Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have proposed a joint combined authority with an elected mayor as part of the area’s devolution negotiations with government, it has emerged.
The 19 local authorities in the area are considering clubbing together to create an East Midlands combined authority that could hold new powers over transport infrastructure projects, skills and housing matters.
The new body could be created as early as 2016, with powers devolved in 2017 at the earliest.
Speaking to Transport Network, Cllr Neil Clarke MBE, leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council, said that following a meeting on 19 October with government, the councils had been told to provide more details within the next fortnight on the plans.
‘They have given us the indication that we would need an elected mayor for the joint combined authority, he said, adding that there could be new governance structures operating underneath the mayor as well such as leadership boards.
He also suggested Leicestershire could be involved under a partnership arrangement, if they were not part of the combined authority itself. Under the proposals all the 19 councils would still exist and would work with the region’s mayor and D2NS Local Enterprise Partnership.
Cllr Clarke said: ‘ Devolution is a buying club. It is far better for everyone to club together and increase purchasing power so we can bid for better funding with collaborative bids.’
Cllr Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said: ‘We are closing in on an agreement which satisfies the Government’s requirements for devolution but, most importantly, a deal which will bring massive benefits to the people of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
‘We have reassured Ministers that whilst the bid currently relates to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, our door is always open if other areas within the 'Midlands Engine' would like to join our devolution deal.’