Power struggles and collision courses

‘A power struggle between Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CA mayor James Palmer (Con) and local leaders has led to ministers threatening to withhold up to £400m funding,’ the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) reports.

A disagreement between the Mayor and the Greater Cambridge Partnership* has led to housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire stepping in to try to pour oil on troubled waters. The LGC reports that previous communities secretary Sajid Javid and growth minister Jake Berry, as well as James Brokenshire, have been involved.

*The Greater Cambridge Partnership is the body responsible for implementing the City Deal covering Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

The Mayor’s interim transport strategy was approved last month, and sought to put on ice a number of transport projects on which the Greater Cambridge Partnership was working. The Scrutiny Committee which holds the Mayor to account was set to review the freezing of these projects, but in what had every appearance of a coordinated absence, not enough Conservative members of the committee attended the review or ‘call-in’ meeting to enable it to go ahead.

Mayor Palmer is reported to be blaming the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership for a ‘lack of progress during the four years of its existence’.

Are we likely to see an acrimonious spat followed by a bid by the Mayor to take over the Greater Cambridge Partnership and its potential £500M budget, as happened with the Local Enterprise Partnership which has now become a ‘Business Board’ of Mayor Palmer’s expanding realm?

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