Derbyshire Dales District Council is to become a member of Derby Derbyshire Nottingham Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with immediate effect and end its membership of Sheffield City Region (SCR) LEP.
The Council will continue to be a non-constituent member of the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority.
Councillor Garry Purdy, Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, said: “Unfortunately we were left with no option on this if we are to comply with the Government’s requirement for the businesses and communities of the Derbyshire Dales to be represented by a single LEP.
“The decision was particularly difficult as Derbyshire Dales near its northern border aligns to Sheffield while the south of the district aligns to Derby and Nottingham.
“It should be noted that being a member of both D2N2 LEP and SCR LEP in recent years has been of great benefit to the Dales. Millions of pounds of external funds have been secured for investment in infrastructure, business growth, skills and employment support.”
Informing Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, of the District Council’s decision, Councillor Purdy writes: “Since becoming Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council following the Elections in May of this year I determined to investigate as to which LEP Derbyshire Dales District Council should join by meetings with the respective Chairs and Chief Executives of both LEPs, and including meeting with Mayor Dan Jarvis MP of Sheffield Mayoral Combined Authority.
“My investigation included talks also with the respective Leaders of Derbyshire County Council, Bolsover District Council, North East Derbyshire District Council and Chesterfield Borough Council.
“Given little choice I am writing to inform you that Derbyshire Dales District Council will join D2N2 LEP with immediate effect and remain a Non Constituent Member of the Sheffield Mayoral Combined Authority.”
At a meeting of full Council on 24 January this year, councillors debated a detailed report on the Government’s July 2018 LEPs review.
Councillors noted in particular that the natural economic geography of the Derbyshire Dales looks both north and south and that funding had been gained from both D2N2 and SCR, but heard that Government had made it clear there would be consequences for non-compliant LEPs, including the withholding of payments of additional capacity funds to support LEPs.
In a 27-3 majority vote, the January meeting gave delegated authority to the Council’s Leader to respond, in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Opposition Group Leader, in the event of it becoming necessary to choose only one LEP.
Councillor Purdy added: “Today’s decision means D2N2 LEP and SCR LEP can remove overlaps and are in a position to finalise their important proposals to the Government.
“Derbyshire Dales District Council will however continue to maintain an active interest in SCR through its non-constituent membership of the Mayoral Combined Authority.”