Powys County Council set to sign groundbreaking local authority partnership
29 August 2023
A proposed Marches Forward Partnership will see Powys work with Monmouthshire County Council, Shropshire County Council and Herefordshire County Council. They will join forces to apply for funding from government on major projects that will benefit their collective region.
Each authority will retain their own identity and independence. They will continue to deliver services to residents and businesses in the normal way but will work together, as partners, where there is mutual benefit and added value. Areas of cross border shared interests are likely to include transport, skills and housing alongside energy, climate change and digital connectivity - common issues for a population that totals more than 735,000.
It is anticipated that the planned collaboration and the council's willingness to work together will increase overall government investment, unlocking millions of pounds for identified initiatives that will support the region's rural economy and green growth.
Powys County Council Leader, Cllr James Gibson-Watt said: "There is great potential if we can agree to work alongside colleagues in Monmouthshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire Councils.
"It reflects the geography of the area and at the same time acknowledges some of the commonalities between us. There has always been cross border support for one another, so this proposed partnership is a natural progression and fits comfortably with the priorities in our Corporate Improvement and Equalities Plan - Stronger Fairer Greener.
"We are already talking to government about what benefits our collaboration will bring and it is enthusiastic about the potential for the wider region.
"We are looking to sign up to an agreement that will confirm functional arrangements between the four councils in October. However, there is no cost implication or anything stopping us from working with other authorities and partners at any point now or in the future.
"It's exciting and indeed groundbreaking for neighbouring authorities in Wales and England to be working together in this way. There are naturally strong ties between our nations, and this gives us an opportunity to build on our shared heritage and look ahead to the future. We hope we can break down the artificial cross border barriers that exist and together take control of some of the big issues that are important to so many people."