Residents and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough asked to give their views on devolution deal
People in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being asked for their views on the creation of a Combined Authority and directly elected mayor for the area as part of a new devolution deal.
Launched today, the public consultation will run until Tuesday, 23 August 2016.
Seven councils and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership have joined together to ask Government for some powers, responsibilities and funding to be transferred from Central Government to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
This means a greater number of decisions on public services would be made locally, rather than nationally.
In the past few weeks councils have voted to put a Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution deal out to public consultation. Councillors want to hear what the public thinks about putting powers and funding, normally decided by Government, into the hands of local people.
In the new deal local people could have control over a new £600 million fund (£20million annual fund) to improve transport and infrastructure as well as £170 million for housing.
The councils believe that a devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough would be an opportunity to boost jobs, transport and affordable homes across the county.
It is proposed to form a Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority chaired by a Directly Elected Mayor. The deal could bring about the following benefits for the area, including:
- A new £20million annual fund for the next 30 years (£600million) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs.
- A new £100million housing fund to be invested over the next five years to build more homes in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including affordable, rent and shared ownership.
- A new £70million fund to be used to build more council rented homes in Cambridge over the next five years because house prices are so high in the city.
- Build on the case to develop the Wisbech Garden Town and the Wisbech-Cambridge rail connection.
- Providing new homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including affordable homes in Greater Cambridge.
- Transport infrastructure improvements such as the A14/A142 junction and upgrades to the A10 and the A47 as well as Ely North junction. It would also support infrastructure development which will unlock the housing potential at Wyton and the development of a new Master Plan for St Neot.
- Rail improvements, including a new station at Soham, (new rolling stock, improved King’s Lynn, Cambridge, London rail).
- Investment in a Peterborough University with degree-awarding powers.
- A local integrated job service working alongside the Department for Work and Pensions.
- Co-designing with Government a National Work and Health Programme focussed on those with a health condition or disability, as well as the long-term unemployed.
- Integrating local health and social care resources to provide better outcomes for residents.
- A devolved skills and apprenticeship budget to give more opportunities to our young people.
- Working with Government to secure a Peterborough Enterprise Zone – attracting investment from business, leading to more and better quality jobs for residents.
- Working with Government on the continued regeneration of Peterborough city centre.
This proposal is to be the first in a series of proposals which devolve more funding and powers from Government to this area.
A Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority would include a councillor from each of the local councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership.
In order to receive the funding and to make decisions more locally, Government requires that there is an elected mayor. This means local people will be given the chance to directly elect their choice to become Mayor, to chair and lead the Combined Authority.
There would also be checks and balances with representatives of the partner organisations making sure any decisions are made democratically. No powers will be taken away from councils without their consent.
The deal has been negotiated with Government by Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council and The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Residents are now being asked for their views on the devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
For Cambridgeshire residents please look on your District or City Council website or go to www.Cambridgeshire.gov.uk/devolutionsurvey
For Peterborough residents visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/devolution to have your say or pick up a consultation form and read the supporting information at your local library, Bayard Place or the Town Hall. Frequently asked questions, along with other useful information, are available online.
The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership will be consulting with businesses. Councils will also be carrying out a telephone survey over the course of the consultation to make sure our feedback is representative of residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Once the public consultation concludes, responses will be reviewed and each council will then have to formally agree the deal later this year. This means the Government could give final approval to a deal before the end of the year.
Councillor Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “I firmly believe that the deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough presents a huge opportunity for us to make real inroads on two key areas for us – housing and transport. We all know there is a need for more affordable homes that can be rented out to those on lower incomes at below market rates, but we also need to address the needs of the squeezed middle too who are on good incomes and still struggling to get on the housing ladder. We have a thriving economy in Greater Cambridge and we need to make sure housing and transport keeps pace with this.
“Other areas, such as Manchester, have negotiated a number of devolution deals handing down more and more powers and funding from government. An elected mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has the potential to achieve this for us as they will be a collective and strong voice who will take our needs to key Government departments.
“Please make sure you take this opportunity to have your say on the proposals as we want to make sure that we are securing the right funding and powers locally to put our destiny in our own hands.”