What’s the point of the County Council?

eastwestlogoWell there’s a fairly obvious answer. It builds schools, it maintains roads, it runs libraries  and it looks after older people who need a little extra help. And it does other stuff too.

It also represents Cambridgeshire and fights our corner. Or it should do but sometimes you think it doesn’t always get this right and this is what happened at the Environment & Economy Committee this week.

I’m not a member of this committee but I was subbing and item 5 on the agenda was East West Rail Company Consultation on Route Options between Bedford and Cambridge. Click here for a link to the paper and note how heavy it is on the relative economics of the alternatives offered.

The consultation is now closed but click here to for more information about it. Note that there’s nothing in the consultation document about the costs of the different options. So why would CCC in its response major on the economics?

For me that means that the Council totally missed the point of the consultation. The paper read like a report to the East West Rail Company board. It did not read like a response to the consultation which should have highlighted the pros and cons of the different routes on the economy and well-being of Cambridgeshire.

The proposed response did not ‘stick up for Cambridgeshire’. It did not consider which routes would contribute most to the Cambridge economy, it did not consider how any new route could work alongside the existing and major roads (including the Oxford to Cambridge expressway), and it did not consider which route would add value to other major conurbations in Cambridgeshire like St Neots and Cambourne.

It’s not CCC’s job in such a consultation to argue the economic case. That’s for east West Rail. CCC should make the case for the best route for Cambridgeshire and it failed to do that.

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