Bassetlaw District Council has become the second lower-tier council to back away from participation in the Sheffield city region’s devolution bid.
The move comes after Chesterfield Borough Council pulled its bid to join following concerted opposition from Derbyshire County Council, which had threatened to hold a referendum.
Bassetlaw had also faced opposition from its county council, Nottinghamshire.
Chesterfield in Derbyshire
The leader of Bassetlaw, Cllr Simon Greaves, said devolution was now an ‘opportunity missed for all of local government’ with the policy ‘extinguished’.
He said: ‘Devolution was a flagship government policy, with the support of the prime minister and the patronage of the chancellor and the Treasury.
‘However, following the change of prime minister, chancellor and secretary of state for the Department for Communities and Local Government last year, government priorities changed due to the outcome of the referendum.
‘We now have a government in disarray, a real coalition of chaos, a delayed Queen’s Speech and very difficult Brexit negotiations they need to crack on with.
‘If policies like devolution were on the backburner before, they’ll be pretty much extinguished now.’
Cllr Greaves also expressed his frustration that a new Sheffield city region mayor would be given ‘London-style planning powers’, that money raised from business rates in Bassetlaw could be used to fund ‘unitary service pressures’ elsewhere and Nottinghamshire CC would be given a vote on the combined authority.
He continued: ‘We are not London and one of our key democratic functions in Bassetlaw is that local councillors are accountable to their communities for the planning decisions they make.
‘The city region deal is no longer in the best interests of Bassetlaw and therefore I have asked the chief executive to prepare a report for cabinet that will enable the council to formally withdraw its application for full constituent membership of the Sheffield city region.
‘We have ambitious plans for the growth of the local economy and I wait to see if the county council and D2N2 match our level of ambition or will the focus continue to be on Derby and Nottingham.’
This article first appeared on themj.co.uk.