Powys County Council has signed a groundbreaking agreement with three other English and Welsh local authorities.

The Marches Forward Partnership became a reality at an official event on Friday, November 10, held at Hay Castle on the Welsh and English border.  The new partnership sees Powys County Council join forces with Herefordshire Council, Monmouthshire County Council and Shropshire Council, to take on some of the big challenges they all share. 

The four local authorities will now work even more closely together with both UK and Welsh governments to progress this exciting cross border collaboration.

This will include working jointly to secure funding support from both governments as well as with a wide range of other partners to unlock more investment and explore new approaches to make major projects that benefit the Marches region become reality. 

Covering 80 per cent of the English/Welsh borderland, the local authorities have similar characteristics and geography as well as an overriding mutual ambition for the region as a whole.  The Partnership provides a unique commitment to work cross border, cross country and cross party on major projects that are in the overall best interests of the region.

Transport, skills and housing, alongside energy, climate change, tourism and digital connectivity are high on the agenda, all common issues for the area’s population of almost 750,000.  By working together the four local authorities hope to deliver cross border successes and unlock millions of pounds for identified initiatives that support the Marches rural economy and green growth.

Cllr James Gibson-Watt, Leader of Powys County Council, said: “We are really enthusiastic about what we can achieve by working together.  In our planning stages we are already benefiting from stronger links between authorities, as well as improved partnerships with both familiar and new organisations.  People want to talk to us and that’s a fantastic start.

“These are very early days but we’ve already agreed that each authority will lead on different themes and our asks to government will be evidence-led and community focused.  It’s so important that we focus on where we can make the biggest difference and we move at pace from turning ambitions into actions.

“As a partnership we have so much in common and I’m excited about what the future holds.”