Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Powerhouse minister backs Lancs unitary bid

  • Comment

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry has voiced support for a unitary reorganisation proposal in Lancashire.

Mr Berry told the north west edition of the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme that some reorganisation was needed in the area, where he is MP for nearby Rossendale and Darwen.

jake berry

jake berry

Jake Berry

Pendle BC last week backed a motion from its Conservative opposition to explore whether a unitary could be created.

The motion left the area that could be involved undefined but suggested nearby councils might also wish to join.

It said: “The people of Pendle would be better served by one unitary authority, rather than the two-tier [system]. This would cut bureaucracy, cut the number of councillors, provide a more joined up approach and ensure that services currently commissioned in Preston would be delivered locally.”

The motion committed Pendle to request unitary status from communities secretary Sajid Javid and to “contact other local councils in east Lancashire and North Yorkshire to see what appetite there would be to work together for such a move”.

Mr Berry said: “I think Pendle is right to look at what is best to drive value for money, and some sort of merger of the borough councils, some local government reorganisation in east Lancashire, would deliver the best services and better value for money but it’s for the local area to decide what it wants.”

An east Lancashire unitary was first proposed in 2014 by former foreign secretary Jack Straw, who was then MP for Blackburn and felt that the area had needs distinct from the rest of the county.

He suggested it should cover Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale BCs.

There was a mixed response from the councils affected and the idea faded when Lancashire councils – and unitaries Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool BC – decided to pursue a combined authority.

That faltered last year when some councils withdrew their support.

A Lancashire CC statement said the unitary issue was a matter for Pendle.

 

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.