Regional Cities East (RCE) has submitted a case to the government claiming improved co-operation between councils will help create 140,000 jobs and provide 160,000 homes.
It is hoped the alliance of Peterborough, Luton, Ipswich, Norwich, Colchester and Southend will ensure East Anglia does not get left behind this autumn when the local government white paper is expected to encourage the development of city regions.
It had been feared the region would suffer because it is not dominated by any large city around which co-operation could be focused.
'Together, we give the region strength - it's strength in numbers.'
It is hoped a legal agreement, based on an extended local area agreement, will cement the relationship between the participants. The New Local Government Network think tank is about to begin researching how such an arrangement could work across such a wide area.
It is expected that the government will respond in October to the RCE's submission, which also calls for a team of regeneration troubleshooters and greater powers to fast-track infrastructure improvements.