Councillor G J Bull, Executive Leader to present on the activities of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
Councillors R C Carter and T Hayward to provide an update on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Decision summaries for recent meetings of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are attached to the Agenda for information.
In accordance with the Protocol agreed at the February 2017 meeting, this item provides an opportunity for District Council Members to ask questions and comment on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority issues.
If Members wish to raise questions or issues requiring a detailed response, it would be helpful if they can provide prior notice so that the necessary information can be obtained in advance of the meeting.
(Notes: Update 10 Minutes
Questions 10 Minutes).
In conjunction with the decision summaries of the recent meetings of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Councillor G J Bull presented an update of their activities by way of a PowerPoint presentation. Copies of which are appended in the Minute Book.
Councillor Bull reported upon the continuance of strategy days and Members of the Combined Authority had been working on the development of a non-statutory spatial plan designed to bring together all local plans that had been challenging, in particular in light of the three year inquiry that Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire had been tied into, as well as the Council’s soon to be deposited plan.
Members noted that a Commission was being established to look into the implications of public service reform. Councillor Bull also referred to the thirty year vision for the Combined Authority area to be a leading place internationally to live and work with good transport links, thriving communities and a skilled and diverse workforce.
Councillor Bull confirmed his portfolio allocation on the Combined Authority that included rural affairs, open spaces and tourism and also reported on the appointment of the new Deputy Mayor on the Combined Authority. In referring to the questions raised by Councillor D A Giles (Minute No. 50) ante refers) on the St Neots Master Plan, Councillor Bull explained that it formed a key part of the work of the Combined Authority but was not yet in a position to report as to how it would be delivered and would ensure that those representing St Neots would have the opportunity to assist in its development. In response Councillor Giles referred to page 179 of the decision summary and suggested endorsement of the next phase of the Master Plan and creation of a St Neots Master Plan Partnership. Councillor Bull reiterated his previous comments that work was continuing.
Councillor T D Alban raised a question in relation to broadband coverage and connecting Cambridgeshire and requested that Councillor Bull continue to place pressure on ensuring that the rural areas were better connected. Councillor Bull reported that he had been charged with mobile phone coverage and digital connectivity was under the control of another Portfolio Holder and undertook to refer this matter.
Arising from a question from Councillor P D Reeve on the possibility of investment in the short term into the existing rural bus network, Councillor Bull explained that the Combined Authority was looking into this issue very seriously as to how to support bus services in rural areas.
Councillors R C Carter and T Hayward provided an update on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Hayward provided a summary of discussions at their previous meetings and drew particular attention to concern raised in relation to the depth of knowledge of Portfolio holders given the number of changes in responsibility on the Combined Authority. He also referred to concern raised in relation to the financial position of the Local Enterprise Partnership and asked for a further update at a future meeting. Councillor Carter also updated Members on their meeting held on 23rd October 2017, that included presentations on the economic strategy vision for the Combined Authority and employment and skills Portfolio Holder.
Councillor B S Chapman questioned why some of the work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee related to governance issues and Councillor Hayward confirmed that he had raised similar concerns that the Audit and Governance Committee should be addressing.
Councillors J E Corley and Chapman raised their concerns in relation to proposals for a Park and Ride operation ending in Cambourne that would be damaging to St Neots and asked that these concerned be raised when the plan came before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Arising from a question by Councillor D A Giles on the St Neots to Cambridge light railway link, Councillor Hayward reported that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had not discussed the issue and Councillor Bull explained that a number of feasibility studies were being undertaken on potential light railway projects.
In concluding, the Managing Director reminded Members that all of the Agendas and Minutes of the Combined Authority were available on their website and undertook to remind Members of the link through their weekly alert.