West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith.
Billy Wood

Member Article

Three Southern Counties make case for devolution

Leaders at East Sussex, Surrey and West Sussex have outlined plans to the government about the benefits of their joint devolution bid.

Representatives for the Three Southern Counties (3SC) bid outlined their proposals to Communities Minister Baroness Williams which include efforts to tackle the congested road and rail network, rolling out superfast broadband to every urban and rural community, and the delivery of 34,000 planned homes.

The proposals by the 3SC region, which has a population of more than 2.5 million people, follows the submission of the devolution prospectus to Local Government Secretary Greg Clark in September 2015.

By taking greater control over their road and rail network, house building and digital infrastructure, the three regions hope to boost growth and job creation.

One of the leaders of the 3SC bid, West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith, said: “The meeting with Baroness Williams was an extremely positive one and is a big step forward in our bid to regain the freedoms we need to build a vibrant and strong economy and transform our public services.

“The quality of life for all our residents and the economic strengths of the 3SC is at risk because of creaking infrastructure and growing pressures on public services at a time of severe spending constraint.

“Today we put forward a powerful case for how we can work together to tackle the barriers to growth and ensure the 3SC remains an economic powerhouse and a great place to live.”

In light of the proposals, Baroness Williams said: “This was a good opportunity to examine in greater detail the 3SC case. I commend the hard work that has gone into producing a case for devolution and look forward to continuing to work closely with all those involved.”

A total of 44 organisations have cooperated on the bid, including 23 district and borough councils, three local enterprise partnerships, 12 clinical commissioning groups and two police forces.

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