Monmouthshire County Council is set to confirm a groundbreaking agreement with other English and Welsh local authorities at its Cabinet on Wednesday, September 6.
The proposed Marches Forward Partnership would see MCC work with Herefordshire Council, Powys and Shropshire councils. They would join forces to apply for funding from Government on major projects that will benefit the Marches region, which covers 80% of the English/Welsh borderland.
Each council would retain their own identity and independence and continue to deliver services to residents and businesses as they do now but will work together, as partners, where there is mutual benefit and added value.
Areas of cross border shared interests are likely to include transport, skills and housing alongside energy, climate change and digital connectivity – common issues for the area’s population of almost 750,000.
It is anticipated that the councils’ planned collaboration and desire to work together will increase overall government investment, unlocking millions of pounds for identified initiatives that support the Marches’ rural economy and green growth.
MCC’s Leader, Cllr. Mary Ann Brocklesby said: “Monmouthshire County Council is pleased to be working with Local Authorities in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Powys in the Marches Forward Partnership. Its aim is to provide a forum to establish a joint working framework between these connected areas of Wales and England, working together to tackle cross border shared interests and boost investment into the region.”
“As neighbouring local authorities, we are bound together by a common purpose based on our rurality. We know there are significant flows of people between the Mid-Wales/English border in all areas, including healthcare, education, skill development, jobs and service provision. Many factors, including geographic convenience, drive the cross-border movement. We look forward to being part of the Marches Forward Partnership, focussing on key areas of shared interest and mutual benefit likely to include nature and climate adaptation, energy, transport and connectivity, housing, digital, economic regeneration, skills and innovation.”