DEVOLUTION: Derbyshire County Council mounts legal challenge over Sheffield deal

Chesterfield Town Hall.
Chesterfield Town Hall.

Derbyshire County Council is to challenge Chesterfield Borough Council’s decision to join the Sheffield City Region in the courts.

The county council is to seek permission from the High Court for a judicial review into a public consultation about the proposals which would see Chesterfield join a combined authority of eight other councils across Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

The county council asked Sheffield City Region to withdraw the consultation after expressing ‘fundamental concerns’ that it was ‘misleading and flawed’ but now say their concerns have been ‘ignored’.

The leader of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Anne Western, said: “If these proposals go ahead, it will affect the people of Chesterfield and Derbyshire for generations to come and yet the consultation doesn’t tell the full story or ask the right questions – so how can people give an informed view?

“We don’t believe the proposals are in the best interests of anyone living in Derbyshire – least of all people living in Chesterfield.

“The county council has a responsibility to act in the best interests of all its residents and we could not sit idly by and watch South Yorkshire break up Derbyshire without a proper consultation.”

If the plans go ahead, responsibility for services including roads, public transport, travel concessions, skills for employment and major planning and investment projects would pass to the combined authority.

After the consultation period ends on Friday August 12, the findings will be forwarded to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will make a final decision on the plans later this year.

A spokesman for the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority said: “We are clearly disappointed that a legal challenge has been raised on our consultation process and we are currently taking legal advice.

“Our consultation closes on Friday 12th August and we urge residents, businesses and interested groups to respond via our online survey, request a paper copy of the survey or write directly to us.

“We want as many residents and businesses wherever they are based to give us their views on the proposals to transfer powers and responsibilities from central government as well as how we can all work formally together to deliver economic growth in the Sheffield City Region.”

Have your say on the devolution deal at www.sheffieldcityregiondevolution.org.uk or pick up a copy of the consultation document from Chesterfield Town Hall.