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Good news for jobs and homes as councils unite

PUBLISHED: 11:35 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:05 23 August 2010

SIGNING: Communities Secretary John Denham MP adds his name to the project.

SIGNING: Communities Secretary John Denham MP adds his name to the project.

COUNCILS are to work together to improve employment, skills, housing and transport in the area. Communities Secretary John Denham MP was at The Bridge project in Dartford along with council leaders from across North West Kent to sign the paperwork. Th

COUNCILS are to work together to improve employment, skills, housing and transport in the area.

Communities Secretary John Denham MP was at The Bridge project in Dartford along with council leaders from across North West Kent to sign the paperwork.

The Government has vowed to help authorities work together to achieve common benefits through new multi-area agreements (MAAs).

Speaking at the event last Thursday Mr Denham said: "Today's agreement will mean north Kent's five councils and partners will have more power locally to deliver jobs, training, welfare support and economic resilience for the region.

"This will help to deliver 58,000 jobs and 52,000 new homes by 2026 as part of the wider growth of the Thames Gateway.

"The issues affecting people's lives don't stop neatly at local authorities' boundaries and MAAs are allowing councils to work together to mastermind regional solutions to meet the priorities and needs of their communities.

"By joining forces through councils will also avoid unnecessary duplication helping to ensure that taxpayers' money is being worked as hard as possible."

As a result of the MAA authorities will examine ways of getting quicker and more certain delivery of transport infrastructure by, for example, streamlining appraisals.

It will also include helping to shape the arrangements for the future sustainability of Fastrack bus service and looking at the scope for rolling it out elsewhere.

The signing took place at The Nucleus business centre, part of The Bridge, the £500 million integrated commercial and residential development.

Dartford Borough Council leader Jeremy Kite said: "This MAA has been many months in the preparation and its signing today is a real milestone."

Gravesham Borough Council leader Councillor Mike Snelling said: "This is an essential partnership for growth areas, such as the Thames Gateway, if community objectives are to be fully achieved.

"It is also a partnership where all parties, including Government, have to work hard to fulfil their pledges and look for new and innovative solutions to the inevitable challenges which will arise.

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