Herefordshire Council is set to confirm an agreement with other English and Welsh local authorities at its next cabinet meeting, on Thursday 28 September.
A proposed Marches Forward Partnership would see Herefordshire Council work with Shropshire Council, Monmouthshire County Council and Powys County Council. They would join forces to apply for funding from government on major projects that will benefit the Marches region, which covers 80 percent of the English / Welsh borderland.
Each authority would retain their own identity and independence. They would continue to deliver services to residents and businesses as they do now but would 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 willingness to work together will increase overall government investment, unlocking millions of pounds for identified initiatives that will support the Marches’ rural economy and green growth.
Councillor Jonathan Lester, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “This is a great opportunity to work with our neighbouring councils to address some of the big issues that are important to us all.
“I welcome the opportunity to forge greater cross-border links to help us all to focus on many issues collectively.
“This proposed partnership is a progression of the cross-border support that already exists across the Marches area. There are many commonalities between us, so working in this collaborative way with colleagues at Shropshire Council and Monmouthshire and Powys County Councils will have many advantages.
“We will be signing-up to an agreement that will confirm functional arrangements between the four councils in October. However this move to create the partnership will not prevent us from working with other authorities and partners at any point now or in the future.”