Concerns raised over Metro takeover plans
Serious concerns have been expressed by the Leaders of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils over secret plans by Nottingham and Derby City Councils to expand their boundaries.
The plans to create a 'unified metropolitan area' could see large areas of both counties − Amber Valley, Ashfield, Broxtowe, Derby, Erewash, Gedling, Nottingham, Rushcliffe and South Derbyshire − swallowed up and lumped together into a huge new authority.
County Council Leaders, Councillor Barry Lewis (Derbyshire) and Councillor Kay Cutts (Nottinghamshire) were only informed about plans for the first time this week, just days before the publication of the plan − called The Economic Case for the Derby-Nottingham Metro − and following months of work behind the scenes by the cities.
Councillor Lewis said:
"This really has come as a bolt out of the blue. It's extremely disappointing that county and district councils whose residents would be affected by these proposals weren't invited to be involved in the development of the plans.
"We already work closely with city, county and district councils through the local enterprise partnership and Midlands Engine. I'm very keen that we continue to work together but taking the whole of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire into consideration.
"Residents will see through plans for a 'metro' authority for what it is − a land grab to take funding from county towns and villages to pump into the cities."
Councillor Lewis dismissed claims in the report − commissioned by the two city councils at a cost of £100,000 − that forming a Metro authority could bring £11bn to the area.
"It takes a long time to arrive at a sensible figure for what we want to achieve for regional growth and outlining numbers is just pie in the sky.
"We need to sit down as a region and look at how we can lever in more funding for the whole of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. That's the area councils were encouraged to look at by the Government when they were progressing a devolution deal and this proposal for a metro area flies in the face of that.
"At the end of the day, that's what we're here for − to serve the public by providing services, driving economic growth and creating jobs. We have a duty to get the best deal for all our residents and I'd urge the cities to sit down with ourselves and colleagues in Nottinghamshire to have a sensible discussion about how we're going to achieve that."