Lichfield District Council has joined other authorities across Staffordshire in a bid to pursue a county-wide deal as part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Lichfield District Council House

Staffordshire County Council and Lichfield District Council are joined by seven other councils who have made the pledge to work closer together in a bid to boost areas such as the local economy and deliver improved public services.

Plans are being drawn up to create more jobs and opportunities, tackle challenges around waste and recycling, and improve public health.

But the councils say a county-wide approach to securing additional funding could help deliver results quicker.

Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, said:

Cllr Doug Pullen

“Working jointly with Staffordshire County Council, as well as other councils around us, is second nature to us in Lichfield, so I’m really excited about the next logical step – putting this collaborative working on a more formal footing. 

“With clear objectives around the things that matter the most to us – health, skills, transport, the economy and climate change – we can deepen our relationship with other local authorities, improve outcomes right across our county, and in doing so demonstrate to Whitehall that locally elected leaders, working together, are the real catalyst required to level up.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council

A joint leaders board is to be created to oversee the delivery of an agreed set of priorities, and the development of a County Deal for Staffordshire.

Discussions are already underway with Government Ministers and civil servants on a series of proposals.

Cllr Alan White, leader of Staffordshire County Council, said collaboration was key to navigating the future for the region.

Cllr Alan White

“Whether standing shoulder to shoulder to protect the vulnerable through the pandemic, or moving the earth to create new business parks ready for investment, we deliver best when we work together.

“Collaboration is at the heart of all we do best in Staffordshire, and thanks to strong local leadership, we have a track record to prove it.

“This agreement builds on our strengths and offers the Government the perfect platform here, in the nationally valued centre of the country, to pursue its levelling up agenda.

“Come what may, Staffordshire councils will continue to work hand in glove. But a County Deal and additional investment in Staffordshire would help us put our foot to the floor and accelerate the positive changes we can make for the 850,000 people we serve.”

Cllr Alan White, Staffordshire County Council

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  1. If the District and County councils want to collaborate, a good start would be for them to work together to ensure the future of Friary Grange Sports Centre, unlike previously when, following the Friary School becoming an academy, the County clearly just wanted to offload any responsibility for the Centre and the District was unwilling to take it on, hence the proposal to close it and leave the city without a public pool and the other facilities. The existing property is perfectly capable of being maintained and upgraded when needed – it wasn’t too long ago that a lot of money was invested in upgrading the changing rooms, which wouldn’t have happened if it was believed the Centre didn’t have a viable future.
    As the proposed alternative of a new pool and sports centre is now looking doubtful because of funding problems, now is the time for the two councils to collaborate on securing the future of the Friary. Abandoning it and allowing it to decay or be demolished would be a shameful waste of hugely valued public asset.

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