Pendle residents urged to have say on ‘combined authority’ plan

Nelson Town Hall.'Photo Ben Parsons
Nelson Town Hall.'Photo Ben Parsons

Pendle residents and business owners now have the chance to have their say on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Lancashire stronger.

With the exception of Wyre Council, every local authority in Lancashire has pledged to seek public opinion on forming a combined authority for the county.

I’d describe it a bit like the Lancashire pie – at the moment all the councils have a slice of the Lancashire pie and what a combined authority would do is give us the chance to make that pie bigger so we all get a bigger slice!

Councillor

A six-week consultation started on Monday and will run until Friday, February 19th.

The services a combined authority would include are transport, economic development, housing and regeneration.

The plan is not about councils merging or the creation of a “super council” and each local authority would retain control of the services it currently provides.

Councillors backing the proposal believe combined authorities give councils a stronger voice to influence central government and draw down more powers, functions and funding to benefit the area and let locally elected people drive change.

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Council said: “Pendle Council and other councils across Lancashire have given the go-ahead to gauge public opinion and everyone is being encouraged to have their say.

“The bid to create a combined authority gained the support of all parties in Pendle when it was discussed in December.

“This is our opportunity to bring Lancashire together and make sure it is a key part of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

“Pendle would be an equal player at the table, giving us a strong voice for the area.

“This move could see Lancashire councils gain more power and more funding from central government.”

Coun. Alistair Bradley, chairman of the Council Leaders’ Group on Combined Authority matters, said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the authorities in Lancashire to work together and bring more investment and jobs into the area and make sure we don’t get left behind.

“It is a chance for us to take on some of the powers from central government and ensure that we have a bigger influence on what happens in our proud county.

“I’d describe it a bit like the Lancashire pie – at the moment all the councils have a slice of the Lancashire pie and what a combined authority would do is give us the chance to make that pie bigger so we all get a bigger slice!

“I know for some people it might seem like this is just another layer of bureaucracy and why should we bother taking part, but we’ve got to change the way we do things and I believe a combined authority would make savings and bring enormous benefits.

“I’d urge people to take the time to find out a bit more and tell us what they think because the feedback we receive will guide whether we go ahead with this proposal and we welcome any ideas and suggestions.

“People will be able to find out more information and take part in the survey on their local council website and hard copies of the information will be available in council offices and libraries. You can also join the debate online using the #LancsCA.”

Residents and business owners can have their say until February 19th and the survey can be found at www.pendle.gov.uk/combined
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