City could be left out of regional "voice"

April 17, 2009 9:52 AM
Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith

Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith

Cambridge could be left out in the cold when people are hand-picked from across the county to decide on a single strategy for the region.

The fear has been expressed by leading city councillors who are worried the City of Cambridge will not be represented on a new Leaders Board making crucial decisions.

They are concerned that membership will be dominated by county and unitary councils and there will be few places for district and city councils.

"There is no certainty that Cambridge will be offered a place," said Cambridge City Council leader, Ian Nimmo-Smith.

"Cambridge plays a key role in the regional economy and yet it is quite possible the city will not be represented on this new forum being set up to draft a strategy which will have major implications for Cambridge."

Liberal Democrat councillors plan to lodge a motion to a full Cambridge City Council meeting on April 23 to register their opposition to the current proposals for a Leaders Board.

The motion calls for officers to work with them to promote alternative arrangements that would ensure that their voices would be heard.

The government plan involves dissolving the East of England Regional Assembly and replacing it with a Regional Development Agency with enhanced powers. The Leaders Board will consult with the RDA on the new single regional strategy.

Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Change and Growth Sian Reid said: "It is vital that the city council has a voice on the new Leaders Board. The city is changing and developing and it is ridiculous to think that the council, which makes crucial decisions on housing and planning, might not be represented on this board which will shape the future of the region."

What would you like to do next?