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Boroughs unite to form North East London Strategic Alliance

The leaders and mayors of NELSA’s local authority members with Mike Emmerich, Founding Partner of Metro Dynamics
The leaders of six local authorities have signalled their intent to deliver real change to hundreds of thousands of Londoners by formally establishing the North East London Strategic Alliance (NELSA).



Made up of Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest councils, NELSA’s aim is to develop a clear vision for north east London and to provide the strategic leadership to ensure that the potential of this sub region is realised for the benefit of all its residents.



Its focus will be on how best to deliver new homes, jobs, improved skills, transportation and better public services. It will also support the Local London eight borough sub regional partnership*, which is leading proposals for potential devolution of public services in this part of the capital.



The Alliance wants to secure the best deal for its residents, especially in light of continuing restrictions on public spending and the focus on devolution across the UK. And as London continues to develop, with an ever-increasing population spreading further out, NELSA’s combined knowledge and understanding of north east London means the Alliance is best-placed to manage change in this area.



NELSA was formally established yesterday (23 July) at Eastbury Manor House in Barking, where Chair of NELSA and Waltham Forest’s Council Leader Chris Robbins and Leader of Barking and Dagenham, Cllr Darren Rodwell laid out NELSA’s aims. There was also a talk and Q&A session with Mike Emmerich, Founding Partner of Metro Dynamics and formerly Chief Executive of New Economy Manchester, about what London could learn from Manchester’s experience of devolution.



Chair of NELSA and Waltham Forest’s Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “NELSA brings together six boroughs that are perfectly-placed to put forward a clear vision for north-east London and set future improvements in motion.



“This area of London deserves better representation at a national and regional level of decision-making and we intend to make sure this happens. And in partnership with the Local London eight borough sub regional partnership, we want to secure greater devolution of powers from central Government so that we can better enable growth and development in our areas – such as building more homes, helping more people into work and being able to do more to support schools, businesses and local investment.



“A bold new approach like this would represent a landmark shift in the local government landscape – enabling our six boroughs to deliver real change to hundreds of thousands of Londoners.”



Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said: “This is a clear benefit to us – the Government has made it clear it will not talk to individual boroughs on issues of devolution. But as a collective we can have a stronger voice.



“This alliance will give Barking and Dagenham the opportunity for better joint working to seize opportunities and tackle issues at a sub-regional level and build better relationships with neighbouring councils.”



Councillor Roger Ramsey, Leader of Havering Council, said: “This alliance is going to be a very important one, now more than ever. We are seeing our part of the world changing rapidly in front of our eyes, and it will continue to do so over the coming years.



“Having the backing of the other boroughs puts us in a strong position, and allows us, as NELSA, to speak up for north east London on the issues that matter most here. I’m very pleased that Havering is part of it.”



Enfield Council Leader, Cllr Doug Taylor, said: “Our boroughs are the growth powerhouses of London, providing thousands of homes and jobs and better transport links while providing a home to nearly a fifth of London’s population. Here in Enfield we want to work with our partners in NELSA to deliver huge improvements to our sub-region and lobby the government to give us the power to deliver real change and real improvements to the lives of millions of people.



“We want to work with our partners across London and beyond to influence the way London evolves and get the very best deal for north east London and its residents. We know by working together we have the capacity to deliver genuine change and deliver huge benefits through the devolution of public services in the capital.”



Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham and Chair of the Growth Boroughs**, said: “This partnership will complement the work already carried out in this part of London as part of the Local London sub regional partnership. We are already working closely with these neighbouring boroughs as we have been developing a strong business case for further devolution from central government. This new organisation will give further strength and a clear united voice to this burgeoning sub region.”



Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council said: “We need a clear vision for north east London, and building strong partnerships is vital for us to be able to deliver that.  We need to do all we can to make sure our voices are heard and by joining together, we can do this more effectively.”



The leaders and mayors of NELSA’s local authority members have now signed an agreement pledging to act as ambassadors for the entire area covered by the Alliance, influencing key decision-makers and the development of policy in London.



At present, the population in north east London’s outer boroughs is in excess of 1.6 million, almost 20 per cent of the city’s residents, and is projected to grow by up to 100,000 in the next five years. However, while the NELSA members represent less than a fifth of all London boroughs, they contain over 25 per cent of the most deprived areas in the capital.



Notes to editors

*The Local London eight borough sub regional partnership

The partnership consists of the following local authorities:


  • Barking and Dagenham 

  • Enfield

  • Greenwich 

  • Havering

  • Newham

  • Redbridge

  • Tower Hamlets 

  • Waltham Forest 


This partnership has published a prospectus which outlines a vision for the devolution of powers and is the first step towards presenting a case for greater devolution from central government and London regional government. 

Following the publication of this prospectus, work has continued to develop a business case establishing where devolved powers would be best exercised at the sub regional level. For further information please see: www.newham.gov.uk/Documents/News/DrivingGrowthThroughDevolution.pdf.



*Growth Boroughs

Made up of Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, the Growth Boroughs make up the UK’s strongest potential growth area. Having helped deliver the successful 2012 Olympic Games, the Growth Boroughs are now working to deliver a lasting legacy of renewal for this part of London and a major boost for UK plc.

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