New combined authority holds first meeting since Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution agreed

The meeting at the Future Business Centre EMN-161214-145822009
The meeting at the Future Business Centre EMN-161214-145822009
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Leaders of the seven Cambridgeshire councils, including Peterborough City Council, met publicly for the first time since a devolution deal for the county was agreed.

The ‘shadow combined authority’ - a precursor to a new combined authority which will begin next year - met yesterday at the Future Business Centre at the Peterborough United ground in London Road.

The first meeting saw Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, unanimously approved as the chair of the shadow authority.

He will be replaced by the county’s first elected mayor in May.

Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich was also appointed as a vice chair of the authority until May 2017, while it was agreed to advertise for a new chief executive.

The new authority will have hundreds of millions of pounds to spend on areas such as housing and transport, but there are fears that Peterborough will be a poor relation next to the other councils.

However, Cllr Peter Topping, leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “It’s very important Peterborough has a recognisable seat at the top table.

“We in the south of the county regard Peterborough as a distinct but included part of this enterprise.

“I particularly look forward to working with people in Peterborough.”

The shadow authority will have its next meeting on January 31.