Published December 10, 2015 at 9:49
Councillors in Rossendale decided last night at the Council meeting to progress with consultation plans on joining forces with Local Authorities across Lancashire to create a Combined Authority.
Councillors were asked to note the progress made so far and decide on whether they want to agree in principle to the Combined Authority and take part in a public consultation early in the New Year, which they did.
Councillor Alyson Barnes, Leader of Rossendale Borough Council, said: “All the Councils in Lancashire have been discussing the idea of a Combined Authority for some time now. The approval decision we have taken on this for Rossendale is a great step towards achieving a combined authority for the benefit of Rossendale and all of Lancashire.
“This won’t result in councils merging or drastically changing what we are doing. The idea of a Combined Authority is for councils to work together on some of the bigger issues such as creating jobs, housing, transport and making sure residents have the right skills. It will also be of a huge benefit to Rossendale that we have a strong voice in these discussions for Lancashire.”
A combined authority is a legal body that means Councils across a designated area, in this case Lancashire, can work together better and be more accountable to residents.
All 12 district Councils, as well as Lancashire County Council and the two unitary authorities – Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool Councils – have been involved in the process.
The move could see Lancashire Councils gain more power from Central Government and provide a stronger voice for Lancashire.
Each of the Lancashire councils are expected to take a report to their full council between now and Christmas with South Ribble, Blackburn with Darwen, Chorley, Blackpool and Hyndburn already signed up to the scheme to date.
The only exception is Wyre Council, which has so far indicated it does not want to take the proposal any further. Discussions are continuing to find a way forward so that Wyre Council will join the rest of the authorities in seeking public opinion on a Combined Authority for Lancashire.
Formal consultation with the public on a Combined Authority for Lancashire is planned to start in January, following the outcome of all Lancashire Councils seeking approval from their Council meetings.