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Unitary bid is blasted as being an ‘ego trip’

Unitary: Councillor Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, and Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, at the launch of the unitary proposal

Unitary: Councillor Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, and Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, at the launch of the unitary proposal

Chorley Council will press ahead with plans to become a ‘go-it-alone’ unitary authority next week.

Councillors will meet to discuss a number of proposals – including stumping up £80,000 funding to investigate the move.

However, the ambitious plans have been slammed by the Conservative opposition leader to the Labour-controlled authority.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s special council meeting, which will be presented with a report on the unitary authority proposals, councillor Mark Perks stormed: “I am totally unconvinced the report even makes a sound case as to the whole rationale behind this proposal.

“Someone is on one big ego trip, to think Chorley could take on all the services currently performed by the county council. It will lead to Chorley residents paying more for less and that’s not very ambitious.

“At a time when many much larger unitary councils, such as Blackburn and Darwen or Blackpool, are struggling with their finances and are failing to make efficient economies of scale due to limitations in size, it goes against all current local government thinking in terms of joint services and ways of working.”

Councillor Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said that the council had a duty to provide the best for its residents.

He said: “We are facing some really challenging times ahead and the proposal to look at unitary status is not an ego trip but a way of seeing if there’s a better way we can provide services in the future as we cannot continue as we are.”

He added: “Rather than dismissing the idea out of hand I’d prefer a constructive debate on what the alternatives are if Councillor Perks doesn’t think this idea will work, although I realise that he may have a conflict of interest given his dual role serving on both authorities.”

 

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