'Fresh resolve' for deal after devolution talks
The leader of Derbyshire County Council has told of her hope for devolution even after six districts opt out of the scheme.
Both Derbyshire County Council and Nottinghamshire County Council have released statements following the meetings, confirming both are confident the deal still stands in good stead, but there is yet to be an announcement on whether an elected mayor will still be possible.
A source at Nottinghamshire County Council tells us that Chesterfield Borough Council has confirmed it's preference to take part in the Sheffield City Region bid,
Labour councillor Anne Western said she came away from today's meeting feeling that councils found 'fresh resolve' in the course of delivering a North Midlands combined authority.
"We have worked well together over the past 12 months and we have come a long way in the ambition to get the North Midlands to be a player on the national stage.
"Clearly the situation may have changed but we remain convinced that this is an opportunity we can't afford to miss for the sake of our residents and local business.
"Now is the time for strong leadership - we remain committed that we want to move forward.
"We have 13 authorities that are keen to progress with a deal that benefits residents and we need to talk to Government about what that could be.
"We leave this meeting with fresh resolve to move forward in a united way to build a stronger economy across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "Now is the time for strong leadership - we remain committed that we want to move forward.
"We have 13 authorities that are keen to progress with a deal that benefits residents and we need to talk to the Government about what that could be."
In Chesterfield, joining a similar Sheffield devolution scheme would mean the district is still in the county of Derbyshire, but some key services in Derbyshire's largest town would no longer be provided by DCC.
Public transport, travel concessions (Gold Card), major planning and investment projects, and the maintenance and management of key roads in Chesterfield would all be provided by Sheffield City Region led by an elected South Yorkshire mayor. A portion of council taxes would go to Sheffield rather than Derbyshire as would responsibility for some key transport links. Derbyshire County Council has described this as 'uncharted territory'.
The council says benefits of joining the North Midlands deal would be:
- 55,000 new private sector jobs delivered more quickly across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
- Plans to build 77,000 extra homes to include affordable and social housing.
- Planning permission for the 47,000 homes already granted would be delivered faster.
- A better co-ordinated public transport system with 'Oyster' style smart ticketing that will help make sure communities are connected to jobs and training.
- More apprenticeship opportunities
- A joint fund to spend on improving transport.
- A multi-million pound investment fund to support regeneration and build new infrastructure such as roads and bridges for the next 30 years.