September 28th, 2016

‘Super city’ proposal for Redditch

‘Super city’ proposal for Redditch ‘Super city’ proposal for Redditch
Updated: 10:00 am, Jun 05, 2015

REDDITCH could become part of a greater Birmingham city region under plans being put forward by Jerry Blackett, the chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

The ‘super city state’ would also include the Black Country, Coventry and Solihull as well as Bromsgrove and would be run by an elected ‘Metro Mayor’.

Redditch and Bromsgrove are already members of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and the proposal would follow the model of the ‘northern powerhouse’ announced in the Queen’s Speech last week, which, centred on Manchester, would see local authorities run as a single combined authority.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said those city regions that opted for it would have greater powers over housing, transport, planning and policing.

“Looking forward, there is probably only room for maybe 100 truly global cities. Maybe only 50? That’s why we are increasingly talking about a Greater Birmingham,” said Mr Blackett.

“I think it is essential that the districts that are members of the GBSLEP are also invited to be part of a wider combined authority. The north-south corridors into and out of Birmingham are vital components of our impressive local economy.”

However the idea has been met with caution by local leaders, whose authorities risk losing their independence under the plans.

Councillor Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Borough Council said there had already been informal discussions on the issue but that no invitation to join had been issued yet.

“It will need careful consideration; we have already saved millions on the shared services journey we have been on with Bromsgrove and hopefully we have delivered a better service,” he said.

“Clearly we need to keep our identity, there is a great sense of community in Redditch and we would not want to lose it. I want what is best for Redditch.”

His opposite number in Bromsgrove, Coun Margaret Sherry warned that bigger was not always better: “I think we have got to wait and see what is on offer and also consider what would be best for our residents.

“However I do not agree with Metro Mayors. It’s another layer of bureaucracy and another cost to the public. It all needs a lot more thought before a decision can be made.”

* What do you think? Email or write to Redditch & Alcester Standard, Webb House, Church Green West, Redditch, B98 8BP.