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West Suffolk: Forest Heath leader James Waters joins the board of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP

06:00 11 August 2014

James Waters

James Waters

Ian Hulland

West Suffolk has a voice around one of the region’s top economic tables after a council boss was elected to an influential board.

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James Waters, who is the leader of Forest Heath District Council, is one of three new board members for the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough (GCGP) Local Enterprise Partnership.

The LEPs are responsible for setting regional economic plans and bidding for large sums of public money to make them a reality, with west Suffolk fortunate to be covered by both the GCGP and New Anglia LEPs.

Mr Waters, who is also a county councillor for Mildenhall, said: “I look at opportunities with a fresh eye and like every councillor, I want the best for the communities I serve.

“There are two thriving cities at the heart of the tremendous economic success of the diverse area covered by GCGP. I believe Cambridge and Peterborough need our more rural areas as much as we need them.

“It is our surrounding districts that provide the housing and quality of life for the city workforces, for example.”

Mr Waters was elected along with Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count, while businessman David Gill has also joined the board.

GCGP has been particularly influential in projects around Newmarket and Haverhill, looking to boost road and rail links between the two towns and Cambridge.

Mr Waters’s election, however, meant no place on the 14-member board for Cambridge City Council, with the region’s economic powerhouse instead represented by county and regional councils.

Cambridge City Council’s leader, Lewis Herbert, said: “It is a strategic error by a number of nearby councils in our sub-region to leave Cambridge and Greater Cambridge councils unrepresented on the LEP board.

“This will not dim, however, our determination and contributions to ensure successful growth across the whole area, building on the growth engine that Cambridge provides.”

GCGP’s board is made-up of a business chairman, six additional business board members, five local authority members, one education representative and one voluntary and social enterprise representative.

LEP chairman Mark Reeve said: “We are pleased to welcome David, James and Steve to our board.

“It is an exciting time in the development of our LEP, having recently secured an additional £21.1million for the local area to spend next year and plans under way to bid for further funding to ensure our area’s future economic growth. By welcoming three new board members, we will be adding a new dimension to our board.”

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