Four Council Leaders have today written to the Government and their respective MP’s, seeking their backing for big ambitions which would see the areas they represent totally transformed.
The Leaders of Rossendale, Pendle, Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley Councils have written a joint letter which requests support for a new Unitary Council which would cover all four of those areas.
The cross party alliance of Council Leaders say that their plan would see their areas move from being remembered as the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, to being reborn as the Industrial HQ of the Northern Powerhouse.
Each one of the four Council areas have had to make savings which those Leaders say are making some of their Councils unviable, but they argue that this is about how they can improve services, and grow the economy as well as ensure they have a financially viable Council for the future.
As part of the plan, the team have also told Government that they’d like to see them back a Pennine Lancashire Pilot Plan developed for the area which would work with the private sector to improve transport links, education and to help to raise aspiration across the area.
If agreed the move would mean that there would be a single Council for the four areas, which would also take on the responsibilities of Lancashire County Council, such as education, social health and highways.
The Leader of Burnley Council Mark Townsend said,
“It is great news that as East Lancashire Leaders we have put any differences we may have to one side and are working together for the benefit of the area as a whole. Burnley has been punching above its weight for a number of years but I know that it can do even better. A Pennine Lancashire Council will have the scale and influence to attract the inward investment needed to sustain quality services for residents and realise the Borough’s economic growth potential. Burnley needs a strong and unified East Lancashire to take it to the next level and whilst it’s early days I am excited at the potential benefits this proposal could bring to Burnley and the wider area”.