New leader at district council after Cllr Peter Moakes steps aside

Cllr James Palmer

Cllr James Palmer - Credit: Archant

A NEW leader has taken the reigns of power at East Cambridgeshire District Council after Councillor Peter Moakes decided not to seek re-election.

Cllr Moakes, from Sutton, is to be replaced by Soham councillor James Palmer, whose election as leader by the Tories, will be reported at a meeting of full council on Tuesday.

The deputy leader will be Cllr Charles Roberts, who represents the Stretham ward in the district.

Councillor Peter Moakes, who took over from Fred Brown in 2011, said: “It has been a great privilege to have been the leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council for the last two years. Together with my colleagues, we have faced many challenges and while tough decisions have had to be taken I believe they have been made for the benefit of the district.

“Whether it has been setting the future growth of new homes, directing investment into the local economy or pushing forward projects such as the Ely bypass and the leisure centre – we have helped move the district forward.

“However during all this, I have been keenly aware that while my focus has never waivered from doing the best for East Cambridgeshire, I know I am approaching my 70th birthday. This is why I decided not to seek re-election to the role of leader.”

Cllr Palmer, a milkman from Soham, said: “For my part, the next two years are very exciting. We have a number of projects which we are to progress to make a real difference to lives across the district.

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“These include major infrastructure projects such as driving forward the work on the Ely bypass, delivering a new leisure centre for East Cambridgeshire and working with our partners to bring a railway station back to Soham.

“I am very proud to live and work in East Cambridgeshire. The area has developed so much over the last decade as new investment and new people have come to the district.

“I am sure there will be challenges ahead but I promise to meet these with determination, resolve and innovation to ensure our district remains a great place to succeed in the years ahead.”