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City council leader Lewis Herbert steps down from Greater Cambridge Partnership board

Cambridge City Council leader Cllr Lewis Herbert has stepped down from the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s executive board and has been replaced by Nicky Massey.

As Labour leader of the council, Cllr Herbert has been a member of the board since its inception in 2014 and is the longest-serving member. His involvement with the board has not ended, however, as he is now Cllr Massey’s substitute.

Lewis Herbert on East Road in Cambridge . Picture: Keith Heppell. (44528087)
Lewis Herbert on East Road in Cambridge . Picture: Keith Heppell. (44528087)

The change came into effect prior to the March 18 meeting, where Cllr Massey was in place as the new board member, but the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) made no public announcement.

The GCP was established following the 2013 City Deal with the government, in which Cambridge was offered up to £500million over a 15-year period to boost economic growth, mainly through investment in infrastructure.

The board is made up of one voting member from each of the three constituent councils – Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council – with a non-voting representative for both the city’s business community and the University of Cambridge.

There will be no more board meetings prior to the elections on May 6, so the membership of the GCP board and the party representatives from the city council and county council are now also subject to the results of those votes.

Cllr Herbert said he stepped down to focus on other priorities, including tackling homelessness, climate change and the city’s pandemic recovery.

“I have got more than enough on my plate,” he said, noting he was the last remaining council leader on the board.

“I enjoyed my time as a representative on the Greater Cambridge Partnership. We have made significant progress and it’s good to have someone as effective as Nicky to continue to be the city’s voice on the Greater Cambridge Partnership.”

The GCP executive board has been involved in ongoing battles with the leader of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Conservative mayor James Palmer, particularly surrounding the GCP’s plans for a Cambourne to Cambridge busway.

“It’s no secret that there were challenging times, particularly when the mayor was effectively blocking progress both in 2018 and 2020, and I would have stepped back sooner had it not been for the unfortunate efforts by the mayor to stop the Greater Cambridge Partnership doing its job,” said Cllr Herbert.

Cllr Nicky Massey, who fought for the Marshall radar tower at the end of Sunnyside, Cambridge, to be moved. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Nicky Massey, who fought for the Marshall radar tower at the end of Sunnyside, Cambridge, to be moved. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cllr Massey, the executive councillor for transport and community safety on the city council, has previously served on the GCP’s joint assembly, and was Cllr Herbert’s official substitute on the board since 2019, and she is also a member of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority transport committee.

She said Cllr Herbert “worked very hard and very amiably for the city and has been a key member of the board now for seven years. He felt it is now time for someone else to take on that role and it was then decided that I would as I have already been involved in the board”.

Cllr Massey said she is “extremely pleased” to take up the position as the first woman to be a voting member on the board.

“I think it is important that we have diversity, and it’s also important that we make the right decisions to encourage modal shift and clean up our air,” she said.

Both Cllr Herbert and Cllr Massey have confirmed that they will be standing in the May 6 city council elections.

Cllr Massey is also standing as the Labour candidate to be the county’s next police and crime commissioner. She said that if elected to the role of commissioner, she would continue as a member of the GCP board “certainly in the short term”.

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