Derbyshire County Council has launched a legal challenge over plans by Sheffield City Region to include the Derbyshire town of Chesterfield in a new mayoral combined authority.
The county council is seeking permission from the High Court for a judicial review into Sheffield City Region Combined Authority’s statutory consultation on the issue.
Sheffield in South Yorkshire
It said the combined authority ‘ignored its calls to withdraw the consultation amid fundamental concerns that it was misleading and flawed’.
Last month Transport Network revealed that Derbyshire had sent a letter before claim to the combined authority – a warning that it intended to take legal action.
Chesterfield Borough Council intends to join what will next year become a mayoral combined authority for the Sheffield City Region, with which it does not share a border.
This would transfer to the new authority responsibility for services in the town that currently fall within the remit of the county council, such as roads and public transport, as well as major planning and investment projects.
Councillor Anne Western, leader of Derbyshire CC, said: ‘If these proposals go ahead, it will affect the people of Chesterfield and Derbyshire for generations to come and yet the consultation doesn’t tell the full story or ask the right questions – so how can people give an informed view?
‘We don’t believe the proposals are in the best interests of anyone living in Derbyshire – least of all people living in Chesterfield.
‘The county council has a responsibility to act in the best interests of all its residents and we could not sit idly by and watch South Yorkshire break up Derbyshire without a proper consultation.’
Earlier this month, Transport Network reported that the combined authority had responded to Derbyshire’s letter before claim. Although neither party disclosed the response, the combined authority continued its consultation, which closes on Friday (12 August).
Derbyshire said that if a judicial review goes ahead, it will ask for the consultation ‘to be quashed because it is insufficient and therefore unlawful’.
The county council launched its own online poll asking whether people wanted Chesterfield to become a full member of a mayoral combined authority for Sheffield City Region. It said around 4,000 people voted and 92% said ‘no’.
Transport Network approached Sheffield City Region for comment.