Sheffield city-region spatial framework proposal hits the buffers

The future of a proposed spatial framework for the Sheffield city-region looks uncertain after the member councils today failed to agree a plan to progress work on what powers the sub-region's proposed elected mayor would possess.

Sheffield: city region plan in doubt
Sheffield: city region plan in doubt

At a meeting of the Sheffield City-Region Combined Authority this morning, the leaders of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils failed to reach agreement on a recommendation put before the meeting, which was to initiate public consultation on mayoral powers relating to devolution.

Sheffield city-region's devolution deal, agreed with Whitehall in 2015, includes plans to give an elected mayor powers over strategic planning, including the responsibility to create a spatial framework, "which will act as the framework for managing planning across the Sheffield city-region, and with which all local development plans will be in strategic alignment".

But a statement from the combined authority said that the four councils had failed to agree to progress the consultation.

A report considered at the meeting said that, under this "do nothing" scenario, mayoral elections will still take place in May 2018, but the mayor "will have very limited functions".

These would include being chair the combined authority, having equivalent voting rights to existing local authorities at its meetings, and some powers relating to bus franchising.

According to press reports, Barnsley and Doncaster councils now support an alternative wider "One Yorkshire" proposal in partnership with 15 other Yorkshire councils, while Sheffield and Rotherham still support the Sheffield city-region plan.

Next month's Planning for Housing conference includes a session looking at how the new elected city-region mayors intend to use their spatial plans to improve housing supply. For more details and to book your place click here. 

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