The County Councils Network has had argued for greater alignment between LEP boundaries and county boundaries.
Cllr Philip Atkins, CCN Conservative vice-chairman, said:
“CCN has long campaigned for the government to revise Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) boundaries and remove overlaps. We welcome of direction of travel announced today, particularly the commitment to remove all overlaps.
“It is important for local areas to now consider the changes and respond with proposals to government, agreed in partnership with county authorities. Some LEP mergers, alongside greater co-terminosity between county and LEPs boundaries would clearly be beneficial where this is locally desired.
“We recognise that LEPs should be private sector led, supported by the vital contribution of local government, particularly county authorities. However, we are concerned that the proposals announced today could downgrade the role of democratically accountable local government, with the requirement to increase private sector board membership to two thirds and create an independent secretariat. This underestimates the role county authorities can play in supporting LEPs and promoting growth in their areas.”
The government also has announced a revised and updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Responding to it, Cllr Atkins added:
“CCN welcomes the government’s commitment to solving the housing crisis through the planning system, but believe the planning reforms contained within the new iteration of the NPPF do not go far enough.
“Over the recent months, CCN has been calling on the government to give county councils a stronger role through the statement of common ground, believing that increased collaboration will lead to better outcomes.
“Our recent report on strategic planning outlines how counties can work better with districts and neighbouring unitary authorities to plan homes and raise funds for infrastructure in partnership over larger geographies to deliver the homes country desperately needs.
“This is vital if we are to build thriving sustainable communities, and we will continue to make the case for reform, particularly in two-tier areas, where planning and infrastructure delivery are fragmented; holding back development in our areas.”