MP for Bassetlaw John Mann has warned that the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire combined authority plan would be a ‘total and absolute disaster’ for the district.
The MP branded the North Midlands devolution deal, which would see Bassetlaw removed as member of the Sheffield City Region authority and enter a combined authority with Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, a “mismatch of total junk”.
Mr Mann says the move would involve Bassetlaw paying for an economic development area between Nottingham and Derbyshire that it “would not use”, while severing its strong ties to South Yorkshire.
He also claimed that the deal would result in the closure of Bassetlaw Hospital as the Government “shifted health into city regions”.
Mr Mann added: “There is nothing in it for us. People need to ask where do we want our bus services to go - Nottingham and Derby or Sheffield and Doncaster? Which rail line do we want to see improved - the Worksop to Sheffield route and the East Coast Main Line to London, or the Midland Main Line?”
“Our money should not be spent on areas that we don’t go to. or on roads and rail tracks that we rarely use. It makes no sense for us to pay for improvements on the roads to Derby and Nottingham, instead of the A57 to Sheffield.”
A full council decision will be needed to ratify any devolution deal affecting the district.
Bassetlaw District Council leader Simon Greaves said he welcomed the move from the Government that would “allow Bassetlaw to have a choice”.
He added: “This decision will affect transport, housing and the economic development of the district, so will require careful consideration by the council over the coming months. As ever we have Bassetlaw’s best interests in mind, and will be undertaking consultation exercises to ensure residents have a voice.”
The ‘“size of the prize” of devolution for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire was set out for the first time this week.
Key benefits that the deal promises to deliver include 55,000 private sector jobs and 77,000 new houses.
Alan Rhodes, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We have excellent proposals on the table, the majority of which have already been agreed.”