Housing & devolution

Housing & devolution

Combined Authority

Here is some background on devolution in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Much of this comes from other websites and published documents. The housing board thought it would be helpful to bring these all into one easy-to-find place.

What is devolution?

Devolution is the granting of powers and funding from central government to local areas. It enables decision-making and resources to be managed locally, and involves the creation of a new Combined Authority, chaired by an elected Mayor.

Devolution is a process which has gained momentum following the Scottish independence referendum and Greater Manchester’s devolution agreement in November 2014. In May 2015, the Government announced its intention to further support the English devolution process, through the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act which became law in January 2016.

Who is involved?

  • Cambridge City Council
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Fenland District Council
  • Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Huntingdonshire District Council
  • Peterborough City Council
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council

Source: Cambridgeshire County Council page

Was there consultation?

Yes, communities and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough were asked to have their say on the proposals. The results of this consultation were debated by Councils across the area and this has been shared with Government. Around 4,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough had their say. You can find out more here – under the heading, Your views.

What was in the bid?

The proposal to form a combined authority for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, submitted to Government, included:

  • A new £20million annual fund for the next 30 years (£600million) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs.
  • £170 million for affordable housing, including £100 million for affordable, rent and shared ownership – particularly in response to housing issues in South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City. There is a proposed specific £70 million fund to meet housing needs in Cambridge which Cambridge City Council have indicated would be spent on new Council housing.
  • Supporting the delivery of the Wisbech Garden Town and the Wisbech-Cambridge rail connection.
  • Providing new homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including affordable homes in Greater Cambridge.
  • Transport infrastructure improvements such as A14/A142 junction and upgrades to the A10 and the A47 as well as Ely North Junction. Also it would support development at Wyton and St Neots.
  • Rail improvements, including a new station at Soham, (new rolling stock, improved King’s Lynn, Cambridge, London rail)
  • Investment in a Peterborough University with degree-awarding powers.
  • A local integrated job service working alongside the Department of Work and Pensions.
  • Co-designing with Government a National Work and Health Programme focused on those with a health condition or disability, as well as the long-term employed.
  • Working to integrate local health and social care resources to provide better outcomes for residents.
  • Devolved skills and apprenticeship budget – to give more opportunities to our young people.
  • Working with Government to secure a Peterborough Enterprise Zone – attracting investment from business leading to more and better quality jobs for residents.
  • Working with Government on the continued regeneration of Peterborough City Centre.

This proposal to be the first in a series of proposals which devolve more funding and powers from Government to this area.

You can find the proposal document here. The decision to submit our proposal was made in November 2016. You can find the meeting papers of Cambridgeshire’s full council meeting here.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority devolution deal on 16 March 2017. This will give Cambridgeshire and Peterborough new powers over transport, planning, skills; a £600 million investment fund over 30 years to grow the local economy and £170 million to deliver new homes. You can find the Communities and Local Government announcement on this page.

Election of a new mayor in 2021

In 2021 a new mayor was elected taking over from James Palmer. You can find out more about the new Mayor, Dr. Nik Johnson, here.

You can visit the Combined Authority website here to learn more.

What are housing partners doing?

The National Housing Federation set up and is supporting a group called Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which includes investment and community themes, to help and support the combined authority in its mission to accelerate the delivery of new homes. You can find out more about the group at their website here.

In 2020, Homes for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough merged its housing provider forum with the older Housing Provider and Enabler forum – you can find out more about that  on this page.