LETTER: Combined authority gives us a better chance to fight our corner

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I am responding to the letter written by the Independent Group from Ashfield District Council. They are mistaken with the assumptions they make relating to Combined Authorities (CA).

All the major political parties have clearly stated that to access funding for regeneration, transport and economic development has to be taken through an area based approach with that area being of sufficient size to influence major developments and investment.

MORE ON THIS STORY: Have your say on plans for combined authority

At present, Nottinghamshire’s case is co-ordinated through the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) commonly known as D2N2. District councils have lost out with this approach, as there is not enough representation on the D2N2 board, I feel. With a CA, it is one member one vote, and therefore we have a better chance of fighting our corner to ensure that businesses and important infrastructure projects are funded centrally to merit the future of Ashfield as a whole. The Nottinghamshire Economic Prosperity Committee’s meetings are public, and all the minutes and agendas are published on the web page by the administering authority, Nottingham City Council.

There is a constitution agreed with all Nottinghamshire authorities, again with one authority one vote. The business of the committee is not therefore, as the letter states, “shrouded in secrecy”. The ‘northern powerhouse’ authorities, including Manchester, have already agreed to pursue this route, and we in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have the opportunity to submit a proposal to Government in an effort to ensure our communities get the benefit from central funding, hopefully from late autumn of this year.

To delay this submission would not be advantageous to any area of the county.

According to the DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government) the decision to take the proposal further is an executive function of the council. However, in the interests of democracy, I believe that this matter should be debated at a full council meeting where all elected members representing Ashfield District Council have the right to a make their choice – one member, one vote.

Cllr Chris Baron

Leader of Ashfield District Council.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Would joining together give the area more clout - or just be an extra layer of costly government? To email your views CLICK HERE