Ministers have given the green light to a new local enterprise partnership covering Northamptonshire county council despite the district councils within the area already belonging to a separate LEP.
The move means Northants will have two LEPs aimed at boosting economic growth - the new Northamptonshire LEP and the South East Midlands LEP, which was approved last year.
Conservative-led Northamptonshire County Council’s initial bid for a LEP had been scotched by ministers last year in favour of the South East Midlands LEP, which was supported by all but one of Northamptonshire’s district councils as well as Milton Keynes and parts of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire to the south.
At the time the district councils said they had supported the SEMLEP bid as they feared being marginalised under Northamptonshire CC’s plans.
However, as LGC revealed last December, the county council said it would press ahead with its own plans for a LEP “with or without the backing of government”.
But now ministers have given the partnership their backing, bringing to 38 the number of LEPs around the country.
Decentralisation minister Greg Clark said: “Northamptonshire has huge potential for growth and in the next ten years is well placed to help drive national economic recovery.
“The Northamptonshire local enterprise partnership will see local civic and business leaders take the reins of the local economy and exploit this potential for Northamptonshire to become a powerhouse for the economy.”