24 August 2012

Northamptonshire County Council has pledged to put county people first under new Government rules which dictate how cash for highways projects is allocated.

A report to be heard before Cabinet will outline how the county council would like Local Transport Bodies (LTBs) - which will be set up to administer the money - to be defined.

Government guidelines say that the areas covered by the LTBs should be consistent with the borders of the local transport authority and local enterprise partnerships.

The county council believes that to get the best deal for Northamptonshire an LTB based on Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership geography should be established as this also reflects the area covered by the local transport authority.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “The county council very much supports the spirit of localism and believe that decisions regarding funding allocation for highways schemes are best made at a local level.

“That way we can ensure that we can spend the money on projects which will best deliver for the county and that will help create the infrastructure required to assist with economic growth.

“It’s absolutely essential that we get the best deal we can for Northamptonshire and we believe that an LTB based upon our county’s borders will do just that.”

For many years, local authorities have obtained funding for major highway and public transport schemes through a process of bidding to central government.

But as part of the Localism Agenda, the government is now proposing to devolve that funding and the associated decision-making to a more local level through LTBs.

The report to Cabinet will show that an LTB based upon the area covered by the county would be less bureaucratic and would incur fewer administration costs.

It would also give the county more control on how money is spent and give a guaranteed funding amount.