‘Super council’ plan is met with caution in Rugby

Cllr Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby Borough Council
Cllr Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby Borough Council

A plan that may have “profound implications” for everyone in Rugby has received a cautious response from the borough council’s leader.

Cllr Michael Stokes has responded to reports from Birmingham and the Black Country that local authorities in these areas will cooperate to create a ‘combined authority’ to provide certain services together.

The proposed authority would cover a substantial part of the urban area of the West Midlands – and may take some responsibility for the borough.

And Cllr Stokes is anxious that Rugby does not lose out. He said: “Joining, or not joining, a combined authority could have profound implications for the prosperity of Rugby’s residents and businesses, both now and in the future. It is essential that we understand those implications before making any decision, and that we do what’s right for Rugby.”

Cllr Stokes believes working closely with councils in Coventry and elsewhere in the county makes sense – and wants Coventry to remain outside any combined authority.

He said: “I have been in discussions with the leader of Coventry City Council, who now has an interesting decision to make.

“I have expressed my support for Coventry remaining outside of the proposed combined authority for Birmingham and continuing to work closely with partners in Rugby and Warwickshire.

“Together we form a strong and geographically sensible partnership and I know that we can build on this relationship.”

But Cllr Stokes has not ruled out changes in the future.

He said: “The door remains open for any future discussions that may be needed, but I will always have Rugby’s best interests in mind.”

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