Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

LEPs come together to form 'northern gateway'

  • Comment

Two neighbouring local enterprise partnerships have pledged to work together in a bid to boost economic growth but the agreement is not a precursor to a merger, according to one of its members.

Seven local authorities and the Cheshire and Warrington and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEPs (see box below) have signed a concordat to work together so they can capitalise on the investment potential arising from the expectation that HS2 will come to the region.

Dubbed the ‘Northern Gateway Partnership’, the aim is to unlock major new growth and investment opportunities which could deliver more than 100,000 new homes and 120,000 new jobs by 2040, a statement said.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s deputy leader Abi Brown (Con) told LGC the agreement was “not at all” a move towards a merger between the LEPs.

While the partnership arrangement is likely to see the region look at housing, jobs, and infrastructure, Cllr Brown said it was “not intended to be a part of the devolution debate” either as talks between partners pre-dated the rush to form combined authorities and submit devolution bids over the summer.

Cllr Brown said: “From a partnership working point of view you can’t get away from it as that’s the basis of devolution but we don’t see this as a part of that at the moment.”

While Cheshire and Warrington submitted a devolution bid, Staffordshire did not although there have been recent rumblings of a potential county-wide bid for powers.

Cllr Brown said there was “general support” for that but added the Northern Gateway Partnership agreement was the “big focus” at present.

She said there was still “a lot of detail” to be worked up as to how the partnership will work in practice but said it was likely to include submitting joint bids for funding from central government.

In a statement Christine Gaskell, chair of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “The Northern Gateway Partnership will put the north and the Midlands in a strong position to deliver nationally significant economic growth, capitalising on the opportunities and investment that will be generated by HS2.

“Committing to work across boundaries and regions will enable us to work together in a joined up and strategic way, with the backing of government, to maximise our role in delivering the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and ‘Midlands Engine’.”

The Northern Gateway Partnership local authority members:

Cheshire East Council

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Newcastle-under-Lyme BC

Staffordshire CC

Staffordshire Moorlands DC

Stafford BC

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Cheshire and Warrington LEP

Stoke and Staffordshire LEP

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.