Herefordshire Council is poised to confirm a partnership with neighbouring English and Welsh local authorities. The proposed "Marches Forward Partnership" will be discussed at the council's cabinet meeting on Thursday, 28 September.
The partnership, which aims to strengthen ties across the border, will see Herefordshire Council joining forces with Shropshire Council, Monmouthshire County Council, and Powys County Council. Their collective goal is to secure government funding for major projects that will benefit the Marches region, covering a substantial 80 per cent of the English/Welsh borderland.
While each council will maintain its distinct identity and independence, they will collaborate on areas of mutual interest and benefit. These areas include transport, housing, energy, climate change, and digital connectivity, addressing the shared concerns of the region's population of nearly 750,000.
The collaboration is expected to boost government investment in the region, potentially unlocking millions of pounds for projects that will bolster the Marches' rural economy and promote green growth.
Councillor Jonathan Lester, Leader of Herefordshire Council, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership: "Working with our neighbouring councils offers a fantastic opportunity to collectively address significant issues. This partnership builds on the existing cross-border support in the Marches area. Given our shared challenges and goals, collaborating with Shropshire Council and both Monmouthshire and Powys County Councils will be highly beneficial."
He further added that while the formal agreement between the four councils will be signed in October, Herefordshire Council remains open to collaborations with other authorities and partners in the future.