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Regional Assembly Reflects on Achievements as new Dawn Breaks for Regional Decision Making

Release Date: May 13, 2009

Regional Assembly Reflects on Achievements as new Dawn Breaks for Regional Decision Making

Release Date: May 13, 2009

PRESS RELEASE 

SW Councils/05.09/241

The Regional Assembly has for the last ten years been at the centre of decision making in the South West, today, 13 May 2009, the Assembly’s Regional Planning Body, housing and transport functions will transfer to the Strategic Leaders’ Board with immediate effect.

The transfer follows agreement between the Assembly Leaders, the Strategic Leaders, the Social Economic and Environmental Partners and South West Councils and brings to a close the work of the Assembly in line with the motion agreed by the Assembly at its final meeting in March.

Reflecting on the life of the Regional Assembly, Chairman, Sir Simon Day said:

“The Assembly achieved a huge amount over the past few years and has risen to a number of difficult challenges. From our first successful lobbying activity for Objective 1 funding to encourage investment in Cornwall and Isle of Scilly, to backing the UK’s Olympic Bid and the case to host the sailing event in the South West through to making make tough decisions on allocating funding for major transport and infrastructure, each challenge has require a grit and determination to achieve a regional consensus and provide a clear message to Government.”

Sir Simon added: 

“I am proud that our work on taking forward a Climate Change Action Plan and putting sustainability at the heart of our policies has put the South West at the leading edge of policy development.” 

Cllr Helen Holland, Deputy Chair of the Assembly, said:

“I’m pleased that the Government has now confirmed that we can go ahead with transferring the Assembly functions to the Strategic Leaders’ Board, this step means the region can move forward into a new chapter of regional decision making. The Assembly undertook some very important work of which I am immensely proud, the bar has been set very high for the next generation of decision makers to follow.”

Christopher Irwin, Assembly Vice Chair and Chair of the Stakeholder group of the Assembly said:

“We welcome this early transition of the Assembly’s functions. Stakeholders will have a key role in the new arrangements and will be working with the Strategic Leaders and the Board of the RDA. We look forward to continuing contributing our expertise to the policy makers over the coming months and years.”

Cllr Humphrey Temperley, Vice Chair said:

“Perhaps the piece of work that the Assembly will be most associated with is the long term plan for the South West, the Regional Spatial Strategy. A major piece of work for us, involving a huge amount of consultation across the region and it was a real credit to everyone involved that we were able to agree such a clear and aspirational draft in a relatively short time. We hope the Secretary of State will recognise that our advice in the draft we submitted in April 2006 is the best for the region, and reflect this in the final document when it is published in the summer.”

Cllr Keith Ross, Assembly Vice Chair said:

“I am pleased that these important functions will be transferring to this new grouping, which I believe is well placed to take forward regional decision making to a new level.”

The funding for the Regional Assembly’s planning role will transfer to the Strategic Leaders’ Board, the Executive arm of South West Councils.

The 20 strong Strategic Leaders’ Board is made up of County and Unitary Council Leaders and one each from the Districts in Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset plus the Leader of the Isle of Scilly Council, with others invited to attend.

Having taken on these new responsibilities the Strategic Leaders’ Board will be working jointly with the South West RDA Board on developing new plans for the region, involving other partners and regional stakeholders.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act Annex A confirming the transition of the Assembly’s functions to the Strategic Leaders’ Board can be downloaded here.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Sir Simon Day please contact Drew Aspinwall on 01823 425265 or email: drew.aspinwall@swcouncils.gov.uk

For more information visit: www.swcouncils.gov.uk