City left out in the cold on crucial planning decisions

November 25, 2009 9:31 AM
Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith

Ian Nimmo-Smith

Cambridge will have no voice on a new organisation set up to make decisions on housing and jobs across the region.

The city was ignored when 16 places were allocated for a new Regional Strategy Board - one of three new organisations replacing the East of England Regional Assembly.

And there will be no representation from any of the six Liberal Democrat-led district councils in the region, leaving key economic centres like Colchester, Milton Keynes and St Albans out in the cold.

Cambridge City Council will have to pay more than £8,000 annual subscription to the new bodies which include a Leaders Board and Local Government Assembly.

But they and the other Liberal Democrat councils in the region are reserving judgment on whether the subscription represents value for money.

Cambridge City Council Leader, Ian Nimmo-Smith said: "These three organisations are dominated by Conservative members who will be in charge of a combined expenditure of £3.25 million.

"With no effective controls over this money, I am worried that it will be spent to suit party political objectives rather than the needs of the region.

"There will be between one and seven places only on these organisations for non-Conservatives. But 20 per cent of the electorate in the region voted for Liberal Democrat councilors."

Leaders of the 52 local councils in the East of England voted to set up the new organisations but refused to adopt politically proportional arrangements.

"Cambridge will have no voice on deciding a single strategy for the region," added Cllr Nimmo-Smith. "Key decisions on housing targets and jobs across the region will by made by the Conservatives."

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