A Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has claimed that its £2.4m bid for Government sustainable transport funding was turned down because the area does not have a devolution deal.
Nottingham and Derby City Councils, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils and the ‘D2N2’ LEP applied for funding from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) £20m Sustainable Travel Transition Year’ 2016/17 revenue competition.
Derby City Council is part of the North Midlands devolution bid
The DfT announced the successful bidders last month. D2N2 said its £2.4m bid was unsuccessful ‘despite the authorities and the D2N2 area’s very strong track record in sustainable transport’.
It pointed out that neighbouring areas with agreed or nearly agreed devolution deals had been awarded funding and said this ‘is just a first example of areas without devolution deals being at a disadvantage, when competing for funding and investment with those that do have a deal’.
The area has been pursuing a devolution deal – the ‘North Midlands Devolution Deal’, which would cover both counties and is backed by 13 out of 19 local authorities in the area, including Nottingham and Derby city councils, and the two county councils.
However, Chesterfield BC has said it intends to join the Sheffield City Region devolution bid, threatening to fragment Derbyshire’s highways and transport functions.
D2N2 chair Peter Richardson said: ‘Throughout our long championing of the devolution deal and the potential benefits it would bring, for businesses and communities, we and our partners said not completing a deal would put us at a disadvantage in competing with those areas which did have one.
‘There’s no pleasure in finding out our fears were correct. I have not given up hope of achieving some form of beneficial devolution deal for the D2N2 area but until we do other areas, who have signed a deal with Government, will continue to be at an advantage when applying for vital investment for their areas.’
Separately, the MJ reports that councillors in North Somerset have voted to reject the £1bn West of England devolution deal put forward by chancellor George Osborne.
Transport Network approached the DfT for comment.