DEVOLUTION: Anne Western decries ‘creeping takeover’ of Derbyshire services

Derbyshire County Council leader Anne Western.
Derbyshire County Council leader Anne Western.
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A council leader has said that a plan put forward by the Sheffield City Region amounts to a ‘creeping takeover’ of services in Derbyshire.

Councillor Anne Western, leader of Derbyshire County Council, was reacting to a recent report which said the councils within the body’s remit would benefit from a £28bn ‘masterplan’.

Chesterfield Borough Council leader, John Burrows.

Chesterfield Borough Council leader, John Burrows.

In a letter to the Derbyshire Times, she says that not only is the figure misleading, the plan makes clear that the Sheffield City Region hopes to ‘lay claim’ to much more of Derbyshire than people realise.

She said: “You could be forgiven for thinking that this means that Sheffield City Region has actually got £28 billion to spend. It has not. In reality it has got the offer of £30 million per year.

“The figure brings together all the infrastructure requirements – roads, public transport, housing, regeneration projects - across South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire into a big shopping list that would cost £28 billion to deliver.”

But as well as questioning the headline figures, Coun Western also said that the report ‘revealed’ the true extent of the body’s ambitions in Derbyshire.

Chesterfield Town Hall.

Chesterfield Town Hall.

“The plan extends well beyond Chesterfield,” she said.

“It lays claim to Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire even though each of these local councils – unlike Chesterfield – took the decision not to be governed by a Sheffield City Region Mayor.

“So now, in their view of the world, Matlock and even Ashbourne are a full part of the SCR empire.

“Secondly, it reveals their intention to take over more and more of the services run by Derbyshire, the latest being waste management and flood alleviation.

County Hall, Matlock.

County Hall, Matlock.

“It is well known that Sheffield needs more waste disposal sites. I’ll let you draw the obvious conclusion about where they might look.

“If the price tag for all this is £28 billion with only £30 million per year available, and if as the plan makes very clear, the city of Sheffield will be the main beneficiary, what chance of Chesterfield getting anything other than a few crumbs from the table?”

Coun Western’s intervention coincided with a case being held at the High Court over whether the consultation carried out by the Sheffield City Region can be quashed.

A spokesperson from Chesterfield Borough Council said that while they strongly disagreed with Coun Western, to comment on it at this stage would be ‘inappropriate’.