Notts: County Council leader says devolution is a chance Nottinghamshire people ‘cannot afford to let slip through our fingers’

Coun Alan Rhodes
Coun Alan Rhodes

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Coun Alan Rhodes says Government proposals to give more devolved powers to local authorities is a chance the county simply ‘cannot afford to let slip through its fingers’.

Coun Rhodes says a deal with the Government is close to allow more devolved powers to be given the local authorities in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

And he says the benefits to areas such as Bassetlaw will be huge in terms of jobs, housing and funding for improved infrastructure across the region.

Coun Rhodes said: “Our discussions with Government over a devolution deal for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have been long and arduous, but now appear to be reaching a conclusion.

“The deal brings with it a once in a generation opportunity for local people to take back control over many of the big decisions affecting their lives.

“Why should Government bureaucrats based in London with little idea where Bassetlaw is – let alone what the big issues are for local people – continue to have so much sway over issues like public transport, housing, jobs and skills?

Coun Rhodes says the benefits to the whole of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire would include 55,000 new jobs, 77,000 extra homes, at least £900 million in investment in local infrastructure, major improvements to public transport, including an Oyster card-style ticket system and greater control to improve local bus services.

He continued: “Being part of the team that has developed the proposals and is negotiating the deal has given me an insight into how it could deliver the growth, jobs and higher wage economy we all crave.”

Coun Rhodes highlighted Bassetlaw district, where he is both a resident and a councillor, as the sort of area that would benefit from the devolution deal.

He said: “As a Worksop resident and long-serving councillor, the interests of local people are always at the forefront of my thinking.

“And I passionately believe that Bassetlaw would get more than its fair share of the benefits this deal would bring – and certainly more than if Bassetlaw were taken out of Nottinghamshire.

“The subject of health provision has formed no part of our discussions and is not included in the deal on the table, so I can reassure people that devolution can have no impact whatsoever on the future of Bassetlaw Hospital.”

The full deal document, has been published on both the County and District Councils’ websites and Coun Rhodes is urging everyone to read the documents and make up their own mind.

But he stressed that he felt this was an opportunity to take control of their own local affairs that the people of the county could not afford to pass up.

He said: “This is an opportunity that Bassetlaw and Nottinghamshire simply cannot afford to let slip through its fingers.”