An independent Commission of Inquiry is to consider whether Hull’s tightly-drawn boundary is a barrier to the future economic growth and prosperity across the sub-region.
Ten influential figures from Hull and the East Riding will make up the Commission, which will be chaired by Tom Martin, President of Hull company Arco, who has extensive experience in both the public and private sector across both local authority areas.
The other nine members of the commission are:
- Lord Norton of Louth, Professor of Government at the University of Hull
- Richard Brookes, President, Hull University Union
- Honorary Alderman Patrick Doyle
- Emma Latimer, Chief Officer, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group
- Dr Ian Kelly, Chief Executive, Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce
- Peter McGurn, Chief Executive Officer, Goodwin Development Trust
- Ian Mills, Founder and Managing Director of SMSR
- Professor Mike C Jackson OBE, Emeritus Professor of Management Systems at Hull University Business School
- David Gibbs, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Hull
Mr. Martin said: “This is a serious attempt to consider the effect of Hull’s existing boundary on the economy and job creation and, if this is detrimental, to look at how a change of boundary could be for the benefit of the whole area.
“To do this we will draw on the expertise of the members of the Commission and examine all of the evidence available both nationally and locally. We are totally open-minded and will listen to and consider all of the facts, figures and evidence put forward.”
There is some existing evidence, including research conducted by Centre for Cities, that Hull’s boundary does have a negative impact on the local economy. The Inquiry will consider new evidence and research that takes into account the changes Hull has seen over recent years. Anyone will be able to submit evidence to the Commission, which will start work within the next few weeks and is expected to report back at the end of 2014.
Darryl Stephenson, Hull City Council Chief Executive, said:
“Now is an opportune time to conduct an Inquiry, as the City's regeneration makes great strides forward, and as the local government and regional government scene has changed with City Deals, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Single Local Growth Fund and Combined Authorities. The existing set up potentially leaves the City at a disadvantage which in turn will affect the sub-region and prospects for jobs.
“The Inquiry will help us understand how we can best serve residents and continue to grow the economy and create jobs in both Hull and the East Riding.”
If the Commission finds that the existing boundaries are detrimental to the local economy, it will advise on four options:
- combining the existing Hull and East Riding councils into one, new local authority;
- keeping two councils but combining certain functions such as planning, tourism and economic regeneration;
- extending the City boundary to encompass the bordering built-up areas, and/or;
- extending the City boundary to encompass some of the travel to work area as well as the bordering built-up areas
The Commission’s research will be supported by INLOGOV (Institute of Local Government Studies), an academic centre for research and teaching on local governance and strategic public management.
If the evidence shows the area would benefit from changes to the City boundary then the outcome of the Inquiry will be handed over to the Boundary Commission for England, who may then decide to consult local people and organisations on their views. A decision on any change to the City boundary would require granting via the Secretary of State.