How to get your voice heard on the Greater Cambridge City Deal


Since Thursday’s GCCD Assembly meeting I have been contacted by quite a few people who are very frustrated by how difficult it is to get your voice heard by the Assembly and the Board. 

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Bridget Smith
Liberal Democrat Leader – South Cambridgeshire District Council

 

I share your frustrations.  Even when it is possible to get something accepted by the Assembly (and that is a pretty up hill struggle) there is no guarantee what so ever that it will be accepted by the Board.  My experience so far has been that the Board rejects most recommendations from the Assembly which were not part of the original proposals. The 2 important exceptions have been the Call for Evidence and the Design Guide.

Scroll below to read my advice



Write to the Cambridge News

All elected members and probably most officers read the letters page everyday. It is an excellent means for us of assessing public feeling and of identifying causes which may win public support as well as a great way for you to recruit support for your cause.


Hold a rally or demonstration 

This is a sure fire way to get your cause on the local TV or radio and in the newspaper.  Do remember to invite Assembly and Board members to join you - elected representatives love a photo opportunity. You can demonstrate either at the place you are concerned about or where the meeting is being held.


Write individually to Board and Assembly members

The good ones will always reply and then you have established a communication channel. 


Lobby your elected members including your MP

If they are worth their salt these people will then lobby their colleagues on the Assembly and Board on your behalf.  If they do not - you might reconsider who to vote for next time.


Join a pressure group or political group

The good ones carry weight as they have established a reputation and often have good media presences.


Prepare a petition

Very easy to do on line these days and to promote through social media. Also a good way to grab the media’s attention. Deliver it en masse in a blaze of publicity.


Ask an Assembly member to put a question on your behalf

This will then allow the issue to be debated by members rather than just answered by officers.


Submit an FOI

If you do not think that you are being told the truth about an issue then an FOI will get you all the information held on it by the council.


Attend the proposed Liaison Forums

Stakeholders are being invited to attend these by the local members but we were told that they were public meetings so anyone can go.


Submit questions to your Neighbourhood or Parish Meeting

Aim to have your concerns taken forward by the elected members.


Invite the press

Call a Public Meeting on one specific issue and invite Assembly and Board Members and your local elected members to attend. Arrange a walk or cycle around a controversial area to highlight your concerns. Invite Assembly and Board members and elected representatives to attend. Also the press.


Become a member of the Assembly or the Board

Not such a stupid idea when you realise that we have County Council elections next year and City and District the year after.  If you do not want to stand for election yourself and you do not think the current incumbent is representing your priorities well enough then find someone who will and help promote them.


Submit Questions to the Board and The Assembly

Keep on submitting questions but keep them short and to the point.


The Greater Cambridge City Deal has funding of up to £500m from Central Government for the vital infrastructure improvements needed to support sustainable economic growth. The first £100m will be made available over five years up to 2020, with more funds available from April 2020 onwards, if the deal can prove success in driving economic growth. This is public money and that is exactly why you're input is so important.

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