East Cambridgeshire calls special council meeting to decide next stages of devolution deal for East Anglia

Cambridgeshire County Council devolution debate:

Cambridgeshire County Council devolution debate: - Credit: Archant

Chief executive John Hill says East Cambridgeshire District Council will only get “a true evaluation” of the benefits of devolution once it is implemented.

His comments are contained in a report to a special council meeting on April 13 to decide the next stage in the devolution deal for East Anglia.

He will invite councillors to “ratify the East Anglia devolution agreement” and to give both him and council leader James Palmer until June to iron out infrastructure issues.

Mr Hill says the time lag will ensure the council is able to include “key infrastructure projects and priorities” into any final settlement.

He lists these as:

Ely Southern bypass

Soham railway station and doubling of track

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Ely North junction

Newmarket Curve

Junction A14/A142

Community Land Trust development

A10 upgrade

Improvements to cross links east and west

Mr Hill says the devolution agreement signed by 22 of the 23 council leaders (Cambridge City Council refused) sets out the framework that includes a new directly mayor.

Apart from £900million promised over the next 30 years, the Government also plans to allocate £175million capital for roads and transport.

Mr Hill says the council “has a number of issues in considering the ratification of the agreement”.

He says members will want to know the likely benefits, governance and proposed geography.

Cllr Palmer is also a county councillor and one of those who voted to defer Cambridgeshire agreeing to the deal.

Expressing some reservations and agreeing that the county council should continue to negotiate, he felt progress and a settlement was possible.

“There is a deal to be done here, make no mistake,” he told last month’s county council meeting.