Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayoral Hustings 2017

Palmer The Favourite In Mayoral Hustings Straw Poll As Housing Delivery Dominates Debate 

Over 100 people from Cambridgeshire’s property and construction industry attended the first of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayoral Hustings on Friday, 17 March, hosted by Carter Jonas, the national property consultancy, eastern region developer, Turnstone Estates and communications and PR firm, Belgrave Communications.

Taking place at Cambridge Rugby Club at Volac Park, the breakfast event included opening remarks from five of the front-running candidates, as well as a discussion and question and answer session before inviting the audience to cast their vote. Participating in the lively debate were Cllr Paul Bullen (UKIP), Cllr Rod Cantrill (Liberal Democrats), Peter Dawe (Independent), Cllr James Palmer (Conservative) and Cllr Kevin Price (Labour).

Based on current projections, Cambridgeshire’s population is due to increase from 627,000 in 2012 to 800,000 in 2036. This presents the region with a significant number of challenges but also with a number of opportunities. In a fast-paced discussion, candidates addressed the population swell and detailed how they would hope to relieve spatial planning issues affecting Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as well as concerns around housing, economy and transport in the region.

In a straw poll of the audience taken on the day, when asked which public transport initiatives were the best to follow, the audience did not seem to support Bus initiatives with an overwhelming majority voting in favour of Heavy Rail initiatives. Light Rail received some support.

On spatial planning initiatives only 15 per cent of those in the room thought that dispersing some of the growth that would naturally want to be in Cambridge or in close proximity to it, to the north and east of the County was an option worth pursuing.

At the end of the event, the audience cast their votes for favourite candidate using the slightly more official method of voting papers and ballot boxes. Conservative candidate, Cllr James Palmer, received 59 per cent of the vote emerging as the clear favourite with those in the room.

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