian terminology) than it does about national voting election. In recent general elections, higher student turnout has benefited Labour (and also the Greens) but they're still significantly better for the Lib Dems than the city as a whole.
This consists of the four wards of Abbey, Petersfield, Romsey and Coleridge and is the historic core of working-class Cambridge. Abbey stretches along the Newmarket Road. About one-third of it is the middle-class Riverside neighbourhood, whilst the rest consists of the much more proletarian East Barnwell area, which is isolated from the rest of the city by the railway line and Coldham's Common. The council estates of East Barnwell were developed in the aftermath of WW2 and was initially populated largely by residents cleared from the Cambridge slums. That would ordinarily imply a safe Labour ward, and that was certainly the case 15 years ago. However, the ward was the site of the first breakthrough of the local Green Party at the tail-end of New Labour and they split the ward with Labour at the last city elections. In general elections, on the other hand, it's safe in any conditions except a 2010-style meltdown.
The bulk of those slums were situated in the north of the present Petersfield ward (with a minority in Market ward where the Grafton Centre now sits.) Closer to the railway line, the housing stock is 19th century terraces, whilst south of Mill Road you've got very posh Victorian properties which often retail for more than £1.5m. The ward also contains the Cambridge campus of ARU and around 20% of the population were students at the last census. Since the recent boundary changes, it has also expanded south of Hills Road to take in the Accordia development, which was built about 15 years ago on the site of former DEFRA offices. The Lib Dems won here in the aftermath of the Iraq War, but usually Petersfield is stronger for Labour than my description would imply. Turnout in the north of the ward tends to be healthy and the posh areas south of Mill Road have an abnormally high concentration of people who have been involved in the local Labour Party since the 1980s.
On the other side of the railway line sits Romsey. This district was developed with the coming of the railways and much of its earliest housing stock was originally railwaymen's cottages. These days the population of those areas is decidedly bourgeois and has been for about half a century, though areas of the ward nearer Coldham's Lane bear a little more resemblance to Romsey as it used to be. The Lib Dems broke through here in the late 1990s and the last local councillors held on until 2016. However, under Corbyn the area seems to have taken a large march to the left and at recent elections Labour will convincingly have won both the more working-class and more middle-class areas.
South of Romsey lies Coleridge, which has a more suburban and less fashionable profile. Rates of private renting are lower than in Market and Petersfield (although still above 25%) and rates of social renting somewhat higher. Up until the 1980s, Conservative strength with working-class voters here meant they usually carried the ward, and there was enough of that left to give them a couple of victories in the late 2000s. Since 2010, however, this has been safely Labour in every election except the 2019 Euros.
Whilst the other three areas are fairly cohesive, the three wards of South area (Cherry Hinton, Queen Edith's and Trumpington) have much less in common with each other, except that they're all somewhat peripheral to the rest of the city and that a decent proportion of their residents work at Addenbrookes. Queen Edith's isn't in the Cambridge constituency and the initial proposals call for Cherry Hinton to be removed as well, although my suspicion is that the eventual final recommendations will remove Trumpington instead.
Cherry Hinton still thinks of itself as an independent village, though that hasn't been true for generations. It is however comfortably suburban, with home ownership rates above 50% at the last census and the student population at about 5%. Anecdotally, it feels like it has become somewhat more 'Cambridge' in the past decade, but it's still more the place you move to to bring up children than the place you move to for the atmosphere. In local elections it's a Labour fortress, as the Tory vote collapsed after 2010 and the Lib Dems have never made any effort there. In general elections I would imagine the spread is a little closer, but it's still one of Labour's best wards.
Trumpington proper also thinks of itself as an independent village, and with slightly more justification than Cherry Hinton. However, the ward has seen thousands of new residents in recent years with the development of Clay Farm, which seems to have become very popular with people priced out of London. Broadly speaking, the ward can be separated into three parts. Firstly, there are the areas north of Long Road which are still there after boundary changes. This is an area of unbelievably ugly and unbelievably expensive detached houses, augmented with a smattering of private schools and golf courses. Secondly, there is Trumpington village. There's a decent-sized council estate in the Foster Road area, but the bulk of the area is prosperous owner occupied suburbia. Finally, there is Clay Farm and similar developments in the south of the ward. This is primarily made up of flats, with some affordable housing but mostly attracting professionals working either at the hospital or in London. It's the third element which is responsible for the ward's leftward march in recent years, going from a Tory victory in the 2012 local elections to a Labour breakthrough in the 2018 local elections. The boundary changes strengthened the LD position here, but they would still have lost the current ward in the 2017 general election and it would have been close in 2019. Clay Farm is not yet built out, so it's possible that the ward has further to swing. Even after that, however, it's going to be an area the Lib Dems need to win comfortably if they want to challenge for the Parliamentary seat.
There are four wards in the North area, which broadly speaking divide into two pairs. East and West Chesterton cover the Chesterton area which was incorporated into Cambridge in 1912, whilst Arbury and Kings Hedges are primarily composed of local authority housing constructed between the 1920s and the 1980s.
The historic Chesterton village lies in the centre of East Chesterton, though it makes up only a small portion of the ward itself. To the north of this area you have a concentration of mid-20th century council housing, most of whose roads have some connection to Scotland. To the east you have comfortable lower middle class suburbia, augmented with some more recent housing association housing developments. To the west there is a combination of middle-class Victoriana and early 21st century private flats built on former industrial land. This is a key swing ward, balanced between a sizeable but low turnout-propensity Labour base and a markedly right-wing Lib Dem vote. I maintain that if there is to be a Conservative renaissance in Cambridge, it'll start here. Given that they ran Tom Harwood in 2018, we may be waiting a while for that.
West Chesterton was developed in the late 19th century as a desirable location for middle-class professionals working in Cambridge and has maintained broadly that profile ever since. As you would expect for an area in close proximity to central Cambridge, there is a decent-sized private rented sector and the recent boundary changes brought in some student areas, but generally this is a stronghold of the comfortably-off middle classes. It's also a swing ward, but that's primarily a consequence of Lib Dem weakness - back when they were winning the constituency, it very much was not.
Arbury used to include some middle-class neighbourhoods south of Victoria Road, but those were excised at the last set of boundary changes and the historic core of the ward (council estates west of Carlton Way) is now much more representative of the ward as a whole. Labour can lose here, but it really shouldn't.
Kings Hedges lies between Arbury Road and Milton Road and is made up of a later generation of local authority housing. Confusingly, much of it is what locals would refer to as 'the Arbury'. Even more confusingly, they will try to convince you it is a very rough area. It really isn't. It's much more deprived than Cambridge as a whole, but it's perfectly pleasant suburbia, well-designed for walkability and with a lot of green space. It is, however, somewhat distinct from the rest of the city, with much less influence from the university (only about 5% students) and with the highest Leave vote in the city (I think around 45%.) Labour haven't lost here since 2010, but it's a low-turnout area and the non-Labour portions of the ward have slightly less terrible turnout, which means it has been close once or twice. Nevertheless, if it's close at a general election then the parliamentary seat is very definitely not.