Warwickshire now likely to join West Midlands merger talks

GV - Shire Hall, Warwick. NNL-161201-211317009

GV - Shire Hall, Warwick. NNL-161201-211317009

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Warwickshire could join the newly emerging combined authority after a U-turn decision to be part of talks across the West Midlands.

In the turnaround plan, the county council is expected to partially join the merger this summer to ensure it can secure the best deal possible as the new authority is shaped.

Members have been advised that their best option at this stage is to join as a non-constituent member with a view to negotiating a complete deal at a later stage.

If appro Council likely to join merger talk ved on May 17 the proposal could see the council joining authorities in Birmingham and the Black Country at an annual cost of £25,000.

Merger plans were dismissed in February for not providing an acceptable deal and failing to address questions over economic benefits and emergency services.

But after agreeing to continue to look at all the options following calls from the Liberal Democrats that a merger was the best way forward, the council now says it could be better of involved.

A report read: “The council should now explore fully the option of joining the WMCA as a constituent member.

“Seeking membership as a non-constituent member would not commit the council to ultimately becoming a constituent member, but it would be a statement of intent.”

As Warwick District Council is still not signed up, it is unclear what conflicts the decision could bring on services.

The devolution deal with the government to create the combined authority will be finalised on June 1.

A mayor will be elected in 2017 after finer details in the devolution plan are set.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council has already signed up, as have Stratford and Coventry councils.