Wars raged over ‘super council’ creation

TOWN hall bosses across the county border tried to block the creation of a so-called “super council” in South Yorkshire, documents published by the Government have revealed.

Nottinghamshire County Council wrote to Whitehall to demand that plans for Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster to form a loose federation be delayed owing to the risk of “long-term economic damage” to the area.

The issue was eventually resolved following high-level talks between council chiefs, and the South Yorkshire combined authority is expected to be formally approved in the coming weeks.

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The South Yorkshire councils want to form the new federation to take spending and investment decisions which affect the entire Sheffield city region. All the authorities will remain separate entities in their own right.

Smaller neighbouring councils including Bolsover, Bassetlaw, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire will also be affiliated to the new body – and it is this “overlap” with neighbouring counties which left Nottinghamshire concerned.

The Government put the plan out to consultation last year, and newly-published documents reveal they received objections from several parish councils – as well as Nottinghamshire and Derby.

“The county councils and Derby City Council supported the principle, but expressed concern the overlap of areas could lead to additional complexities which could prove damaging to the long-term economic development of the area,” the report states.

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“Nottinghamshire made representations that the establishment of the authority be delayed.”

Nottinghamshire chief executive Mick Burrows admitted last night his council had expressed “initial concerns” about the new body, but said he was “reassured by the new plans in place” and looks forward to a “productive relationship” with South Yorkshire.