Residents have had the opportunity to have their say on the creation of a new West of England Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) and a £1billion pound devolution deal put on the table by the Government. Responses were received from across public, business, education and voluntary sectors – with the majority of people expressing overall support for the deal.
Feedback was sought on four key areas of the proposed devolution deal: Decision making, Place (transport and housing), People (adult education and skills), and Business. From the 2,011 responses received across the region; 1,109 (55%) said that, on balance, they believe that a West of England Mayoral Combined Authority would benefit the West of England region. 674 (34%) said that they did not agree, and 176 (9%) said that they did not know. 52 respondents (2%) did not answer. Details have been published on the West of England Devolution site www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk
Together with Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils, Bristol will submit a joint consultation report to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The Secretary of State will review the findings of this consultation alongside the Strategic Governance Review, the proposed Governance Scheme and any other representations that have been made directly.
The public responded both online, on paper and in some cases directly to government. Information and surveys were made available through local libraries, Citizen Service Points and One Stop Shops, as well as via parish councils and community facilities. A series of public drop-in events were also held – publicised via local radio, newspapers, social media and council websites. In addition, the councils also received direct feedback from a variety of people – through face-to-face contact at the public events and via letters and emails.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “We’re grateful to everyone who took part in the public consultation and attended the public events. I am pleased that overall the public supported the deal.
“This is another step in our journey towards a devolution deal, which could unlock a billion pounds of funding across crucial areas such as housing, transport and skills, and bring decision-making powers closer to local, meaning we can take more control of our own destiny here in Bristol.
"Once we know if we have Government approval to move forward, I want to see plenty of opportunity for local people across the three authorities to really shape how this will work for us."
The next step will be for the Secretary of State to consider the results and based on the comments received determine if the deal goes ahead. Finally, each Council will be asked to endorse his decision - probably in October. It is at that time all three authorities independently will come to a balanced view about what will be best for their areas.
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 – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire – in May 2017.