John Holdich on devolution for Peterborough


07:23 Thursday 17th March 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: John Holdich is the Leader of Peterborough City Council. Morning John.
JOHN HOLDICH: Good morning Dotty.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Now George Osborne, he clearly thinks that having some kind of Eastern Powerhouse, some kind of East Anglian regional assembly or something, would benefit him and the economy. Do you think it would benefit Peterborough?
JOHN HOLDICH: Oh I think .. I wouldn’t .. I was encouraged to stay in the process by all the leaders of Peterborough City Council, because there are great opportunities in this for Peterborough. There’s a double-devolution offer which allows us to talk to other people. It’s just not a closed door. There’s more money for housing. And as you say the great win for Peterborough is there’s money in the pot for a university. They’ve pledged to create one. There’s money in the pot for our city generation. It’s also pledges to look at future enterprise zones in Peterborough. The transport infrastructure deal which comes down locally might not affect Peterborough directly but it affects the regions therefore it affects the economy of the whole of Cambridgeshire.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Let’s just talk a little bit about the kind of money that might be on offer. Because I was talking to Lewis Herbert yesterday from Cambridge City Council, who aren’t keen on the deal that’s being offered at all. He says that, you know, £30 million a year, when you spread it across the whole of the Eastern Region, it’s actually not a very large amount of money.
JOHN HOLDICH: Well £30 million extra Dotty and in .. and in it, and I understand Cambridge’s view on it because I’ve been in the room when we’ve been debating it, there’s £175 milliuon extra for housing, of which 15% will be rented, and that’s the best deal of any devolution deal yet. But I understand Cambridgeshire’s because they have their own housing revenue account, and they were arguing to keep the right to buy money. And that is just true it’s not in there. But there is a good housing offer in there.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So how many new houses do you think you could build in Peterborough as a result of devolution?
JOHN HOLDICH: Well it’s a question of £175 million extra. It’s sitting down and actually working that out. I think it’s not just the Government money you attract to that, it’s housing association money and Council money. It’s also in the deal as a whole, as a all the different land areas from bail? hospitals and City Council all go into a pot, and you sort .. sort .. sort it all out.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Part of the reason that we’re talking about big numbers like £175 million, I mean oh, it’s huge, how impressive, but that will be spread between more people, because it will be regional, it’ll be between what is currently four different local authorities. So when it boils down to it, I’m just wondering whether Peterborough is really going to get bang for its buck in this.
JOHN HOLDICH: Ah well. You know. Peterborough always I think bats above its weight. We will .. We certainly will. We’re up for growth, and this definitely encourages growth, where other areas aren’t. But one .. you know .. Dotty whether it’s (unclear) yet ot not, Manchester is on its fourth iteration of its deal. This is a starter for ten. It gives us an opportunity to put this out to the public and see what they think. And indeed we have to have a Council meeting before 10th June to sort of take in say if we want to go to the next stage. Because this isn’t the final document.
DOTTY MCLEOD: OK John. Thank you very much. John Holdich there, who is the Leader of Peterborough City Council.