There is no 'back door' plan to create a mayor for Berkshire, Wokingham Borough Council’s leader has insisted.

Stephen Conway made the promise as councillors voted to join Berkshire’s six other major councils in working together to attract businesses and investment to the county.

Councillor Conway said the proposed new Berkshire Prosperity Board is ‘emphatically not a back door route to a mayor of Berkshire'.

The new board will be made up of Berkshire’s six ‘unitary’ authorities – West Berkshire, Reading Borough, Wokingham Borough, Bracknell Forest, Slough Borough, and Windsor and Maidenhead.

Wokingham Borough Council documents say none of those councils want a regional mayor, similar to ones that exist in areas such as Greater Manchester or Teesside.

But the documents do say that setting up the prosperity board could prepare Berkshire for possible future proposals to transfer some government powers to regions and counties.

Councillor Conway said that joining the board would not mean Wokingham Borough Council would lose its independence or have to follow decisions by the other Berkshire councils. He said all six councils would have to agree with any decision the board makes.

He said: “The prosperity board will make decisions on the basis of unanimity so no council has any reason to fear that its interests will be overridden by the others.

“The decision making powers and the sovereignty of the six unitaries will be unaffected.”

He added: “The likely rewards are great while the cost of running the board and commissioning expert advice will be small and shared by all.”

Councillors from all parties voted in favour of the proposals unanimously on Thursday, February 22.