Communities secretary urged to explore “different devolution deal” for East Anglia

Norfolk County Council have agreed to push ahead with negotiations for a deal on devolution for Norf

Norfolk County Council have agreed to push ahead with negotiations for a deal on devolution for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. - Credit: PA

A push to return to a separate devolution deal for just Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been made by one of the key leaders in the negotiations.

Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count has written to the communities secretary Greg Clark calling for urgent talks to discuss a return to talks over separate East Anglian combined authorities.

Cambridgeshire leaders initially rejected overtures from Norfolk and Suffolk leaders to team up and create a three county deal, but were urged by former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine and communities secretary Greg Clark to explore a combined authority for the wider region under an elected mayor with transport and housing powers ahead of last month's budget.

Twenty-two out of 23 council leaders in the three counties signed a draft agreement hailed by George Osborne, but councillors across parties and the region have raised concerns about scale of the plan and the need for a directly elected mayor since then.

Mr Count told Mr Clark that the county council [Cambridgeshire] believed that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was 'a viable

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geography for a strong devolution deal with Government'.

He said he wanted to build on the work which had previously been done on a separate bid, but said he recognised the need for closer working with surrounding areas.

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'Our members are very keen to present these arguments and promote the potential of a different devolution deal for our area. I therefore request a meeting with you as soon as possible and look forward to hearing from your office when this might be possible.'

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