“We will Fight Tooth and Nail to Stop this Crazy Plan for a Huge Unitary Council” say Pendle Liberals
Liberal Democrats in Pendle have vowed to fight tooth and nail against the “crazy plan” put forward at a closed-doors meeting by the Leader and Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council to carry out a complete reorganisation of local Councils in Lancashire within the next 12 months. They are calling on Andrew Stephenson, Conservative MP for Pendle and a Government Minister, to “put a stop to this completely stupid proposal”.
Pendle’s Liberal Democrat group leader David Whipp (who is also Deputy Leader of Pendle Council and leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Lancashire County Council) said: “If the Tories think they can just force this through under the cover of the Covid-19 crisis, they are mistaken. This plan for Mega Unitary Government is a Mug’s Game and we most people will be horrified. We will fight it tooth and nail.
“If this is approved, local people will lose control of local services as existing Boroughs such as Pendle, Burnley and Ribble Valley are closed down overnight and decisions taken in Town Halls many miles away.
“It’s clear that the Leader of the County Council is determined to drive through his agenda and create a supremo role of a so-called Lancashire Mayor that’ll concentrate power into the hands of a single person.
“We are calling on Pendle’s MP Andrew Stephenson to put a stop to this completely stupid proposal”.
Liberal Democrat peer Tony Greaves who is also a Pendle Councillor in Colne said: “Residents in Lancashire and the rest of the country are facing the worst crisis since the Second World War. What about dealing with Covid 19 and the economic crisis, rather than taking up everyone’s energy and time with a reorganisation that will itself cost millions of pounds? Putting everyone’s jobs at risk in a huge shake-up is hardly the best way to keep up their morale at this time.
“This is a calamity for local residents and it means the end of local democracy.”
At a behind-closed-doors meeting on Tuesday the Leader and Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council decided to submit a bid to create three sprawling mega “unitary” councils in the County.
These would be:
- Greater Blackburn – to include all of East Lancashire apart from Ribble Valley.
- Greater Blackpool – to include a vast area from Morecambe to Clitheroe and Gisburn.
- A sprawling Council in south-west Lancashire run from Preston.
There would in addition be an Elected Mayor for the whole of the area who would have overall control.
The County Council has an Urgency Committee to consider important matters, but no meeting was called to discuss the issue. The County Council as a whole has been given no chance to consider the idea.