Devolution crisis meeting

Chesterfields future is unclear
Chesterfields future is unclear
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City Region bosses staged an emergency meeting to hammer out plans to save the £900m devolution deal.

The event was scheduled for January 30 but was brought forward because time is so tight.

Council leaders have four months to re-run part of a consultation ruled unlawful ahead of public elections for a city region mayor on May 4.

It comes after Derbyshire County Council objected to Chesterfield’s application to become a full member of Sheffield City Region - and benefit from devolved powers and £900m of funding.

It lodged a judicial review and in December a judge ruled consultation on the move had been ‘misleading’.

Now, to keep the devolution timetable on track, it will need to be re-run, and approved by Government. Only then can local leaders sign off the mayor’s powers and territory. And only then can public elections be held as planned.

It is unclear whether the date of the elections, which is set by Parliamentary Order, can be moved without a new one.

If the region misses the deadline it might have to wait until the next wave of mayoral elections - set by former Chancellor George Osborne - in 2020.

Meanwhile, It is understood the first slice of devolution cash - some £30m - is still set to be paid out on April 1.

Following the court ruling, Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of Sheffield City Region, said: “Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership is focused on building a better connected, strong and successful economy.

“It has worked hard to build partnerships and has a strong business culture. In our experience it is when everyone is pulling together that we are at our most successful.

“Businesses and communities across the city region work closely together and this has been a key factor in our success. Chesterfield is an important part of our plans to make Sheffield City Region an internationally competitive centre of business excellence.”