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WMCA club grows as Nuneaton and Bedworth agree to join

WMCA club grows as Nuneaton and Bedworth agree to join

🕔18.Sep 2015

The Warwickshire district council of Nuneaton and Bedworth has agreed to join the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The decision, taken at a meeting of the Labour-run authority this week, was accompanied by a bitter attack on Tory controlled Warwickshire county council, which has voted not to join WMCA.

Nuneaton and Bedworth council leader Denis Harvey did not seek to disguise years of ill feeling between the north Warwickshire districts and the county council, which is based in Warwick. Cllr Harvey said: “

We have been controlled from Shire Hall for the past 100 years and for 100 years Nuneaton and Bedworth has been forgotten while the south has damaged this area. People here have had enough.

If the county council wanted cooperation from Nuneaton and Bedworth maybe they should have repaired our roundabouts and pot holes. Improve our accident areas, reopen our youth clubs and turn our street lights back on.

Warwickshire county council says it still hopes to do a deal with Coventry council to form a combined authority and take charge of economic development and transport.

But the possibility appears to be dead in the water, with Coventry having opted to join WMCA.

Cllr Harvey added:

The county council wants to go alone with Coventry, but the Coventry boat has sailed.

Our links with Coventry are enormous. To remove ourselves from that would be ludicrously incompetent.

I think the county fears for its future. We hope Warwickshire has a change of heart and will join.

Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry city council and the person leading on the economic workstream for the fledgling combined authority, yesterday told an Insider magazine event on devolution that “Coventry won’t blink” in being part of WMCA.

WMCA’s devolution deal with the Government could be completed by the end of next week.

The package being negotiated by Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall councils is likely to revolve around an £8 billion economic investment fund.

Birmingham city council leader Sir Albert Bore has said he expects at least six of the 12 Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire district councils to join WMCA.

In Warwickshire, North Warwickshire council will decide on October 7 and is expected to agree to join. Rugby council will decide on October 15. Stratford-on-Avon council is keeping its options open.

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