Herefordshire Council has signed a ground breaking agreement with three other English and Welsh local authorities today (10 November).
The Marches Forward Partnership became a reality at an official event held at Hay Castle on the Welsh and English border. The new partnership sees Herefordshire Council join forces with Shropshire Council and Monmouthshire and Powys county councils, to take on some of the big challenges they all share.
The four local authorities will now work even more closely together with both UK and Welsh governments to progress this exciting cross border collaboration.
This will include working jointly to secure funding support from both governments as well as with a wide range of other partners to unlock more investment and explore new approaches to make major projects that benefit the Marches region become reality.
Covering 80% of the English/Welsh borderland, the local authorities have similar characteristics and geography as well as an overriding mutual ambition for the region as a whole. The Partnership provides a unique commitment to work cross border, cross country and cross party on major projects that are in the overall best interests of the region.
Transport, skills and housing, alongside energy, climate change, tourism and digital connectivity are high on the agenda, all common issues for the area’s population of almost 750,000. By working together the four local authorities hope to deliver cross border successes and unlock millions of pounds for identified initiatives that support the Marches rural economy and green growth.
Leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr Jonathan Lester, said: “This partnership offers a great opportunity to work with our neighbours on issues that are common to us all.
“While all the councils will continue to run for the benefit of their residents, the partnership provides a really helpful framework for collaboration on areas where we can get the most benefit and make the biggest difference by working together.
“These are very early days but we’ve already started discussion around what we would like to achieve and will be moving at pace to turn these ambitions into actions.”