The Chairman clarified the Executive Board’s Standing Orders regarding public questions since these had been modified by the three City Deal partner councils. The changes had been made to improve the handling of public questions. The key things to be aware of were:
· That public questions needed to be received by 10am three working days before the relevant meeting.
· There was a suggested limit of 300 words to a question.
· Questions should relate to items on the agenda for discussion although the Chairman had discretion to accept questions that did not relate to agenda items.
The Chairman pointed out that he had exercised his discretion at this meeting to accept several questions that did not relate to agenda items, as did the Joint Assembly Chairman at the meeting which took place on 18th January 2017. Flexibility had also been shown on word limit as this was the first meeting since the changes had been made. The Chairman stated that the Standing Orders would be applied more rigorously for future meetings. Chairman’s discretion would continue to be used to allow questions relating to items that were not on the agenda and that were not programmed for future agendas, that were considered of particular importance to address. This sought to fairly balance the public’s right to participate with the need to carry out business efficiently and effectively. He also said he had offered to meet people from Coton who had asked specific questions, to hear their concerns.
The Chairman set out the order of public questions, with questions addressing the same issues being grouped together and a collective response given. Other questions would be taken under the relevant agenda item.
Councillor Susan van de Ven was invited to speak and addressed the Executive Board with the following statement:
“The A10 Cambridge-Royston cycle scheme is continuing to attract match funding opportunities. As you know, the scheme has already received several lots of Department for Transport Cycling Ambition match funding, totalling £2.5 million, plus one lot of City Deal funding, totalling £550K.
AstraZeneca, whose employees living along the A10 will use the cycle path to get to work in Cambridge, has committed two years’ worth of funding to maintain the path over and above what Cambridgeshire County Council can afford, in order to ensure a high standard.
from the Department for Transport Local Sustainable Transport Fund
to carry out a Personalized Travel Planning exercise has already
evidenced modal shift away from single car use.
All of this match funding has enabled most of what is a shovel-ready scheme to be delivered quickly. The City Deal-funded segment will be completed in February and a local business has offered to host and provide refreshments for the grand opening in March.
In order to complete the scheme we must find a way of funding the Melbourn-Royston missing link, which traverses the Hertfordshire border. The Greater Cambridgeshire/Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, which includes North Hertfordshire in its economic zone, discussed the case for funding the Melbourn-Royston link at their December Board meeting. A report by cross-border, cross party councillors was presented to the LEP for consideration and is published on the A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign website.
The LEP authorizes to me to say to you:
· The Board was supportive of finding a multi-agency route to finalise delivery
· The Board understood the commercial and environmental advantages of the link
· That local sources should be utilised alongside private sector support
· The Board would be prepared to consider a financial ask provided other mechanisms were supportive too.
I would like to ask the City Deal Executive Board to consider joining forces with the LEP to fund the final link, which is shovel-ready and could present a finished product even this year, all sticking to City Deal core principles of collaboration, match-funding, economic growth and modal shift to reduce car use on key corridors into Cambridge.”
In response to this the following points were made:
· Councillor Van de Ven’s input was welcomed and the scheme’s benefits were recognised. She was asked about the total funding sought; about £1 million was needed for the last section of cycleway and around £1.5 million to build a bridge to connect Royston.
· The first tranche of City Deal funding had already been prioritised and the capital programme was fully committed, therefore a commitment to fund the Melbourn to Royston link from this tranche was not advised. The link should be considered as part of the tranche two programme.
· Officers would continue to work with Councillor Van de Ven and to engage in discussion with her and the Local Enterprise Partnership to look at funding sources for the link.
Questions from Stephen Coates, Carolyn Postgate and Edward Leigh were grouped together:
Question from Stephen Coates:
Stephen Coates read out his pre-submitted question:
“When will the independent review of the City Deal by Mouchel become an agenda item for both the City Deal Assembly and the City Deal Board so there will be a full discussion and full Q&A session in both forums on the report? Many people who should have been consulted for the preparation of this report were not, including some Assembly members. Will there be a mechanism for residents groups or councillors to share further concerns on governance issues that either flow from this report or should have been included in this report?”
Question from Carolyn Postgate:
Carolyn Postgate read out her pre-submitted question:
“I have read the Mouchel's Greater Cambridge City Deal External Review. I can see that some of the recommendations have already been put in place, such as limiting questions at public meetings and recruiting dedicated staff to the City Deal. However, the report also highlighted that the officers were unclear of the GCCD objectives, the Board reports were not “fit for purpose” and that recommendations have been made on out-of-date evidence. Therefore can the Board explain why it is still progressing with recommendations based on out-of-date evidence and why is option 3/3a still being worked up?”
Question from Edward Leigh
Edward Leigh read out his pre-submitted question:
“Question 1: Will the Board move quickly to commission an external review of the appropriateness and rigorousness of the procedures used to prioritise and develop schemes?
Question 2: Will you as members of the City Deal Board, and representatives of the local authorities, LEP and Cambridge University, commit to developing this year a clear vision for the Greater Cambridge region in the 2030s, along with a new, coherent transport strategy?”
In response to these questions, the following points were made:
· The Mouchel report was an external assurance review to assess delivery confidence in the transport workstream and to make recommendations to ensure high delivery confidence. Implementing these recommendations was a priority and progress updates would be covered in the regular progress reporting to the Board.
· There would be an agenda item for the Joint Assembly and Executive Board on the Mouchel report in June 2017, as an extended progress report.
· Residents’ groups, councillors and residents had provided views through a survey that had been undertaken as part of the communications review. This review would inform the updated communications strategy.
· Outside formal meetings, there would continue to be regular and publicised opportunities for public engagement.
· In response to comments regarding vision, the City Deal Programme Director explained that the City Deal played a key part in delivering the vision for Greater Cambridge set out in the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans and the Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. She provided some slides setting out that vision for Greater Cambridge in 2030.
· The business case for the Cambourne to Cambridge scheme was an outline business case, the development of which would continue. The evidence and business case development followed Department for Transport Guidance.
· It was pointed out that the transport strategy was adopted at the start of the Local Plan process and the strategy supported and complemented the Local Plans.
· It was intended that the tranche two prioritisation project review transport priorities for 2020-2030. Beyond 2030, a longer term vision should be developed.
· The Local Enterprise Partnership welcomed the Mouchel report. A strategic economic plan would be put together by quarter two 2017. This would go beyond the geographical area covered by the City Deal and would help inform future plans and decisions.
Question from Councillor Bridget Smith
Councillor Smith read out her pre-submitted question:
“Does the City Deal Executive Board agree that the new Combined Authority, instead of working in collaboration with the City Deal, might actually pose a threat to its future? Might public criticism and the recent external report result in future tranches of money being paid directly to the CA? What is the GCCD Board going to do to mitigate this risk?”
In response to this question, Councillor Herbert said that work was being undertaken to mitigate and eliminate risks. The Chairman referred to two paragraphs (2 and 23) of the devolution deal document that referred to the City Deal and showed subsidiarity and continued delivery of the existing City Deal. There was no evidence to suggest that there was going to be a takeover bid of the City Deal by the Combined Authority. It was felt that the larger geography of the Combined Authority opened up opportunities and dialogues, particularly with key Government agencies. Discussions were ongoing with officers taking forward the Combined Authority.
The remainder of the public questions were dealt with at the relevant agenda item.