Cambridgeshire County Council calls for separate devolution deal

Cambridgeshire County Council has called for communities secretary Greg Clark to urgently discuss the prospect of returning to talks over separate East Anglian combined authorities.

Steve Count, leader for Cambridge County Council, initially rejected requests from Norfolk and Suffolk to join up and create a three county deal. However, the Council was then urged by deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine and Clark to consider a combined authority for the wider region under an elected mayor.

Out of 23 council leaders, 22 signed the draft agreement hailed by Chancellor George Osborne. However, councillors across parties and the region have since raised concerns about the scale of the plan and the need for a directly elected mayor.

In a letter to the communities secretary, Count said he believed that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was ‘a viable geography for a strong devolution deal with government’. The Council leader maintained that while he recognised the need for closer working with surrounding areas, it was still necessary to work on creating a separate devolution bid.

Count said: “Our members are very keen to present these arguments and promote the potential of a different devolution deal for our area. I therefore request a meeting with you as soon as possible and look forward to hearing from your office when this might be possible.”