STRATFORD District Council has decided not to become a non-constituent member of the West Midlands Combined Authority after a full council meeting on Monday (October 12).
It comes after Redditch borough council voted in favour of joining the new ‘Midlands powerhouse’ project last Thursday (October 8) in what councillors described as ‘an opportunity too good to miss’.
It means that while Redditch will push ahead with joining the WMCA as a non-constituent member neighbours in both Bromsgrove and Stratford have voted against, joining Warwickshire and Worcestershire county councils in rejecting the invitation.
Councillor Chris Saint, Leader of Stratford District Council said: “The district council feels that the risks from the West Midlands Combined Authority outweigh the benefits of becoming a non-constituent member and its future within the Government’s devolution programme lies in developing the synergies between itself and neighbouring councils in shire areas.
“As such the district council has declined the invitation to become a non-constituent member of the West Midlands Combined Authority and will pursue alternative options, should any materialise.”
His view echoes many made by Conservative councillors at the Redditch’s full council meeting as they lined up to express fears that Redditch could be at the whim of the larger metropolitan authorities of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
“I am worried that we would be a small fish in a big pond,” said Coun Michael Chalk (Con, Abbey) “and we do not have the information available to make an informed decision.”
However Coun Greg Chance (Lab, Central) told Conservatives they lacked any belief in their own government’s project.
“It’s the only game in town and I do not think that Worcestershire will come along with a magic wand and solve all our problems.”