Councils sign up to Sheffield City Region devolution deal

Coun Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council,
Coun Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council,

Councils are deciding where their loyalties lie as plans for devolved regions gather pace.

Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Chesterfield councils have formally ratified their proposals to join the Sheffield City Region. The deals bring the authorities nearer to securing an additional £900 million of funding for the region, and more power to make decisions.

North East Derbyshire and Bolsover councils have decided to join the North Midlands region, while remaining ‘non constituent’ members of Sheffield City Region.

Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said feedback showed people wanted stronger local control on decision making.

“The deal will bring welcome investment into our borough; expanding our business parks and giving them the infrastructure they need to thrive; boosting our post-16 education and training offer helping to widen the opportunities for traineeships and apprenticeships, building skills from within the borough; supporting our residents to become homeowners by building more affordable homes; supporting our businesses to become more productive, widening their customer base making them more profitable and resilient for the future,” he said.

“Every day, I see can see the exciting progress being made on our Better Barnsley town centre regeneration.

“Our new town centre will be vibrant, full of opportunity and potential. Having access to devolved funds will help us take the project to another level, driving further investment into the town.”

Rotherham Council leader Chris Read added: “This decision is welcome. It moves us another step closer to securing all the benefits which this deal will bring to Rotherham, and is a measure of our ambition to be one of the first places in the country to be making important economic decisions for ourselves rather than depending on London.

“At its heart is the creation of more jobs and better infrastructure.

“It will allow us to build on and maximise some of our world class assets, including the Advanced Manufacturing Park, and will contribute to our growth plan target to create 10,000 new private sector jobs in Rotherham over the next ten years.”

The proposal is likely to be agreed in full this month.