Wakefield leader steps down from combined authority chair

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box
Wakefield Council leader Peter Box
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WAKEFIELD COUNCIL leader Peter Box has called for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to do more to connect with the public as he announced his plan to stand down as chairman of the body.

Coun Box, who has led the organisation since it was formed three years ago, will formally step down next week as he takes up the leadership of the Key Cities group of councils.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe is widely expected to take over at the top of the combined authority which brings together local authorities to work on major cross-boundary issues including transport, skills and supporting business.

Speaking to the YEP, Coun Box said he was proud of the major projects the authority had funded that would help grow the region’s economy.

He said: ““If you look at Wakefield we have just had some money from the combined authority to build the eastern relief road. That’s going to be a huge economic benefit to the people of Wakefield, it’s going to create some 3,000 jobs and it’s going to create 2,500 new homes so there’s huge potential and already it’s taken some pressure of the highway network.”

He continued: “If I was to be self-critical of us, perhaps it would be that we’ve not connected in the way a local authority can with the people we represent and I think that’s something that needs to be done better in the future.”

Coun Box said the existence of the combined authority was a “big achievement” because it showed West Yorkshire’s towns and cities were ready to put aside local rivalries and work together.

Coun Box will remain Wakefield Council leader as he chairs the Key Cities group which represents 21 councils.