Much energy is being expended on this devolution debate. In my view many half truths are being offered as facts, and very little light is being shed on the matter. The debate about the Sheffield City Region is about at the level of the Europe debate...rather childish at present.
The decision has been made at local council level to move towards closer ties with the proposed Sheffield City Region. Don’t just sit there and call for a referendum, that is an easy way out for those elected councillors or MPs who are too frightened to take controversial decisions. We pay councillors and MPs to take these difficult decisions for us, and if you don’t like it, then elect someone else next time and reverse it. You can’t reverse the decision of a referendum after all.
The consultation has been going on for more than eight years to my knowledge, and the decision to move forward has been taken. Sadly, NorthEast Derbyshire and Bolsover councils have decided, wrongly in my view, not to take that course.
The busiest commuter route in Derbyshire is between Chesterfield and Sheffield, busier even than Derby/Nottingham.
There are lesser economic links with other cities and towns, so it makes sense to strengthen an economic tie with a city ten miles away rather than 30 (Derby) or 40 (Nottingham). If the Sheffield Supertram route were extended to Sheepbridge and Chesterfield via Whittington Moor, it could bring huge economic benefits at both ends.
Transport links with Sheffield are abominable. The railway line has a bottleneck at Dronfield and public transport access to Chesterfield station is bad, there being no frequent bus service (up to 25 minute intervals) to or from Chesterfield centre. Why would a tie with Derby/Nottingham produce better access to Sheffield? It would be very much in their interests to discourage it.
No, let the decision stand, and cast Chesterfield’s future with Sheffield.