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South Essex councils form joint association in ‘momentous’ move

A “game-changing” new association of seven south Essex councils has officially been formed after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the parties involved.

The new Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) consists of the Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, and Thurrock councils.

In June 2017 council leaders and chief executives agreed to develop a joint “place vision” for the region, working together to address issues such as infrastructure, planning and growth, up to 2050.

Some key aims of the association will be to transform transport connectivity, open up spaces for housing, business and leisure development through a spatial strategy, and shape local labour and skill markets – ultimately showing that south Essex is a “dynamic, modern place” in which people and businesses can prosper.

In a joint statement, the leaders of Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Brentwood and Castle Point councils called the move “momentous.”

“We have agreed to work together like never before and for the good of south Essex. Although local decision-making will never be lost, we will work collectively and across our local authority borders, as we are clear that our region’s potential is greater than the sum of its parts,” they explained.

The council leaders said that the potential of south Essex collectively is huge, adding: “Our greater south Essex ambition will support our collaboration and deliver the impact we need by working with government.

“This isn’t about producing some words or bits of paper – this is about genuine partnership and collaboration and being a real voice for the region, fighting for the infrastructure and funding south Essex needs to deliver on the exciting economic opportunities we have now and will have in the future.”

The next steps now include the publication of a “statement of intent” explaining work that has already taken place and a forward plan of work, as well as developing an engagement plan.

Top image: greenacre8

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