Teesside would “lose something” if it joined with the North of the region and formed one authority, a council leader has said.
The Journal understands plans for a combined authority in Teesside - similar to the newly-formed North East Combined Authority - will be made public by Christmas.
But Bill Dixon, of Darlington Borough Council, said Teesside is a “distinct sub-region” which has a strong bond with Yorkshire and it does not need to merge with NECA.
His comments come after Iain Malcolm, of NECA’s North East Leadership Board, said Teesside’s councils - Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland - should join with NECA, which brings together councils from Northumberland to County Durham.
The South Tyneside Council leader believes joining as one combined authority would strengthen the case for devolution of powers from Whitehall and allow regional leaders to form a “truly visionary” plan for the future.
But Coun Dixon said there was no prospect of his idea becoming a reality.
“Tees Valley is a distinct sub-region in the North East,” he said. “Tees Valley is more than happy to work in partnership not just with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership but with North Yorkshire, which we have close links with, and West Yorkshire. We don’t really see the benefit of joining with NECA as one large organisation.
“Both the combined authorities and the local enterprise partnerships would lose something and there is more to be gained by working in harmony than by being one joint authority.
“We have our own distinct structures and issues in Tees Valley, as does our private sector, and we don’t see the benefit of joining to be one hybrid body.”
He said that while the General Election would slow down the process of Teesside councils forming a combined authority, a process which is being led by the local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited, it was likely to happen in 2015.
The Journal understands that plans for a combined authority in Teesside will be made public by Christmas.