Devo Manky – Regional Planning is Back – in Manchester – With Impossible Governance Arrangements

Manchester

Greater Manchester has today, Monday 3 November 2014, agreed an historic devolution settlement with Government.

The agreement, reached with the Chancellor who has called for a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to maximise the economic potential of the north – and building on the work of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) established in 2011 – will give greater powers to the combined authority working in partnership with a directly-elected Mayor.

Under the settlement, a directly-elected Mayor for Greater Manchester will be created.

Powers to be devolved to Greater Manchester include:

Planning
Devolved planning freedoms, including the power to create a statutory spatial strategy – in line with the framework already being developed by GMCA – which will guide investment and development across Greater Manchester .

Housing
Control of a new Housing Investment Fund of up to £300m which will deliver an additional 15,000 homes across Greater Manchester over a 10-year period.

Governance arrangements

The elected Mayor will lead GMCA, chair its meetings and allocate responsibilities to its cabinet, made up of the leaders of each of Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities. The first Greater Manchester Mayoral elections are expected to take place in 2017.

The directly-elected Mayor will be responsible for the new powers in relation to transport, planning, housing and policing but will be required to consult the GMCA Cabinet on his/her strategies, which it may reject if two-thirds of members agree to do so.  The statutory spatial framework will require approval by a unanimous vote of the Mayor’s Cabinet.

Unanimous approval – now that will work well wont it.  I guess several districts refused to sign up wothout it fearing green belt release to meet housing need.  The result, simply shifting the problem out to Cheshire and Lancashire after years more delay.

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