The polls are open from 7am to 10pm today (Thursday, May 4) as Cambridgeshire votes for its first ever elected mayor.
The winning candidate will head a new authority with hundreds of millions of pounds to spend on housing and transport. Here, the candidates give their final pitches to Peterborough Telegraph readers as to why they should get your vote.
Visit www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk tomorrow and see next week’s PT for the result and reaction.
Kevin Price, Labour
Over the last few weeks I have travelled across the region and what I have heard time and again is how the Tories have failed to tackle the key issues that affect you all - a lack of housing that’s truly affordable whether you rent or buy, a road network that is suffering from decades of under-investment in both maintenance and capital projects, an expensive and too often infrequent bus service, a rail network with missing links, an economy where too many are on low wages and a pressing need to boost skills for our young people. Our region is an economic powerhouse for the UK and sends billions ever year to the Treasury in taxes but only gets back a fraction of the wealth it generates.
We can change this. The mayor has the power to intervene directly in housing, to use bus franchising powers to improve our buses, to bring Network Rail and Highways England to the table and to tackle the skills deficit. As mayor I will put tackling poverty and inequality in all the communities across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough at the heart of every decision made.
If you don’t want another Tory in power in our region, and if you do want a mayor who will stand up to the government for what we need and not simply say yes when poor decisions in Whitehall mean more misery for families in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, then vote for me as your Labour mayor on May 4.
Rod Cantrill, Liberal Democrat
People here in Peterborough and across the region have told me they are deeply concerned about having the right skills to get a good job, about the level of congestion and the lack of affordable homes to buy and rent.
I believe I have the skills, knowledge and real-life experience needed to be mayor and tackle these challenges head on. I have had a career in finance and set up and run my own business. I have combined that with a decade of delivering for the residents as a city councillor in Cambridge.
As mayor, I will provide a strong voice for everyone across our region. I will ensure that people have the skills that they and businesses need to succeed through delivering a university for Peterborough. I will drive through the delivery of social and affordable homes, particularly here in Peterborough. I will introduce a local living rent for affordable homes, based on one-third of someone’s income.
I will also deliver an integrated transport plan - focused on rail, bus and cycling and where appropriate road improvements. I will ensure the plan enhances connectivity and improves air quality. I will fight for additional railways stations for Peterborough, initially in the south but also in the north to meet the city’s growth. I will be a strong voice for the region, ensuring that the region is open to investment, open to talent and open to ideas.
Paul Bullen, UKIP
As a UKIP politician I am not under a party whip like the old parties are. UKIP politicians are truly independent and are free to represent the people that they serve not the party they belong to.
I will offer the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough what they deserve, more power for local people and local communities and more say over what happens in their street, village, town and city. I’ll offer an alternative of direct democracy and empower our residents to influence everything that I do by putting democracy back into local government.
I believe that local homes should be prioritised for local people but, at the same time, our green spaces should be protected. I will do all that I can to protect food security and farming.
I will direct new housing to brownfield sites wherever possible and will not allow any special treatment for special groups such as travellers - rules should apply equally to us all and not favour one individual over another.
New housing must be affordable as our children and grandchildren find it more difficult to buy or rent as costs escalate. I will ensure that all new housing built in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and commissioned by the mayor, will be social housing that will provide real homes for our young and old alike.
I will upgrade public transport, especially maintaining and reinstating rural bus routes that many communities depend on and which feed town centre businesses and markets.
James Palmer, Conservative
It is time for the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to decide who they wish to be their mayor.
I have been consistent throughout the campaign in stating my belief that improving the infrastructure across the whole area will spread the wealth from the south, creating opportunities for all.
I believe we can create a Silicon Valley right here. By investing in new roads and rail I will be able to attract international business here. By investing in apprenticeships and a Peterborough University we can create a workforce here fit for the future.
I am the only candidate with the strong backing of government and the Prime Minister. I will use my contacts in Westminster for the benefit of the people of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire .
Your choice is clear, a Conservative working for the whole area, bringing opportunities and investment to all, or Cambridge centric, Cambridge obsessed Labour or Liberal Democrats.
I will work with Theresa May to bring investment to this area. I will fight for the necessary finance to build new road and rail links and I will be the mayor for the whole of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.
Stephen Goldspink, English Democrat
If you haven’t already voted, please give your first preference vote to me. I have noticed as the campaign has progressed that other candidates are reflecting my ideas. The UKIP candidate was first, picking up my pledge to gather from residents lists of local transport problems where they think there is a cheap and easy fix – diverting a bus, stopping a train that currently goes straight through to make a sensible timetable, adding a lane at a junction to ease congestion or rephasing traffic lights that are plainly wrong.
The Tory has joined that call, specifically mentioning issues with Whittlesey station that I have been highlighting since 2013. Then the Green candidate started talking about making councils deal with empty properties to boost the housing stock – there are probably at least 5,000 in Cambridgeshire and you probably see some every day. Again, I’ve been stressing that from the start of the campaign.
The three major parties have been in power in this county for more than a generation but have failed to sort out the things you and I see every day. Why would putting another of these people (who have failed to take action for years) over the top of the rest make any difference? My record in East Ward in Peterborough was one of action and service, listening carefully to residents. If you want fanciful schemes, broken promises and more of the same, you know who to vote for. Not me. Why not vote for change?
Julie Howell, Green Party
I am the only candidate who has openly and consistently opposed the creation of this role, and without a strong voice for Peterborough there is no doubt in my mind that our city will be worse off with resources diverted towards Cambridge.
I will not take the £70k salary. I’ll take the county average (£29k) and give the rest to dementia causes in our region. If elected, I’ll create a democratically-elected assembly to keep an eye on the mayor and I’ll make sure Peterborough gets a university that supports our young people and housing they can afford to encourage them to stay here after graduation. I’ll create meaningful apprenticeships and encourage the creation of safe communities near to where people live, reducing dependency on the car.
I’ll encourage more walking and cycling and will make travel by train and bus easier, cheaper and better. I’ll ensure our older and disabled people are properly taken into account when I make decisions on our behalf. I’ll protect what’s beautiful about Peterborough and work hard to make everyone feel included in the decisions that are made about our city. I’ll make sure new estates are safer for our children to live in, with real possibility for creating communities where people feel content and where the air is clean. I will remain accessible to local residents and will consult properly so you feel listened to and valued. I’ll be strong when you need me to be with Peterborough’s needs upmost in my mind.
Peter Dawe, independent
Six months of campaigning has convinced me of the great opportunity we have to create a happy, healthy and wealthy Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The vast majority of people not only want a better Cambridgeshire, but they are willing to put their own resources into making it happen. Sadly, current local government policies totally fail to engage and empower these resources. They prefer to concentrate on seeking taxpayers’ money to do stuff to the community.
At every hustings the party political candidates have carped on about demanding money from central government to allow them to spend it on their priorities, They validate their priorities by claiming a mandate from the ballot box. They fail to grasp the opportunity of community, indeed their wanting to do everything disempowers the community.
Cambridgeshire has one of the most vibrant economic environments in the world. Across the county, including the Fens, we have world leading companies. Our local government must also be world leading. I will use 21st century technology and techniques to transform service delivery, be it a Fenland homes factory, all electric urban transport for Cambridge or digital democracy for inclusive decision making.
A vote for Peter Dawe is a vote for building communities, of solving problems ourselves. Yes, of course I will seek more resources, but I will use those funds to leverage our community’s assets, not to replace them.