29 Jul 2016

Democracy and Engagement

Information sessions being held on creation of West of England Mayoral Combined Authority

Information sessions on the creation of a new West of England Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) are being held at five libraries across Bristol.

These sessions are a chance for residents to complete the consultation survey and ask any questions they have about how this combined authority would work and what it means for Bristol.

Drop-in sessions are being held at the following locations:

• Central Library - Tuesday 2 August, 3.30pm-5pm;
• Junction 3 Library, Easton - Wednesday 3 August, 3.30pm-4.30pm;
• Henbury Library – Monday 8 August, 11am-12pm;
• Filwood Library – Monday 8 August, 1.30pm-2.30pm;
• Fishponds Library – Tuesday 9 August, 10am-11am.

Councillor Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Place, said: “This consultation might seem dry, but it is really important that as many people as possible have their say about a future devolution deal for Bristol and our partner authorities, so I would urge everyone to take part.

“Securing the deal would not only give us access to the almost £1 billion on offer, it would give the city more control of our destiny, as well as extra powers to tackle important issues such as housing, jobs and transport.”

People living outside Bristol can take advantage of the following sessions:

• The Library, Chew Valley School, Chew Magna – Monday 8 August, 6pm-8pm;
• The Somer Centre, Gullock Tyning, Midsomer Norton – Tuesday 9 August, 6pm-8pm;
• Whitchurch Village Hall – Wednesday 10 August, 7pm-8pm;
• Old Bond Street / Milsom Street Junction, Bath City Centre – Saturday 13 August, 11am-4pm.

The public consultation, which opened earlier this month (July), follows the decision of Bristol City Council, along with Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and South Gloucestershire councils to move forward with a £1 billion devolution deal from Government.

The MCA would manage new powers, funding and responsibilities that would be handed from central Government to the region as part of the deal.

As a result, more decisions could be made locally, rather than nationally, about spending on regional transport, housing and adult education and skills, for example.

The consultation runs until 15 August 2016 and it is being run jointly by Bristol, B&NES and South Gloucestershire councils – meaning residents from all three geographic areas will be invited to take part.

The results will be considered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will take account of the views of the public when deciding whether the West of England devolution deal should go ahead. The deal will then be subject to final endorsement at a local level.

If it is agreed that the MCA should go ahead, it would be established in the first part of 2017, with elections for the position of West of England Mayor to take place across all three local government areas – Bristol, B&NES and South Gloucestershire – in May 2017.

Residents across the three areas are being asked to provide feedback on four key areas of the proposed devolution deal: Decision making, Place (transport and housing), People (adult education and skills), and Business.

People can take part in the consultation in a number of ways:

• Online: www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk;
• Paper copies of the survey will be available from local libraries, Customer Service Points and One Stop Shops from 14 July – or by calling  0117 922 2848;
• Other formats such as braille are also available by calling 0117 922 2848;
• An audio version is available now on the website above.