Council leader defends position on combined authority

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Warwick District Council will not “follow like sheep” into provisional talks over a West Midlands combined council despite latest updates, its leader has said.

The district council last year opted out of negotiations to be a part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) with hopes of retaining business and council links with Coventry and standing strong within Warwickshire.

But in light of news that Stratford has signed up to the emerging group and that Nuneaton and Bedworth could opt in - Cllr Alan Boad (Lib Dem) urged the council to reconsider its position and ensure they are not left behind.

Speaking at Wednesday’s full council meeting he said: “Given that this has gone through in Stratford and in Nuneaton and Bedworth, and that the county council is to hold an extraordinary meeting next month to discuss this, isn’t it time to look again at the decision this council took?”

The combined authority, which could include Warwickshire and its districts, would have an effect on the council, highways and emergency services if it is approved by the Government later this year.

Conservative leader, Andrew Mobbs, described the talks and proposals as a “moving landscape” which the council would continue to monitor - but that they would not simply sign up without all the facts for the district.

He said: “At the current time my position has not changed on this and neither has the decision within our group.

“We need to assess the facts as we go forward and the real implications of these from both sides.

“Because Stratford or Nuneaton and Bedworth want to does not mean we just follow like sheep.”

Read more on the proposals, and impact for Warwickshire and its districts, here.