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District leader wins Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

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East Cambridgeshire DC leader James Palmer (Con) has become the mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

Cllr Palmer won after the contest went to second preference votes, seeing off his nearest rival Rod Cantrill (Lib Dem), a Cambridge City councillor. A conservative victory in the area was widely anticipated.

The district leader has previously outlined his priorities for the area to LGC, which include improving infrastructure, giving more responsibilities to districts including social care (and opposing the creation of a county unitary), and building an underground railway system for Cambridge.

Cllr Palmer secured 88,826 votes by the end of the second round, while Cllr Cantrill had 67,026. Labour’s candidate Kevin Price, deputy leader of Cambridge City Council, won 37,297 votes.

Cllr Palmer has confirmed that he will stand down as the leader of East Cambridgeshire.

As mayor, Cllr Palmer will oversee the implementation of the region’s devolution deal which includes an investment fund worth up to £600m over 30 years and more control over skills and apprenticeship budgets.

One of the unique elements of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s devolution deal is a £70m pot of funding which has been ringfenced for use to build about 500 new council homes in Cambridge city over five years.

About £10m has been set aside to replace any of the homes which are subsequently sold through the right-to-buy scheme. A further £100m for affordable housing to be built across the region over five years is also included in the deal. The combined authority will be able to mix the type of tenures including affordable rented and low cost home ownership. 

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