On Weds 29th July the three Councils of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire voted to move forward with a West of England devolution deal which would give the region more autonomy over housing and transport decisions and bring in £30 million a year of investment.1
Leader of the Green Councillors, Charlie Bolton said:
“Greens have been working throughout the devolution negotiations to ensure that any deal does not just focus on economic growth at any cost. Our regions need good quality, warm and affordable housing and an improved public transport system that benefits all. We are pleased that as a result Bristol Council voted last night for equality and environmental sustainability to be key criteria for any project looking to be funded by the new deal”2
“One of our biggest concerns throughout the deal has been the lack of consultation, both with councillors, but more importantly with the public. The public consultation on devolution will open on 4th July and we have been campaigning to ensure that this is able to influence and change the deal – after all what is the point in consulting the public if what they say is unable to change anything?”
The public consultation will run for six weeks from 4th July, and it has now been agreed that it will come back to councillors for further consideration before being submitted with Councils response to the Secretary of State who has the final decision on whether the deal goes ahead.
Councillor Bolton continued:
“As Greens, we feel that this devolution deal has good elements and bad elements. We want joined up thinking on public transport, more local decision making powers on housebuilding and more investment in our region. But we don’t feel real devolution should be about centralising control into the hands of a cabinet headed by a Metro-Mayor with worryingly little accountability or scrutiny.”3
“The mixed nature of this deal makes the public consultation all the more important. We are calling on everyone to get involved, input and suggest changes to a deal that will shape how decisions are made across the region for years to come.”
The proposed ‘West of England deal’ was approved by Bristol, BANES and South Glos at their Cabinet and Full Council meetings on Weds 29th June.
Full Council voted in favour of the comments made by Overview and Scrutiny Management Board
Green councillors submitted a statement to Cabinet and Full Council outlining their concerns with the deal.
Residents can input into the consultation on devolution