Call to consider City Deal consultation null and void

Thursday 20 October 2016

The Chamber is calling for the City Deal consultation to be considered null and void after a council officer’s unequivocal message to an audience was that the proposals were ‘It’s happening, get over it and find a way around it’ just after the consultation period concluded and prior to any consideration by the Executive Board.

An experienced implementer of road-blocking schemes, Hilary Holden, was recruited and appointed by Cambridgeshire County Council during the consultation period. Her position with responsibility for improving access to the City of Cambridge as part of the Greater Cambridge City Deal was clearly made with the intention of implementing the proposals regardless of the consultation which the Chamber has previously identified as a sham and whitewash.

Last week, during a visit to a large firm of solicitors that will be impacted by the Workplace Parking Levy and Peak Congestion Control Points, her insistence that the proposals were a done deal was a stark contradiction to the Executive Board’s message that it was listening to businesses and residents.

The City Deal consultation closed on Monday 10 October and council officers will now be feeding the responses given during the consultation into their interim report. However the Chamber is calling on the City Deal Executive Board to accept that the consultation’s findings are meaningless when council officers have so brazenly admitted that any objections raised would be ignored.

John Bridge OBE DL, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The City Deal Executive Board claims to make the decisions that are driving forward the overall strategy but it’s becoming increasingly clear that behind the scenes the council officers are running their own agenda and one that is marred by a lack of genuine debate and transparency.

“We raised very serious concerns with the Executive Board back in August over the lack of real vision and innovative interventions with genuine economic benefit. We said then that we believed a small panel of independent experts, free of political interference, should be employed to reassess the right options for Cambridge, and we still believe this to be the case today.

“It’s still not too late for the City Deal Executive Board to declare the recent consultation null and void and go back to the drawing board and give our city a fighting chance of creating a purposeful, sustainable transport network for all modes of transport that will meet the future demands of the city.”

The Chamber has written to the City Deal Executive Board calling on it to re-visit its proposals and commission world-renowned experts to produce innovative, sustainable proposals it can genuinely consult on.

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