South Cambs leader no longer portfolio holder for housing at Mayor Palmer’s combined authority - but he’ll stay on as a member

PUBLISHED: 10:18 09 February 2018

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Less than a year after taking on the multi million pound housing portfolio for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, South Cambs Council leader Peter Topping has parted company with Mayor James Palmer.

Less than a year after taking on the multi million pound housing portfolio for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, South Cambs Council leader Peter Topping has parted company with Mayor James Palmer.

The surprise decision was taken after “we discussed it” Mayor Palmer revealed today.

In the interim Mayor Palmer will take on the housing portfolio while other changes take affect including the appointment of new Fenland Council leader Chris Seaton who replaces John Clark. Cllr Clark held the transport portfolio.

Mayor Palmer said Cllr Topping had left the role to devote more time to fighting the May district council elections. However Cllr Topping will remain a member of the combined authority.

The mayor said frequent changes were inevitable “such is the transient nature of my cabinet”.

He denied there had been any disagreement with Cllr Topping but going forward the mayor said community land trusts – which he said had been such a successful part of his own time as East Cambs leader – would feature in priorities for the rest of Cambridgeshire.

“My job is to deliver,” said Mayor Palmer. “Let’s see how it goes.”

“Housing is very important and it will get the attention it needs.”

Just over a week ago Cllr Topping was part of the team that announced plans to build 40,000 homes over the next 20 years across the combined authority area.

The statement included news of a £170m housing grant approved by central government.

Early ambitions will bring together 15 housing associations working under the banner of Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with an initial target of 2,000 affordable homes by 2021.

Cllr Topping said last week: “We know we need to build more homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and particularly increase the amount of affordable housing we have.”

He said the Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough project was a “step towards making this happen so that our children can look forward to making their own homes here, in the communities they’ve grown up in.

“Housing associations are a key partner in bringing affordable housing forward, so it’s great news that we now have this shared set of objectives to work from.”

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