Will Cambridgeshire Mayor candidate James Palmer win your vote?
Candidates for the May 4th mayoral election tell the Cambridge Independent why people should vote for them.
James Palmer, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Conservatives
Why should people vote for you?
As a local man who has lived and worked in the area all my life, I am fully aware of the problems facing Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and how to solve them. My record as the leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council is one of low tax and high-quality service. Under my leadership, ECDC has a balanced budget until 2019 and council tax has been frozen. We are delivering a new Ely bypass, a £13.5m leisure centre and a cinema complex. I know what it takes to deliver infrastructure and how to keep control of a budget, and I will use the knowledge I have gained to implement schemes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Cambridge has £70m for new housing – how should this be spent?
The £70m for housing in Cambridge will be spent by the city council. The money is earmarked specifically for Cambridge, and the Combined Authority will act as a facilitator. However, I will expect the city council to use the money swiftly to alleviate some of the housing pressure in Cambridge.
How would you approach working with the City Deal and Cambridgeshire County Council to improve transport/infrastructure?
I am fully aware that the City Deal has so far failed to live up to the expectations that we all had when the deal was announced. I feel that with three authorities already working together, adding the Combined Authority to the mix will not help. Whilst I will be prepared to work with the City Deal to improve congestion in Cambridge, the Combined Authority will not be looking to take over or control the City Deal. The Combined Authority will stand alone and be able to act more quickly and implement infrastructure improvements without the need to go through the complicated process of the City Deal.