James Palmer has announced his candidacy of the new role of mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and says he hopes the new devolved authority will give “more power to those who understand the needs of the area”.

Mr Palmer is currently the leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council and will stand as a Conservative candidate in the election due to be held next April.

"Cambridgeshire is my home. I have lived and worked here all my life. I think that is not just invaluable for truly understanding the needs of this area, but imperative. I have a deep understanding of the people and the local economy. A lack of investment over many years by many governments has lead to people begrudgingly accepting poor road and rail links and in some parts of the region, a lack of affordable housing. That isn't good enough," he said.

Councillor Palmer said he had been "hugely frustrated by the length of time it is taking to build the Ely Southern Bypass and re-open Soham Railway Station".

"I know other local councils share this dissatisfaction with projects they have embarked upon. I truly believe devolution - giving more power to a local team who absolutely understand the pressing needs of a fast-growing and dynamic area - will speed up such vital projects."

Cllr Palmer has said if he is successful, he intends to concentrate fully on the role of mayor and would relinquish his leadership role at East Cambridgeshire District Council and his position as county councillor.

Cllr Palmer is 47 and lives in Soham with his wife, Alison. He has two children, Emily, 19, who is at university in London and Max, 18, who is a student at Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge.