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Revealed: The cost of city region's unlawful consultation

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The botched consultation into the Sheffield City Region’s devolution deal is set to cost the area’s combined authority almost £0.5m.

The vast majority of the costs relate to legal fees after a High Court judge ordered the combined authority to pay 85%, plus VAT, of Derbyshire CC’s costs for bringing the case in the first place.

LGC reported in December how a judge ruled parts of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority’s devolution deal consultation were unlawful because it failed to explicitly ask whether Chesterfield BC should join the organisation.

In a report due to go before the combined authority on Monday it said the full extent of the legal costs was “not known” but added it had set aside more than £200,000 to meet Derbyshire’s fees.

The city region had also incurred £131,000 legal costs of its own. The report added a further £50,000 is likely to be accrued in due course.

As the costs were “not planned” money will be redirected “from other priorities”, the report said.

LGC reported earlier this month how it is “not possible” for the Sheffield City Region to hold a mayoral election this year. The report confirmed that and said an election in May 2018 would see the mayor’s term last four years from that point.

In order for the election to take place next year the city region needs to carry out an additional consultation.

The report warned the previous consultation cost £104,000 and added: “It is likely that a broader consultation will cost more than this.”

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