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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority aims for £5.3billion budget


By Ben Comber


James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Pic - Richard Marsham www.rmg-photography.co.uk
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Pic - Richard Marsham www.rmg-photography.co.uk

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority meets today (Wednesday) to agree a budget that reaches a dizzying £5.3billion in four years' time.

It is not confirmed where most of the money will come from, but a spokesperson for mayor James Palmer has said that “productive” meetings have been held in recent weeks.

A £4.8billion transport and infrastructure spend, before inflation of around £350m is accounted for, makes up the bulk of the budget.

Of this, £2.5billion would pay for an extension of the M11 to the A47, and £500million for phase two of the A10. An additional £1.5billion is lined up to pay for phase two of the mayor’s proposed CAM Metro, which has been the cause of tension between the authority and Greater Cambridge Partnership this week.

Mr Palmer said: “My record as a council leader was built upon the successful delivery of new infrastructure at pace.

“The Combined Authority is the strategic transport authority for the area. It has been since its creation. Any proposals the GCP develop and promote must align with Combined Authority transport plans. However, at this moment in time, the Combined Authority does not yet have its own distinctive transport plan.”

This will be developed in spring next year, and is the reason an interim transport statement was issued.

Mr Palmer continued: “I want to make clear that though I do have a vision for a world-class public transport solution that can deliver in both the medium to long term, that does not mean in any way that I am not acutely aware of the pressing need for solutions that work in the short term. Only last Friday I met with a number of representatives from the Biomedical Campus to discuss how we can work together to ensure delivery.”

City council leader Cllr Lewis Herbert, interim chair of the GCP and Combined Authority board member, is today (Wednesday) proposing a review of all transport corridors by July, as well as a review of CAM Metro progress and funding plans.

He said three meetings between the GCP and the mayor up to March “produced a table concluding that the percentage alignment was already high”.

He continued: “As the CAM Metro project has evolved further since then, the GCP agrees with the mayor that further discussion and a clear agreement is important.

“Where we differ is over the need for an interim transport statement before that work is concluded, when there is a joint commitment to seek agreement and report back progress publicly to meetings in July.

“We think that statement should not be decided this week when the detail is still to be agreed on matters like plans to develop Park & Rides, future high-quality public transport routes work in and out of Cambridge, and wider interventions to cut Cambridge congestion.

“The agreement needs to be rooted in a strong evidence base and needs to leave freedom for shorter term interventions before 2025 as well as bigger plans for after, when the potential for CAM Metro to make a real difference is timed for.”

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