Council leader chosen to spearhead Lancashire bid

Simon Blackburn
Simon Blackburn
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Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has been chosen to spearhead moves towards the creation of a combined authority for Lancashire.

Coun Blackburn has been appointed chairman of the Shadow Combined Authority following the submission of a bid to the Government.

Vice-chairman is Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council.

Coun Blackburn said: “It’s a great honour to be chairing the group of councils as we venture into a new era of local government.

“It means we can set ourselves up as a county to take advantage of the huge opportunities that are there in the coming year as part of the Northern Powerhouse.

“By working together across the county on issues such as job creation, infrastructure and housing we can make sure we get the best deal for Lancashire residents.”

Over the next few months the Shadow Combined Authority will shape a plan for Lancashire, which will ultimately determine what the Combined Authority delivers should it get formal approval from the Government, which could be as early as spring next year.

Each council will still retain its own status and decision-making process but it will see all councils work closer together on issues that affect the whole of the county.

Coun Blackburn added: “We’ve seen other parts of the North West such as Liverpool and Manchester steal the limelight a bit when it comes to the Northern Powerhouse.

“By us in Lancashire working better together we can make sure we play a key part in any major investment in the region so that residents and businesses can reap the rewards.

“We’ll keep people updated with progress and the priorities remain to create a prosperous, connected and skilled Lancashire with better housing and public services that work together for the benefit of the people who live and work here.”

All the district, county and unitary councils in Lancashire are supporting the work, with the exception of Wyre Council whose leader Coun Peter Gibson has questioned the benefits of the move.

The proposals went out to consultation earlier this year and received majority support from residents.