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Lancs devo bid slips as council mulls leaving

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A second council is set to break ranks with the proposed Lancashire Combined Authority.

Fylde BC leader Sue Fazackerley (Con) said her ruling group was yet to take a final decision, but was “unconvinced regarding the benefits for Fylde of progressing with membership of the Lancashire Combined Authority”.

The council would continue to co-operate with neighbours particularly on economic growth, transport and infrastructure whether or not it formally left the combined authority, she said.

Wyre BC decided in 2015 to shun the bid, which includes the remainder of Lancashire, Blackpool BC and Blackburn with Darwen BC.

Councils still involved said the combined authority bid could go ahead without Fylde and Wyre, but the timetable for its formation had slipped due to delays in Whitehall.

They said in a joint statement: “Pressure on civil servants to deliver the existing devolution deals means Lancashire will have to wait…until the summer for progress to be made on the formal order, after originally expecting to move to formal combined authority status in April.”

Blackpool leader Simon Blackburn (Lab), who chairs the shadow combined authority, said: “It is disappointing that we’ve been left waiting by the Government for news of when things will progress and we now face having to wait a little longer but it’s out of our hands.

“I wrote to the secretary of state last month seeking reassurance of their support to progress a Lancashire Combined Authority and I am yet to receive a response.”

Cllr Blackburn hoped Fylde would remain part of the bid, but added: “All the councils have been really supportive of the direction we are going but it’s inevitable that if the government is delaying things that some people will start to question whether or not it’s going to happen.”

 

 

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