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More councils could bid for unitary status

Chorley's MP. Lindsay Hoyle, and the leader of Chorley Council, Coun Alistair Bradley, announcing the unitary proposal

Chorley's MP. Lindsay Hoyle, and the leader of Chorley Council, Coun Alistair Bradley, announcing the unitary proposal

 

Several councils are following Chorley’s lead by considering bidding to become unitary authorities.

The Guardian revealed last month that town hall bosses are looking at pulling out of Lancashire County Council.

Residents could have their say in a referendum in May.

Other council leaders have since revealed they would also like unitary status.

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, would like to follow neighbouring

lackpool by leaving Lancashire County Council.

He said: “I support Chorley totally on this.

“I, like the leader of Chorley, just don’t believe the two-tier authorities work. The top tier tenders to be overly bureaucratic, they tend to be less responsive and they can’t act like smaller authorities.”

Coun Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, hopes to make a fresh bid for unitary status after previous bids failed.

He said: “What has happened with Chorley has prompted us to have another look at it.”

And Tim Farron, South Lakes MP, has called for a public debate on whether South Lakeland should do the same.

He said: “We are all looking at Chorley Council and I think that this could offer us real opportunities for South Lakeland.”

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “The announcement that Wyre, and the local authorities in Cumbria, would like to separate from the two-tier system of local government is interesting because it shows that other councils feel it’s important to have a proper review of how things are run locally to get the best for residents.”

Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Chorley is an integral part of Lancashire that we’re very proud to serve.

“Government funding is increasingly based on efficient economies of scale and any move to a smaller council would disadvantage Chorley in this respect.”

 

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