Hartlepool folk urged to have their say on combined authority

BACKING: Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council
BACKING: Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council

A COUNCIL leader has encouraged people to have their say on proposals to create a combined local authority to help boost economic growth in the Tees 
Valley.

Consultation began yesterday on proposals by Tees Valley’s five local councils to establish a new body.

The process will involve engaging with residents, partner organisations, the Tees Valley business community and representative bodies.

Details will be available on TVU and all five councils’ websites through which business leaders and residents can make their views known.

The consultation period will last until January 31, after which, subject to the consultation, the scheme will be submitted formally to Government for approval.

The plan would see the councils continuing to exist in their own right delivering local services but unite as a formal Tees Valley Combined Authority when focusing on economic development, transport, infrastructure and skills.

The new body could also unlock devolved powers and resources from Government.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “A Combined Authority would provide an opportunity to build on the excellent working arrangements that already exist between the five Tees Valley councils and 
businesses.

“All the feedback we receive from the consultation exercise will be considered before any final submission to Government.”

Sandy Anderson, Chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Tees Valley, said: “A Combined Authority would give the area greater autonomy over its destiny in several key areas and give it the ability to base decisions on local priorities and needs.

“It is important that business and residents are involved in the process to establish a Combined Authority as their support will be crucial to its success.”

Unlike most combined authorities, a Tees Valley Combined Authority would hold joint meetings with the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and its business representatives, while also sharing staff and resources.

The emphasis would be on even stronger partnership working between public and private sectors with the aim of creating a seamless approach to building a stronger Tees Valley.

If successful the Combined Authority would be expected to come into operation in autumn or winter of 2015.

To comment on the proposal visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/TeesValleyCombinedAuthorityConsultation