Derbyshire Dales leader criticises secrecy of ‘super authority’ plans

Councillor Lewis Rose has said he will fight any attempt to remodel the current structure of local government in the region which would weaken powers at district level.
Councillor Lewis Rose has said he will fight any attempt to remodel the current structure of local government in the region which would weaken powers at district level.

The leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council has called for more transparency from larger authorities in talks over forming a new East Midlands ‘super authority’.

Councillor Lewis Rose told colleagues at the council’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 24, that he had not been informed about the meeting between leaders of seven local authorities where the plan was discussed.

Representatives from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire county councils and the unitary authorities of Derby, Nottingham and Leicester are considering the formation of a new organisation which could take on many governmental powers across the region.

Pledging to fight any moves to reorganise the current tiered structure of local government, Coun Rose said: “We will need to form a view on this matter if and when we are asked to do so.

“At the moment the counties and unitaries are keeping the discussions to themselves and will let us know in due course how they are getting on. I have made it clear, and will continue to make it clear, that this is not good enough.”

He added: “I have also said in principle we will look at any proposal which brings more power and money to the area in a constructive way, provided that no reorganisation is involved and the districts are fully engaged in the process.”

Pointing out that Derbyshire Dales had been one of the few districts to support the failed Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire devolution plan, Coun Rose said any proposed reorganisation for a county as large as Derbyshire must be strongly resisted.

He said: “The thought that we could end up with a unitary county with or without Derby City is ridiculous - but it is one we have to take seriously.

“You can be assured that I have not taken this lying down, and have made it clear that this is a very unhelpful and counter-productive way to proceed.”

There was also an update on the council’s associate membership of the Sheffield City Region, which prompted another goal to improve relations with the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

Coun Rose said: “There is currently a review of LEP boundaries being undertaken by the government and the Derbyshire districts have only one representative on D2N2 and this lack of adequate representation is still a sore point.”