Super council could be close

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,
Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,
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An ‘Eastern Powerhouse’ encompassing Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk could be agreed in just a few months’ time.

A decision on whether to create a ‘super council’ across the three counties, including Peterborough, has to be made by the summer.

Council leaders last week submitted a proposed deal to the government for a new authority and are waiting to hear back if their package is acceptable.

An offer is then expected to be made by the government in the Budget on March 16 which, if acceptable, would have to be passed by all local councils to then proceed.

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “We have put a proposal to the government. We are not going to make any decision until we know what they offer us.

“At the moment it’s not just about if we think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s a question of staying in the party and seeing what we can get and if it’s good for Peterborough.”

Cllr Holdich would not be drawn on whether he would favour a move to create a super council with an elected mayor.

He said: “Until I know what the deal is I do not know if I can support it or not.”

The council leader has previously stated that a super council would focus on policies such as housing and transport, and that the city council here would not be diminished .

Re-iterating that point, he said that any new deal would see the council continue to run services locally, adding: “I think that Peterborough City Council will remain as it is, but we will have regional transport in an over-arching authority.”

Previous discussions have centred on whether Peterborough would re-join Cambridgeshire County Council, but these talks are not progressing.

The council has been a unitary authority since breaking away from Cambridgeshire in 1998.

However, collaboration between the two councils remains, after Peterborough agreed to its chief executive, Gillian Beasley, taking on the same role at the county council for a year-long job share.

Conversely, Cambridgeshire’s director of public health, Dr Liz Robin, is performing the same role in Peterborough two days a week as part of a year-long trial.