KINVER and Stourton will not be joining Stourbridge as part of the new West Midlands Combined Authority.

Following a meeting of South Staffordshire Council yesterday evening (October 6), councillors decided against joining the emerging authority.

It was said that the benefits of becoming a member would be ‘unclear’ for people in South Staffordshire.

However, the council reaffirmed its support for the combined authority and what it called the ‘exciting proposals’ being developed to strengthen the West Midlands economy.

Councillor Brian Edwards, leader of the council and Stourton resident, said: “I know I speak for everyone in South Staffordshire when I say that a thriving Black Country and Birmingham economy is something we all want to see.

“South Staffordshire prides itself in its effective partnership working and we would very much like the positive relationship with, particularly the Black Country councils, to continue with the formation of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

“However, we believe it is unlikely that South Staffordshire Council would add much to the combined authority, and, in return, it would add little over and above current arrangements for South Staffordshire Council, its residents and its businesses.

“Indeed, one of our priorities remains to protect South Staffordshire’s unique character and green belt areas while economic prosperity increases.

“We will continue to support the improvement and development of major infrastructure works of regional significance within the WMCA area, for example Birmingham Airport.

“We will also continue to act in a responsible and neighbourly way in terms of developments that cannot be accommodated within the West Midlands Combined Authority area, but are critical to its future prosperity.”