Hyndburn urged to join East Lancs super council plan


COUNCIL bosses are being urged to reconsider joining forces with other East Lancashire boroughs to form a unitary authority.

Last month the leaders of Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale joined forces to lobby Government to set up a new unitary authority for Pennine Lancashire.

They sent a letter to local government secretary James Brokenshire calling for the new body to take control of all council services.

But Hyndburn Council leader, Cllr Miles Parkinson, did not back the campaign.

He said there was not any agreement across all of Lancashire for the proposal and added change would have to be imposed by central government.

Now Tory group leader on Hyndburn Council, Cllr Tony Dobson, is putting a motion to a full council meeting next week that Hyndburn should enter into negotiations to explore the benefits of an East Lancs unitary authority.

He said: “There are a mix of Labour and Conservative councils who have got together and decided there is something on the table here which is worth talking about.

“My disappointment is that Hyndburn would not even be at the table to find out what it’s all about and whether a unitary authority could provide better value for money for residents.

“We are not saying it’s a golden bullet and we should definitely go for it but we are saying we should be at the table and listening to the conversations.”

The motion reads: “That this council resolves to enter into first stage negotiations with the Secretary of State for Local Government and the other borough council leaders to explore the benefits of an East Lancashire

unitary authority and that a final decision to join the East Lancashire unitary authority is made by the council.”

Supporters of the plan say the new council, which would replace the existing local authorities, would help save cash by reducing in the number of officers and councillors.

The new authority would be modelled on Blackburn with Darwen Borough which split from Lancashire County Council in 1998 taking control of transport, education, children’s and adult social services and economic development.

If approved, it would scupper plans for a Lancashire Combined Authority similar to the Greater Manchester and Merseyside city regions.

Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale are second-tier authorities dealing with issues including local planning, refuse collection and litter with the county running major services.

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern and her Pendle counterpart, Andrew Stephenson, were both supportive of the plan.

But Lancashire County Council leader, Cllr Geoff Driver, said while the county council would consider the letter, there would be large costs involved in reorganising the strucure of local government in East Lancashire.

Former Pendle Council leader, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, said he was also in favour of moving to a Pennine Lancashire unitary authority.

He said government cuts meant Pendle Council could not survive as it currently stands and the only way to protect services for residents was to join forces with other councils.





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