The first metro mayor of the West of England will need a vision for the city region and clear strategic, deliverable policies to meet it.
The challenge and workload will be considerable, with powers and expectations ranging from delivering policy, to establishing the institutions and capacity for effective city region governance. This briefing outlines priorities for the West of England and offers steps to help the new metro mayor effect change in their first term.
Not all of these policy priorities can be enacted immediately: some will be quick and visible, while others will reflect a longer term vision for the city region.
- A ‘quick win’ will help the mayor to set the tone for delivery right from the start. Delivering results quickly will build trust, and show what the metro mayor is able to do for the city-region. The best ‘quick wins’ in these circumstances are high profile and of value to citizens.
- Strategic decisions form the framework for delivering the metro mayor’s vision. As such, the mayor will have the power to take the decisions that will make the most of the new geography of governance. While the mayor will be keen to show progress towards their vision, strategic decisions will often take longer to show outcomes, therefore careful evaluation is needed to allow for flexibility and to demonstrate the effects.
- A long term vision for the city will be the key election platform – it is what the mayor is working towards while in office. This should be ambitious, but reflect the real needs and potential of the city. Some aspects of the vision will be achievable within the mayor’s term in office, while others will build momentum or signal a change in direction. It is important to be clear and strike the balance of where each policy lies on this spectrum.
Policy priority 1: A quick win
Get more homes built
- Signal your intent to build more homes by developing a more ambitious strategic plan for the city region
- Use the mandate and political capital of office to call for a strategic review of local green belts
- Look for ways to make development attractive for sceptical communities
- Widen the scope of the Bristol Land Commission to the city region
Policy priority 2: A strategic aim
Build the profile of the West of England economy
- Promote the businesses and amenities of the West of England across the UK
- Build international links to make it easier for firms to trade following Brexit
- Represent a range of industries where firms benefit from international links
- Build on the profile of West of England’s globally recognised universities
- Ensure that a higher national and international profile also translates into benefits for communities across the city region
Policy priority 3: A longer term vision
Investing in transport to make the city region more accessible
- Take ownership of the Joint Transport Strategy findings
- Ensure transport helps to make a coherent city region for all residents
- Review the strategic decisions on rail extensions bringing together decision makers in City Hall.
- Champion the West of England’s cycling and walking culture