The fierce sporting rivalry between Derby and Nottingham is one we’re all familiar with.
But while the battles on the football pitch are keenly contested, the economic reality of our situation is a little different: our two cities are closely linked. In fact, more than 40,000 people commute between Derby and Nottingham every day.
What is more, Derby and Nottingham is one of the top 30 population centres in Europe and together represent one of the most significant urban areas in the UK, so it makes sense for us to work together.
Last year, Derby and Nottingham City Councils were at the forefront of those local authorities calling for closer co-operation across the region. Unfortunately, a small number of local MPs did not share our vision, so we were unable to secure a full devolution deal from the Government.
However, we’ve not allowed that to deter our ambition of delivering shared prosperity for the East Midlands. That’s why together with the Leader of Nottingham City Council, Councillor Jon Collins, I launched the Derby and Nottingham Metropolitan Strategy 2030, which will form the blueprint for a closer working relationship between our two great cities.
In both Derby and Nottingham, local authority budgets are under enormous pressure. But together we believe that we can make our limited resources go further. Through closer cooperation, we can make the most of opportunities like HS2, play a leading role in the Midlands Engine and attract foreign trade and investment to the region.
By 2030, Derby and Nottingham will have a global reputation as a great place to live, visit, do business and learn. We’ve broken down the Metropolitan Strategy into four key areas:
Derby is already a hub for state of the art transport engineering, while Nottingham is home to high profile professional services businesses and a centre for the life sciences sector. But we want to promote Derby and Nottingham as a place to invest. We will support businesses to innovate, diversify, find new markets and strengthen supply chains.
By focusing on our key sectors, we will develop the skills that local businesses need to thrive. We want to ensure that local people are given the opportunity to develop skills and realise their aspirations across the Derby and Nottingham area.
We will improve connections between our two cities by developing key transport corridors and applying new technology to tackle shared challenges such as emissions and congestion. By working together, we can integrate the proposed HS2 station at Toton and East Midlands Airport into our wider transport infrastructure.
We want to make both cities great places to live and visit. That’s why we will be exploring a shared leisure and cultural offer that allows residents to make use of the fantastic resources available in both cities, from parks, sports facilities, theatres, galleries and museums.
The Metropolitan Strategy is not just about long-term investment and growth, it’s also about making life better for all those people who live and work in Derby and Nottingham. For example, we are already exploring ways to introduce ticketing options that allow fast, efficient and affordable travel between the two cities.
It’s clear to both Councillor Collins and I that the Derby and Nottingham Metropolitan Strategy 2030 will be good for our cities, our citizens and our wider economy. It presents opportunities that neither city can afford to miss.
But despite this spirit of cooperation, when Derby next play Forest in December, I’ll still be hoping for a comprehensive victory for the Rams.