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No local poll, but confirmation that any road charging proposals will come before Council

21 March 2023

Cambridgeshire County Councillors have not supported a call to hold a local referendum in May on any road charging proposal which may result from the Making Connections consultation, due to come before the Council later this summer.

In responding to a motion put by opposition leader Cllr Steve Count, public questions and a petition put before Full Council today (March 21) calling for a local poll at the same time as council elections in May, Council Leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha pointed out that the Making Connections consultation run by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership had received more than 24,000 responses, which were both lengthy and detailed.

“It would be rude and disrespectful to all of those who took time and trouble to respond, to reduce it to a single question.” she said

“Controversial decisions are complex, and we work within a representative democracy. This is not a perfect system but the advantage is that those of us who take it on and stand for election, take on the responsibility of examining complex issues in depth.

“If there are proposals brought forward as a result of the Making Connections consultation, I can confirm that they will come back to this council for debate and decision.” She confirmed.

In a wide-ranging debate on the issue, Members discussed how heated the debate around the consultation and its likely outcome has become, including physical threats, harrassment and verbal abuse being made on social media aimed at some elected Members.

“The Council has taken robust steps to report any such actions to the police as potential criminal offences, just as we would for any Councillor subjected to such vile, baseless and cowardly attacks,” Stephen Moir, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chief Executive confirmed at the end of the meeting.

The motion was lost on a majority vote, with 32 members against, 24 in favour and no abstentions.

You can see the full debate at today’s Full Council meeting, which began from 1.30pm here