Mayor James Palmer under pressure over running of combined authority and news of Soham station costs potentially rising to £21.8m

PUBLISHED: 11:04 26 September 2018

Mayor Palmer (centre) with John Bridge, left, criticising aspects of his leadership and Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, scrutiny chairman.

Mayor Palmer (centre) with John Bridge, left, criticising aspects of his leadership and Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, scrutiny chairman.

Archant

Mayor James Palmer has been under pressure this week with business leaders and councillors criticising the running of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The ongoing row comes amid news of the cost of building Soham railway station - which could rise to an astonishing £21.8m according to a report.

Following the shock departure of the authority’s chief executive Martin Whiteley late last month, Mayor Palmer was asked to “come clean” over the resignation when he came before the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee on Monday, September 24.

But Mayor Palmer was adamant there had been no “falling out” between himself and Mr Whiteley and said he had acted on legal advice when offering Mr Whiteley a “substantial severance payment” upon his departure.

He fought back claims of nepotism at the combined authority and has also dismissed calls for an independent review into the authority after business leaders criticised the “lack of transparency.”

John Bridge, the chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said he will be writing to James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government to raise concerns into the new business board governance arrangements and request a full independent public inquiry.

Mayor Palmer, however, hit out at the calls, saying his focus was on delivering results for the people of Cambridgeshire rather than “making headlines.”

He added: “John Bridge was a senior member of the failed Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP), so I question how he feels he can speak with any kind of authority about the leadership and governance of the combined authority and business board.

“These sorts of comments may make headlines, but my focus is on delivering on my election promises to the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

He has been at the forefront of the campaign to get Soham railway station reopened, but in a budget update submitted to the combined authority board for approval, the report states the final costing of the project could reach £21,864,769.

The Soham station project has been allocated £1.5m to deliver its current phase of works but a further £1.7m is required in order to deliver this.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

59 minutes ago

Lib Dem Cllr Susan van de Ven called on the council today (October 16) to support a “people’s vote” on the terms of Brexit, with the possibility of remaining in the EU if it was decided leaving would be a bad idea.

Yesterday, 13:48

A police chief says putting poppies on some of their cars into the run-up to Remembrance Day “is not a glorification of war”.

Yesterday, 10:05

Three people were treated for ‘minor injuries’ last night after a lorry rolled on top of a car on the A141 Isle of Ely Way between March and Chatteris.

The Medlock Ensemble gave a splendid concert in aid of Camtrust at All Saint’s Church in Cottenham on Sunday October 7.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Ely Standard weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy