Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution plan backed in consultation

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Devolution plans that could see Fenland become part of a new combined authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been supported in a public consultation.

Fifty-five per cent of participants supported the principle of devolution in the survey, with 15 per cent against it.

And 61 per cent said they supported the idea of devolving powers from central government to a new combined authority, with 15 per cent against, while 57 per cent backed the proposal of a directly elected mayor, with a quarter opposed to it.

But respondents to the online element of the survey were much more divided, with 59 per cent opposing the mayoral plan and a small majority also against the transfer of powers from central government.

A total of around 3,800 people across the area took part in phone and online surveys. Around 60 per cent of participants were surveyed through phone interviews carried out by polling company Ipsos-Mori. The remainder completed online surveys.

Fenland Council leader John Clark said: “We realise that they make up only a comparatively small sample of the population and that some concerns remain, particularly about a new mayor.

“At the same time, we believe that the proposed devolution deal has the potential to bring considerable benefits to the whole of this area.”

A report will now be presented to the government, who have to decide whether the criteria for proceeding with the plan have been met.

If so, draft orders will be placed before Parliament, which all participating authorites have to sign up to in order to participate.

A further series of meetings will then take place in the autumn for the individual councils to decide whether to finally take part in the programme or not.

Fenland Council will meet to discuss the issue on November 3.