MEMBERS of Merseyside’s “super council” will be hoping for a controversy-free meeting when they come together for the second time this week.
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s first meeting in April got off to a less than promising start when the appointment of Wirral Council leader Phil Davies to the role of chairman sparked outrage from Liverpool’s mayor.
Joe Anderson was accused of thinking he had a “God-given right” to rule by the leader of St Helens Council as tensions grew over the decision, while Mayor Anderson accused other leaders of playing “clandestine toy town politics.”
After a row between the Merseyside councils, peace was restored when Anderson told his cabinet that the city would remain at the forefront of the city region despite the efforts of others to “freeze it out”.
Preparations are now underway for Friday’s meeting, with Cllr Davies stating that the authority is “getting down to business”.
Members will discuss a number of key transport workstreams, including drafting a long term rail strategy to improve links within the city region and beyond over the next 30 years.
The controversial HS2 project will also play a part in Friday’s meeting, with councillors keen to ensure the region gets the best deal possible, while plans for rail devolution to allow more local control and influence over rail services will also be on the agenda.
Alongside the transport update, members will also discuss the opportunities around freight and logistics, progress in building houses and measures to tackle youth unemployment.
Councillor Phil Davies said: “Through the creation of the combined authority, we are bringing together new ways of working that better benefit businesses and residents in our city region.
“This is the combined authority getting down to business and focussing on those strategic projects that will bring widespread economic benefit to the whole Liverpool City Region.
“The combined authority enables us to consider transport from a ‘big picture’ perspective to ensure we have in place the powers and priorities that can be viewed in a connected, transformational way, rather than in the piecemeal approach of the past.
“Good transport infrastructure and services are key to economic growth and regeneration. They are a way of strengthening not only our city region but the whole of the north. Rebalancing economies in the north and south will ultimately benefit Britain.”
“The Liverpool City Region has the vision, ambition and commitment to grow and importantly, we have the skills to deliver it.”
The second meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority takes place at No 1 Mann Island, Liverpool on Friday, June 13 at 11am.