New Council Leader sets transport and affordable housing as top priorities

19 May 2016

A new Leader for South Cambridgeshire District Council has been appointed following the authority’s annual general meeting today (Thursday 19 May).

New Leader, Cllr Peter Topping, has said that investment in better transport links and housing are two of his top priorities to support the continued economic success story of the Greater Cambridge area.

Cllr Topping appointed seven Cabinet members to his top team at the meeting and has said that they have the right experience, knowledge and passion to build on the outgoing Leader’s success.

The Cabinet team is:

Cllr Peter Topping – Leader
Cllr Simon Edwards – Finance and Staffing
Cllr Mick Martin – Corporate and Customer Services
Cllr Mark Howell – Environmental Services
Cllr Francis Burkitt – Greater Cambridge City Deal
Cllr Lynda Harford – Housing
Cllr Robert Turner – Planning
Cllr Tim Wotherspoon – Strategic Planning, Transportation and Communities

Cllr Topping said: “My Cabinet has a good balance of experience and new ideas. I am pleased to bring in Cllr Lynda Harford who has done an excellent job as Chairman of our planning committee. I know she will bring new ideas. We can’t wait to get started to make sure we continue to provide a great service to local people.

“We have a thriving economy in Greater Cambridge and one of our biggest challenges is to make sure we support this with the right transport links and meet the housing needs of our residents and their families. The Greater Cambridge City Deal will play a big part in making sure this happens. I also want to see us driving a hard bargain with government to make sure the unique challenges in this area are addressed. This especially includes the cost of housing, and the infrastructure challenges of roads such as the A505 and A14.

“Local Government is being asked to do more with less money and we have already delivered millions of pounds of efficiency savings. My vision is that we build on successful and award winning initiatives such as our Sustainable Parish Energy Partnership and other schemes such as village wardens and community shops, which have helped people to help themselves and access the services they need.

"More and more of our services will be digital and online. I want to see what we deliver to people - whether e-forms or digital planning maps - driven by the needs of our users. That means ensuring all our communities have equal access to online services.

“Once again, a huge thanks to Cllr Manning for all his dedication over nine years in the role as leader. He has done a fantastic job and the Council is in a great position to tackle the challenges ahead.”

Cllr Topping has been the local member for Whittlesford Ward since 2008. He was the Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Customer Services, having been appointed to the role on in May last year. He has previously been the Cabinet Member responsible for sustainability, planning and climate change and has also held the positions of Chairman of the Climate Change Working Group, Chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Employment Committee.

Cllr Topping is a keen cyclist and a member of the Champion of the Thames Rowing Club. He ran Legal aid for the East of England for six years and has worked with a range of ministers as a senior civil servant.