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District councils need to step into the role of place leaders if barriers to sustainable growth are to be overcome across the UK.
NLGN’s new report, The Road Not Taken: New Ways of Working for District Councils, supported by the District Councils’ Network (DCN), argues that districts can be a central cog of local growth.
The report identifies how bold districts are realising their potential, partnering with developers, businesses and LEPs to attract investment and employment to their areas. By way of example, districts are:
- Investing in new house building
- Unlocking retail and business development
- Leading on City Deal bids
The research also found that the majority of district council chief executives are confident in their council’s ability to deliver short and medium term priorities. But they recognise that this confidence must be translated into new ways of working and economic recovery driven from the bottom up.
NLGN Director, Simon Parker, said: “Far from retreating in the face of the cuts, many district councils have chosen to lead the way in driving growth, reshaping their organisations and sharing management teams. This is a time of profound change in the shires, but this report suggests that confident districts have their best days ahead of them.”
Cllr Tony Jackson, DCN Lead member for new ways of working, said: ”DCN welcomes this report and thanks the NLGN for its hard work. It marks the beginning of the debate among districts and the type of councils they want to be in the future. It is important now that we support districts to recognise the paths they can take and work with them to achieve their visions for the future.”