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Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambs Tories lose battle but stoke war on congestion charge and busway

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Tories lost two major debates at Cambridgeshire County Council today which means there will be no referendum on the Cambridge congestion charge and approval for next stage of the Cambridge to Cambourne guided busway.

The county council decided not to support a call to set aside up to £1.5m for a local referendum in May on any road charging proposal which may result from the Making Connections consultation, due to come before the council later this summer.

A motion was put by opposition leader Cllr Steve Count together with public questions and a petition at full council today calling for a local poll at the same time as council elections in May.

Council leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha pointed out that the Making Connections consultation run by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership had received more than 24,000 responses, which were both lengthy and detailed.

Council leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha pointed out that the Making Connections consultation run by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership had received more than 24,000 responses, which were both lengthy and detailed.

Council leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha pointed out that the Making Connections consultation run by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership had received more than 24,000 responses, which were both lengthy and detailed.

“It would be rude and disrespectful to all of those who took time and trouble to respond, to reduce it to a single question.” she said

“Controversial decisions are complex, and we work within a representative democracy.  This is not a perfect system, but the advantage is that those of us who take it on and stand for election, take on the responsibility of examining complex issues in depth.

Cllr Chris Boden

Cllr Chris Boden

“If there are proposals brought forward as a result of the Making Connections consultation, I can confirm that they will come back to this council for debate and decision,” she confirmed.

In a wide-ranging debate on the issue, councillors discussed how heated the debate around the consultation and its likely outcome has become, including physical threats, harassment and verbal abuse being made on social media aimed at some elected members.

“The council has taken robust steps to report any such actions to the police as potential criminal offences, just as we would for any councillor subjected to such vile, baseless and cowardly attacks,” Stephen Moir, Cambridgeshire County Council’s chief executive confirmed at the end of the meeting.

The motion was lost on a majority vote, with 32 members against, 24 in favour and no abstentions.

You can see the full debate at today’s Full Council meeting, which began from 1.30pm here

 

Cambridgeshire County Council today also backed progress on the Cambridge to Cambourne busway scheme towards a likely public enquiry, after agreeing an application for a Transport and Works Act Order.

Cllr Alex Beckett

A majority vote at the full council meeting followed a lengthy debate and a number of questions from members of the public, on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s proposal.

This proposal followed a seven-year consultation process to put forward a route for the 13.6km busway.

Concerns about the loss of habitats along the proposed route were discussed, as were the concerns about providing transport to enable young people and those from newer communities in Cambridgeshire to access education and employment opportunities, as well as the council’s commitment to achieve a carbon net zero county.

“There is no answer to the now urgent climate crisis without building sustainable infrastructure which allows for fewer fuel burning cars on our roads,“ said the council’s deputy leader and chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, Cllr Elisa Meschini,  in proposing the motion.

The recorded vote was 33 in favour , 26 against, with no abstentions.

You can watch the full debate on the council’s YouTube channel recording of the full council meeting here

 

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