County could be ‘left behind’ other areas

Coun Alistair Bradley
Coun Alistair Bradley
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The leader of Chorley Council believes Lancashire could be left behind if it does not form a combined authority - after another council leader hit out at the plans.

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, said he would be recommending his council votes to opt out of the proposals to create a Lancashire combined authority.

“We will be left behind if Lancashire doesn’t come forward with a combined authority.”

Coun Alistair Bradley

He said the proposals have “nothing in it for us except cost”.

But Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, fears the county could be left behind other parts of the country if it does not go ahead.

And he hopes that Coun Gibson will reconsider.

Coun Bradley said: “We will be left behind if Lancashire doesn’t come forward with a combined authority.

“There are 38 other areas in the country who have applied for combined authority or devolution status, about a dozen in the north of England.

“All these areas are getting their act together.

“We in Lancashire sat down for 12 to 18 months and said we wanted to work together.

“Sometimes we have to give things away and work as a team.

“I don’t really understand where Wyre are coming from.

“There are other areas giving things up to pursue this.

“We have to subsume our own council’s ambitions because we will get more working together than working alone.”

Talks have been going on between the 15 councils in the county, which includes district, unitary and the county council, to create a framework to enable closer working on issues such as transport and economic growth.

Following the discussions, members of Chorley Council will be able to have their say at a full council meeting on Tuesday, November 24.

Coun Bradley said: “At the moment all the councils in Lancashire have met.

“We have now been tasked to go to our own councils to get permission to go to the next stage, which will be to consult residents and look at moving towards a more organised way of working together.”

And Coun Bradley is keen for both councillors and residents to give their views on the proposals.

He said: “I want Chorley Council to say what they think. I want the residents, when we consult them in the new year, to say what they think.

“I can’t make that decision on my own.”

Work is also continuing looking at how public services will be delivered in Chorley in future. One option is Chorley leaving Lancashire County Council and becoming a unitary authority.