Plans to create a new ‘super council’ for the East Midlands, including Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, have been heavily criticised by the leader of one authority.
Leaders from four county councils, including Lincolnshire, have been meeting to discuss increasing co-operation in the East Midlands.
Details of what is being discussed remain vague, but it is thought that Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire could be planning to create a new authority.
However while initial discussions are taking place among counties, talks are at a more advanced stage on the so-called Metro Strategy, currently being drawn up by Nottingham and Derby city councils and Gedling borough council, among others.
Elsewhere in the UK, areas such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands have already signed up to similar schemes, and have received additional infrastructure funding from the Government.
The leader of leader of Derbyshire County Council, Conservative Barry Lewis, confirmed that talks had taken place among the four county councils.
He said: “We are exploring the possibility of a wider devolution deal extending across the East Midlands, working with all upper tier authorities, including the cities.
“This, we hope, will provide balance across the Midlands Engine area, to match the weight and clout of the West Midlands Combined Authority and its elected Mayor.
“Since the notion of elected mayors is off the table, and had proved controversial here in the past, there seems to be a feeling that this is the right time.
“It’s still early days but we hope to have a working outline to test government support soon.”
The leader of Leicestershire County Council, Conservative Nick Rushton, said the counties feel the East Midlands needs to ‘get its act together’.
He said: “There’s still a lot of conversations to have about it but we want to see this happen.
“Residents come first and foremost, and this is something we’re looking at to allow us to make savings and put more money into frontline services.
“We need to make sure the interests of the East Midlands are represented in the same way that the West Midlands is.”
But John Clarke, the Labour leader of Gedling Borough Council, said: ““I only found out about the (county council) talks yesterday but four counties is far too big, all it will be is a debating chamber for different counties. It’s a bit of a strange animal, but then you’re dealing with people that don’t want to go our way.
“We will make sure we put Gedling and the people of Gedling first before all the politics of everything.”