Engagement with London and the Wider South East

The East of England LGA has increased its efforts to facilitate engagement with London and the Wider South East (WSE) on issues of strategic importance. This is a key element of the association’s work on behalf of our members. We are working hard to build a positive relationship and forum for discussion so that a more equal relationship between the East of England, London and the South East can be fostered and the core issues facing local authorities across the three regions can be tackled effectively.

What do we want to achieve?

  • Building political engagement and trust across the WSE on future growth and economic potential.
  • Harnessing the collective strength of the Wider South East Partners to make the case for strategic infrastructure investment and progress identified schemes of mutual benefit.
  • Working together to engage with central government and wider partners to deliver housing and economic benefits across the WSE.

Our offer to Member Councils and Stakeholders in the East

By working together with London and the South East, councils across the East of England can have a better understanding of London’s influence on economic growth, housing and demographic trends. Rather than forming a new planning tier, our work is focused on evidence and collaboration (including market responses to growth through business-to-business linkages and commuting patterns). We aim to:

  • Engage/influence the Mayor of London’s Review of the London Plan,
  • Undertake effective duty to cooperate and deliver on local plans, and
  • Inspire confidence in the private sector to invest in areas outside of London.

Our offer to the Greater London Authority and Councils in London

We understand that the extent to which councils in the East are willing and able to cooperate with their counterparts in London, will impact London’s ability to bring to life its economic ambitions for the Capital. We aim to:

  • Facilitate political and officer level engagement between the GLA and councils in the East of England, including on the London Plan Review; and
  • Work together with the GLA on joint strategic priorities, such as barriers to housing delivery and infrastructure investment.

Our offer to Central Government

Our aim is to be a collective, constructive partner in helping Government to develop and deliver policy. We understand that Central Government increasingly wants to see councils and the private sector working together on the biggest challenges facing the economy, and we are confident that the WSE collaboration effort harnesses the collective strength of the three biggest economies in England to tackle the most important economic challenges facing local authorities across the country, those of housing delivery and infrastructure investment.  We ask central government to assist our collaborative effort by;

  • Taking action to boost the efforts of councils and private sector partners who are working hard to take practical steps to deliver new homes. 
  • At the heart of this, essential infrastructure needs to be in place to support new residents and businesses. 


Governance and Key Areas of Activity

In 2015, at a joint summit in London, leaders from across the Wider South East agreed to set up a small WSE political steering group. The all-tier executive political steering group has geographical and cross party political representation from across the WSE, with members nominated by the East of England LGA, South East England Councils, London Councils and the Mayor of London. See membership here. The purpose of this political steering group is to progress the priority issues identified by the wider membership at the WSE joint Summits, and includes:

  • Preparation and timing of the full review of the London Plan
  • Achieving a common understanding of the data/evidence base
  • Addressing barriers to housing delivery
  • Making the case for strategic infrastructure investment

An East of England Growth and Infrastructure Group has also been established and is made up of the elected members from the East of England that sit on the WSE Political Steering Group, plus their substitutes and the two East of England lead chief executives, John Wood (Hertfordshire County Council) and Russell Williams (Ipswich Borough Council). The purpose of the Infrastructure and Growth Group is to:

  • discuss strategic issues pertinent to the East of England relevant to the WSE collaborative effort;
  • provide leadership and direction to the East of England element of the WSE collaboration work programme; 
  • oversee the activities of the East of England SSPOLG, and
  • act as a conduit between the WSE political steering group and the wider membership of the East of England LGA.

A copy of the governance structure as it relates to WSE collaboration can be viewed here

Making the case for strategic infrastructure in the East and Wider South East

The Wider South East (WSE) Political Steering Group (PSG) have agreed an initial list of 13 infrastructure schemes/corridors that are of strategic significance for the economic prosperity of the East of England, South East and London. Through joint lobbying, the PSG aim to draw on their collective strength to support the future economic success of the three regions and continue fostering stronger partnership working. 

  1. East West Rail, and new road link (Oxford –Cambridge)
  2. Felixstowe to Midlands (Felixstowe to Nuneaton Rail – F2N – and A14 Capacity Improvements)
  3. North Downs Rail Link (Gatwick – Reading) and extension to Oxford
  4. A27/M27/A259 and rail corridor (Dover – Southampton)
  5. West Anglia Corridor and Crossrail 2 North (London – Stansted-Cambridge-Peterborough)
  6. Great Eastern Corridor 
  7. Thames Gateway Essex: C2C and Crossrail 2 – Eastern Branch (London – South Essex / London  Gateway Port)
  8. Thames Gateway Kent: Crossrail 1 extension East and HS1 route (London – North Kent – Channel Tunnel)
  9. Lower Thames Crossing
  10.  Brighton Mainline (London – Gatwick – Brighton)
  11. South West Mainline and Crossrail 2 South West (London – Surrey / southern access to Heathrow)
  12. Great Western Mainline (London – Reading / western access to Heathrow)
  13. Midlands and West Coast Mainline (London – Luton – Bedford / Milton Keynes)

On 31 March 2017, the Wider South East (WSE) Political Steering Group agreed to promote the collective infrastructure priorities of the WSE, through the promotion of collective infrastructure priorities of the WSE and by supporting scheme/corridor specific opportunities.

For further information please contact Kate O'driscoll, Policy and Secretariat Manager
East of England Local Government Association (Kate.Odriscoll@eelga.gov.uk)