Lib Dems slam proposed Cambridge transport commission - County

June 23, 2008 12:00 AM
Cllr Alex Reid

Cllr Alex Reid

The Liberal Democrats at Cambridgeshire County Council have today strongly criticised the Conservative administration's proposal for an unelected Commission to 'determine what is best for Cambridge' in relation to the Transport Innovation Fund scheme which includes congestion charging.

The Conservative administration propose that the Commission would include representatives from Cambridgeshire's City and District Councils, but would also include representatives from various large employers, land owners, and business associations.

Cllr Alex Reid, Lib Dem Spoke for Environment and Transport said:

"We are highly critical of the Commission proposal, on the grounds that it would abdicate the key democratic task of developing transport strategy to an unelected quango, largely composed of employers, landowners and business associations. We are also disappointed that this ill-conceived proposal should have been announced without any prior consultation with the City or District Councils, or with the Joint Transport Forum.

"A new Joint Transport Forum was set up less than a year ago by Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, and South Cambridgeshire District Council. It comprises three elected Councillors from each Council, with proportional political representation. Since all its members are elected it has a clear democratic mandate.

"We believe the County Council should be urgently developing options to improve the Transport Innovation Fund proposal, for consideration by the Joint Transport Forum. By all means let interested organisations and individuals (including Addenbrooke's, the Universities, the Police, Marshalls, Stagecoach, the Chamber of Commerce and Trade, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Greater Cambridge Partnership) present evidence to the Joint Transport Forum, and argue their case. But it is completely wrong that those organisations, which do not represent the community as a whole, should be entrusted with 'determining what is best for Cambridge'.

"We urge the Conservative administration to pursue the next steps in the Transport Innovation Fund not through the proposed unelected Commission, but through the properly democratic process of the Joint Transport Forum."

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