Connect with us

News

OPINION: ‘We must cut our losses and dismantle the GCP’

Published

on

Together with a considerable number of local residents, I have been campaigning for the scrapping of the Cambridge congestion charge since it was first proposed by the GCP.

I therefore welcome the news that local Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians have finally pressed the pause button on this dreadful scheme.

Following their bruising defeats in the Longstanton and King’s Hedges by-elections, both parties are now terrified of the potential voter backlash on this issue in the upcoming general election.

They previously refused to allow a referendum on the congestion charge and are likely hoping that voters will have forgotten about this betrayal by the time they next head to the ballot box.

However, neither party has ruled out reintroducing it after the General Election, so I am calling on them to make an unequivocal promise to abandon the congestion charge once and for all.

Unsurprisingly, Labour’s official statement on the matter attempts to shift the blame for this major U-turn.

Firstly, they blame the Liberal Democrats for withdrawing their support for the congestion charge and then accuse the Conservative government of turning ‘a blind eye to the needs of communities.’

This demonstrates a shameful lack of contrition and self-reflection.

Anthony Browne is Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire. He will contest the new St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire seat at the next General Election.

Anthony Browne is Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire. He will contest the new St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire seat at the next General Election.

The responsibility for this fiasco lies entirely with our local Labour and Liberal Democrat political leaders, who control the GCP and have actively promoted the so-called ‘Sustainable Travel Zone’.

By contrast, the Conservative government is getting on with delivering improvements.

They are investing over £200 million in delivering Cambridge South Station, have spent £4.2 million on 30 new zero-emission buses for Cambridge, have subsidised the £2 bus fare scheme across Cambridgeshire since January 2023, have committed to the East West Rail project, and set aside a staggering £0.5 billion for the GCP.

Unfortunately, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have shown themselves to be entirely incapable of managing the GCP’s money effectively.

They have squandered nearly £17 million on the City Access and Making Connections scheme, with very little to show for it.

This is in addition to the £16.5 million spent on the CSET busway (now on hold) and £18 million on the car parks at Hauxton (not yet started) and Foxton (now on hold).

To date, the GCP has spent over £160 million on transport projects that are years away from being delivered if they ever will be.

This is an absolutely shocking waste of taxpayers’ money and all the while; we still have no credible transport plan for the future.

The Labour Mayor, Nik Johnson, has shown absolutely no strategic leadership on transport policy since his election.

Meeting with Anthony Browne MP for South Cambridgeshire to chat about plans for the region, including #transport and the #environment. “Great to hear how keen he is to co-operate with me on these, and other issues,” said Mayor Dr Nik Johnson.

Meeting with Anthony Browne MP for South Cambridgeshire to chat about plans for the region, including #transport and the #environment. “Great to hear how keen he is to co-operate with me on these, and other issues,” said Mayor Dr Nik Johnson at the time.. 

He has remained on the fence regarding the congestion charge, seemingly afraid to take a clear stance on the issue.

Indeed, our current situation can be traced back to his decision to cancel the Cambridge Autonomous Metro and focus entirely on buses and active travel to solve our problems.

It was evident to many of us that this approach was never going to work.

It is impossible to see how the current leadership of the GCP can be trusted to continue.

Highly paid officials have put the City Deal funds at risk by relentlessly pursuing schemes that were doomed to fail one way or another.

They have ignored expert and public criticism and adopted a bunker mentality, burning through precious public money with little to show for it.

The Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians on the GCP Executive Board, who are ultimately responsible for making its spending decisions, have shown a total lack of leadership.

They have overseen this wasteful spending and have failed miserably in their role as a scrutiny body. It simply cannot be allowed to continue.

At this point, we must cut our losses and dismantle the GCP – as I have told the Government.

We now need new leaders to fix our transport system. All options should be on the table. We need open-minded, high-calibre individuals and technical experts to come together.

And we need to look beyond buses.

I have been calling for a commitment to explore the feasibility of reopening the rail link from Cambridge to Haverhill, adding stations to our existing railways, and opening new lines, including the possibility of a light rail network, which uses reliable technology that is already adopted across the globe.

 

Anthony Browne is Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire. He will contest the new St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire seat at the next General Election.

 

Facebook

Read More

Say NO to Sunnica campaign group has mounted a massive effort to stop the solar farm PHOTO: Say NO to Sunnica Say NO to Sunnica campaign group has mounted a massive effort to stop the solar farm PHOTO: Say NO to Sunnica
News19 hours ago

Labour approve 2,500 acre Sunnica solar farm on Cambridgeshire/Suffolk border

Government also drops 9-year ban on onshore windfarms

Peterborough City Council told CambsNews: ‘Following the recent identification of poisonous hemlock plants on land at Thorpe Meadows, we have worked to restrict access to this area.’ PHOTO: Terry Harris for CambsNews Peterborough City Council told CambsNews: ‘Following the recent identification of poisonous hemlock plants on land at Thorpe Meadows, we have worked to restrict access to this area.’ PHOTO: Terry Harris for CambsNews
Peterborough City Council22 hours ago

Poisonous hemlock forces closure of Thorpe Meadows, Peterborough

The signs warn visitors of ‘toxic poison hemlock on site’

Carlyle-Parker, from Wisbech, later pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving Carlyle-Parker, from Wisbech, later pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving
Crime24 hours ago

Wisbech man jailed for ‘horrific attack’ on his partner whilst their child was in the car

'He put all their lives and the lives of other road users at risk'

Human trafficker suspect detained in Whittlesey told police ‘they want me? about what?’ before being advised of his rights and bundled into a police van. Human trafficker suspect detained in Whittlesey told police ‘they want me? about what?’ before being advised of his rights and bundled into a police van.
Crime1 day ago

WATCH: Human trafficker suspect held in Whittlesey on European arrest warrant

Suspect spotted speeding in Bellmans Road arrested in Sycamore Road

NewRiver Retail plan to demolish the car park to make way for a new food store but have not given details of which supermarket chain wants to move in. NewRiver Retail plan to demolish the car park to make way for a new food store but have not given details of which supermarket chain wants to move in.
News1 day ago

360-space Horsefair Wisbech car park to be demolished to make way for new store

The multi-storey car park is attached to Horsefair Shopping Centre

Recycling facilities in March are set for a £4m upgrade, after Cambridgeshire County Council agreed for a replacement. Visual of the new household recycling centre Recycling facilities in March are set for a £4m upgrade, after Cambridgeshire County Council agreed for a replacement. Visual of the new household recycling centre
Cambridgeshire County Council2 days ago

Green light for £4m recycling centre at March despite 17 per cent hike in costs

Cambridgeshire has 9 household waste recycling centres

Protect Local Peterborough (PRP) is a campaign to oppose proposals for a Township in the middle of open countryside. Protect Local Peterborough (PRP) is a campaign to oppose proposals for a Township in the middle of open countryside.
Your Views2 days ago

OPINION: ‘Fastest growing city in the UK’ is not a vision for the people of Peterborough

Fighting to prevent mass suburban sprawl in and around Castor and Ailsworth

Kuda Madondo Allison Clarke Niall James and Keith Johnson (002) Kuda Madondo Allison Clarke Niall James and Keith Johnson (002)
News2 days ago

Stagecoach East reveal ‘crème de la crème’ for Bus Driver of the Year awards

The contestants came from across Stagecoach East

Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris Paul Bristow awaiting result of the count in Peterborough. Photo: Terry Harris
Politics2 days ago

Ex MP Paul Bristow says Tories must win back young people who voted Reform

'I’m proud to have secured £125 million for the city'

Image of what The Press will look like when complete: it set to deliver over 100,000 sq ft of fitted lab and office space through repositioning of Cambridge’s former printing press. Image of what The Press will look like when complete: it set to deliver over 100,000 sq ft of fitted lab and office space through repositioning of Cambridge’s former printing press.
Business2 days ago

Foxton, Cambridge development ‘responds to persistent shortfall in fit-for-purpose lab and office space’

New 100,000 sq ft Foxton science and innovation campus