Bassetlaw is one step closer to joining the Sheffield city region after more than 70 per cent of residents who took part in a consultation gave the controversial devolution deal their backing.
Bassetlaw District Council members this week voted to accept the results of the consultation, which received 502 responses from people living in the district, by a margin of 27 to 13.
Now the results have been forwarded to central Government, the decision lies in the hands of Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
Councillor Simon Greaves, council leader, welcomed the consultation findings, saying a move to join the combined authority would boost the district’s economy.
Mr Greaves said: “I am delighted the Sheffield city region combined authority has decided to submit the consultation results to Government and is supporting our application for full membership.
“I have said all along that this is about boosting Bassetlaw’s economy. It’s about taking advantage of a £1.3 billion devolution deal and it’s about greater skills and employment opportunities for our residents.”
“This is not about Bassetlaw leaving Nottinghamshire or giving up our services.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners at Nottinghamshire County Council to ensure the best possible outcomes across the whole of the district.”
But Nottinghamshire County Council chiefs have criticised the devolution plans, voicing concerns that any changes implemented as part of the move “could prove costly”.
Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Alan Rhodes, said: “We believe it will have a major impact on county council-run services in the area, particularly public transport services.
“These changes could prove costly, difficult to implement and in our opinion are unlikely to lead to improvements.
“We also have concerns about the way in which the consultation on the issues was carried out.
“These concerns have been set out in detail in our feedback on the consultation, which is freely available on our website.
“However, we have always said we are committed to a continuing partnership with the Sheffield city egion combined authority, whatever the outcome of the consultation.
“We know ongoing joint working is important to ensure the best outcomes for Bassetlaw’s people, businesses and economy.”
Bassetlaw MP John Mann had demonstrated his support for the move.
In March, the Labour MP conducted a survey of his own, asking 1,500 residents in the district if they were for or against a move towards the devolution deal.
The MP said 72 per cent of Bassetlaw people were in favour of joining the combined authority.
Mr Mann said: “I believe our future lies with of the Sheffield city region authority as it is to Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield we turn for work, sport and shopping, not Nottingham or Derby.
“Our hospitals are linked to South Yorkshire and our major rail and road links are to the north, not to Nottingham or Derby.
“Not only this, but we would also be able to link in with Sheffield’s universities and colleges for skills training and also to South Yorkshire’s industry and employment base.”
The findings of Bassetlaw District Council’s consultation show that:
79% (399 out of 502 responses) supported the principle of more decision-making powers being transferred from the government in Westminster to groups of local councils (on issues such as economic development, skills, transport, housing and infrastructure planning)
77% (387 out of 502 responses) agreed that a directly-elected Sheffield City Region Mayor should be obliged to work with locally-elected Council Leaders on decisions relating to the local economy, skills, transport, housing and infrastructure planning.
80% (403 out of 502 responses) agreed that local authorities should work together formally where there are strong economic links with neighbouring areas.
81% (408 out of 502 responses) agreed that people living in the areas listed (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield.) should be given a vote as to who the Sheffield City Region Mayor should be.
The full set of results for Bassetlaw and across the Sheffield City Region is available online at the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority website.