Welsh councils plan partnership deal with English counterparts
Two Welsh councils are set to confirm a partnership agreement with neighbouring English local authorities.
The proposed Marches Forward Partnership will see Powys work with Monmouthshire County Council, Shropshire County Council and Herefordshire County Council.
The deal will see them join forces to apply for government for major projects that will benefit their collective region.
Each authority will retain its own identity and independence, but they will work together, as partners, where a mutual benefit is identified.
Areas of cross border shared interests are likely to include transport, skills and housing alongside energy, climate change and digital connectivity.
The councils, which have a combined population of 735,000, anticipate that the planned collaboration will increase overall government investment both sides of the border.
Powys County Council Leader, Cllr James Gibson-Watt said: “There is great potential if we can agree to work alongside colleagues in Monmouthshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire Councils.
“It reflects the geography of the area and at the same time acknowledges some of the commonalities between us. There has always been cross border support for one another, so this proposed partnership is a natural progression and fits comfortably with the priorities in our Corporate Improvement and Equalities Plan – Stronger Fairer Greener.
“We are already talking to government about what benefits our collaboration will bring and it is enthusiastic about the potential for the wider region.
“We are looking to sign up to an agreement that will confirm functional arrangements between the four councils in October. However, there is no cost implication or anything stopping us from working with other authorities and partners at any point now or in the future.
“It’s exciting and indeed groundbreaking for neighbouring authorities in Wales and England to be working together in this way. There are naturally strong ties between our nations, and this gives us an opportunity to build on our shared heritage and look ahead to the future.
“We hope we can break down the artificial cross border barriers that exist and together take control of some of the big issues that are important to so many people.”
Monmouthshire County Council’s leader, Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby said: “As neighbouring local authorities, we are bound together by a common purpose based on our rurality.
“We know there are significant flows of people between the Mid-Wales/English border in all areas, including healthcare, education, skill development, jobs and service provision.
“We look forward to being part of the Marches Forward Partnership.”
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