District councils have called on the Government to ‘rein back the mission creep of unelected local enterprise partnerships (LEPs)’ over strategic planning.
The District Councils’ Network (DCN) said there needed to be guidance on the ‘overlap’ between council local plans and work undertaken by LEPs.
In its submission to an inquiry by the communities and local government committee, DCN wrote: ‘This would clarify and emphasise the status of the statutory local plans agreed by democratically elected councils relative to the growth plans and investment priorities pursued by the LEPs.’
DCN said LEPs had a ‘democratic deficit but have become the focus for resourcing local infrastructure, which is inextricably linked with councils’ local plans’.
Last month concerned county council leaders used a report to call for reforms to ‘unaccountable’ LEPs.
However, chairman of the District Chief Executives Network, David Buckle, viewed it as a hostile move, adding: ‘The last thing we need is a turf war between counties and districts as to who is pre-eminent in the field of economic development.’