To Councillor Roger Hickford, Chair, Greater Cambridge Partnership
Congratulations on your appointment as Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership.
As you will be aware, over the last few months our two organisations have been discussing the delivery of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro and the governance of transport policy in South Cambridgeshire; both in private, and unfortunately, in public.
Recently, the disagreement between CPCA and GCP has been seen through the lens of the C2C project, proposed by the GCP under its previous chair, and made public in the open letter GCP released on 3 June. GCP have been keen to proceed with the C2C project before considering any governance changes and considered that CPCA input to the project had been sufficient, although I am glad to see that position has now altered. I remain of the view that if we do not get the governance right, we will never be able to deliver projects in a unified and strategic way.
We have both recently been written to by Simon Clarke, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and he has set out to both of us the desire of Government for partnership working in our area to improve, in order to build “a unity of ambition and shared purpose”. He has also specifically charged me, as Mayor, to take the lead on such a change, as I am uniquely placed to do so.
As part of our discussions on governance, we have proposed several alternative models for discussion that have so far been rejected out of hand, but I hope following the Minister’s letter we can alter that position. As a first step, I would be willing to take a place as a member of the GCP Executive Board, on condition that we look simultaneously at more fundamental reforms to the governance structure that will bring transport policy and delivery under one governance structure before the end of the year.
To that end, the CPCA is now leading a new approach to delivering the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro, that we are calling “One CAM”. As the true benefits of the CAM will only be fully realised when the whole network is completed, it is important to proceed with the development of the network in the same vein, rather than apportioning and compartmentalising different sections of the network as has been attempted previously. I will be writing to you under separate cover to flesh out these details, but I hope that on principle GCP will also be able to publicly support the One CAM approach.
I believe these two steps would be an important demonstration to Government that we are building the unity of ambition and shared purpose they have asked for, and I hope I would have your support in doing so.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough