An alliance involving Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) has been set up in a bid to boost economic prospects for the area.
In the first tri-county council alliance of its type, the leaders of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire – Ian Hudspeth, Martin Tett and Jim Harker– jointly signed an offer pushing the Government to unlock further economic growth and build on the £45 billion the area already generates for the economy.
In the offer, called ‘A shared approach to driving prosperity’, the councils call on the Government to work with them to develop a new combined authority focused on their common economies of innovation, science, technology and creative industries.
Building on the established relationships between the three county-based local economic partnerships, the alliance is asking Government to allow joint new plans to be developed for transport, spatial planning and other key infrastructure and to devolve employment and skills funding so employers’ needs can be properly met locally. It will ask for support of a devolved approach to the local trunk road network, gives incentives to encourage economic growth, enhanced powers over bus services and maximise public transport between key towns and cities.
The alliance is also asking for legislation to deliver a new and more flexible governance structure tailored to suit such a bold arrangement.
Leaders of all three authorities said they were proud to be spearheading the revolutionary alliance and to develop economic growth.
NCC leader Cllr Harker said: “This unique alliance presents us with a golden opportunity to drive forward economic growth across our three counties by using our combined strengths.
“Northamptonshire stands at the crossroads of so much of the country’s infrastructure, whether that’s the strategic road network, the rail network or other passenger transport links.
“This cross-county alliance presents a unique opportunity for us to get more decision making powers to unlock the potential of this infrastructure for the wider area and vastly improve our connectivity to the north, south and west.”