Three months to save devo deal

Chesterfield's famous crooked spire pokes through the fog.  Picture  Chris Lawton
Chesterfield's famous crooked spire pokes through the fog. Picture Chris Lawton

City Region bosses have called a crunch meeting for the end of this month – giving them three months to solve the ‘Chesterfield crisis’ and keep the £900 million devolution deal on track.

Council leaders on the Combined Authority will meet on January 30 to discuss the way forward after the High Court ruled the people of Chesterfield were not properly consulted.

The judgment means part of the consultation will need to be redone and approved by Government.

Only then can local leaders sign off the mayor’s powers and territory. And only then can public elections be held on May 4.

The devolution deal is set to bring wide-ranging powers and £900m of extra funding over 30 years to the region, in return for an elected mayor.

A spokesman for Sheffield City Region Combined Authority said the court judgement confirmed the entire consultation would not be quashed.

He added: “The judgement raised the need to carry out further consultation to address the proposed governance changes in Chesterfield.

“We will now take some time to consider the judgement and our next steps.”

The row blew up after Chesterfield Borough Council applied to be a full member of Sheffield City Region. The move was opposed by Derbyshire County Council.

In September, Derbyshire lodged a claim that the consultation was ‘misleading to the point it was unlawful’ and the results of the entire consultation should be thrown out.

Derbyshire Council leader Anne Western said: We were left with no option.”