Fenland falls into line and supports devolution making £80,000 a year elected mayor for Cambridgeshire more likely

Fenland Council backs devolution

Fenland Council backs devolution - Credit: Archant

Fenland Council has fallen into line with the rest of the county to back a devolution package that in all likelihood will see elections next May for an £80,000 mayor.

Council leader John Clark offered his party members a free vote and in the end nearly all agreed to spend two months consulting on the issue ahead of a final decision in the autumn.

It will be up to the new Tory cabinet of whoever becomes Prime Minister to agree if Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can now go it alone after an earlier devolution proposal involving Norfolk and Suffolk was roundly condemned.

All Cambridgeshire councils – and the local enterprise partnership- have backed the new deal although in Norfolk several councils, including Norwich City, have vetoed the idea.

A special meeting of Fenland Council on Friday afternoon accepted the promised cash for the regions – and likely speeding up of the garden town plan for Wisbech and re-opening of the rail link- was a prospect not to be missed.

One of the opponents of devolution, Councillor Steve Tierney, wrote on his blog after the meeting that “I have encountered no enthusiasm from the public we serve for the project. Nobody has been, like: ‘Steve, I can’t wait for you guys to push through a new tier of Government, with an £80,000 a year new mayor and an extra election for me to turn out to.’

He said only four councillors – himself, Michael Bucknor, Kit Owen and Rob Skoulding- voted against devolution with Councillors Virginia Bucknor and David Hodgson abstaining.

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Cllr Tierney added: “Anyway, it was fairly done. I made my objection and I lost to the vast majority.

“So if this now rolls ahead I will move on and do my best to work within and around whatever new structure is put in place. With some luck my fears and concerns will turn out to be groundless and the new arrangement really will lead to Utopia or Nirvana or just a place where the grass really is greener.

“An elected mayor is on his or her way with the extra set of elections to put them in place. Are you excited?”