From Lancashire’s first rubber road to wildlife and levelling up; County Council news in brief

It’s been a busy week at county hall; here’s the latest news from Lancashire County Council.

By Nicola Adam
Sunday, 5th June 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:08 pm

Adult social care:

The changing needs of adults who use social care and the ways providers can support them are being considered by a new county council group. The Market Shaping and Commissioning Group met for the first time this week. Its role is to look at how Lancashire's care market currently operates and investigate how services can be modernised to offer the best choices for people who need support. Challenges facing providers and the support available to ensure they can continue to operate effectively are also being considered.

Lancashire County Council commissions services from around 800 providers, who support more than 35,000 carers and adults in their homes, in the community and at various residential services. The county council spends more than £456m a year to fund these services. In 2021/22, the council spent 40% of its annual revenue budget on adult social care.

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Tree planting at Hollins, Downham

Rubber roads:

Lancashire County Council has been trialling an innovative asphalt mix using granulated rubber from tyres created by Tarmac and recently resurfaced Abingdon Road, Padiham.

The addition of the ground tyre rubber means that less fossil fuel derived bitumen is used, as well as less energy due to the lower temperatures used. It delivers the same performance and surface characteristics as traditional materials but it is more environmentally friendly.

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Lancashire County Council said: “This material not only has environmental benefits, but it can also help to reduce cracking and increase flexibility in the road. "It's a priority for us to reduce our carbon footprint in maintaining Lancashire's roads by using new materials and technologies, and this year we are predicted to save 332 tonnes of CO2 through these new innovative processes throughout the County."

Left_R_ Alex Atkinson, head of service for Safenet; CC Alan Cullens, lead member for community and cultural services for LCC; Helene Cooper, policy, information and commissioning manager for LCC

Numeracy:

Plans to deliver a new £5.9m skills programme aimed at boosting adult numeracy in Lancashire are moving forward, with the county council's cabinet set to agree the next steps. The government’s flagship Multiply programme is coming in Autumn in 2022 and will be delivered through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which replaces the European Structural and Investment Fund programme. The programme is targeted at adults aged 19+ who do not have a GSCE at Grade 4 (or equivalent). It aims to help people improve their ability to understand and use maths in daily life – from improving household finances, helping children with homework, and improving employability/job prospects.

Locally devolved funds will be complemented by a digital on-line learning platform that is being developed by the Department for Education. A funding formula has been used to allocate funds to local areas, with Lancashire being earmarked £5.9m. In return for funding, the government expects local areas to measurably improve adult functional numeracy levels locally.

Wildlife:

The site of a new technique using recycled car tyres to resurface roads was recently visited by Anthony Higginbotham MP for Burnley. Lancashire County Council has been trialling an innovative asphalt mix using granulated rubber created by Tarmac and recently resurfaced Abingdon Road, Padiham.

New small grants for mini wildlife projects aimed at protecting species and habitats across Lancashire are set to be introduced. The grants are part of a new scheme, which would see £58,000 made available to parish and town councils to support biodiversity and nature projects in their area. Councils opting into the scheme would each receive £300 to fund work ranging from bat boxes and bug hotels, to rain gardens and 'living walls'. The scheme is part of Lancashire County Council's plans to help nature recover.

Harris Museum redevelopment:

The redevelopment of the Harris in Preston has taken a significant step forward this week, with councillors approving £750,000 now that delivery of project is ready to commence. The iconic Grade 1 listed building owned by Preston City Council, which runs the museum and art gallery housed within the building. Lancashire County Council leases 40% of the building to house the largest library in its library service. In 2015, the city council and county council established the Re-Imagining the Harris project, with the aim of transforming the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library. It is part of the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, a transformational development programme led by the city council that will be delivered between 2021 and 2026.

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Levelling up:

Lancashire's £50m bid to the Government's Levelling Up Fund is edging closer, with senior councillors discussing the county council's plans this week ahead of the July deadline. The Levelling Up Fund is designed to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK. The £4.8bn fund will support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets. If Lancashire's bid is successful, it could secure up to £50 million to develop a range of complementary projects that would significantly improve the quality of life and opportunities for people across East Lancashire.

Domestic abuse:

An event to showcase the domestic abuse services commissioned by Lancashire County Council has been held. The Partnership Launch and Celebration Event, held at the Gujarat Centre in Preston, brought local organisations together to promote the new services, which have been introduced to ensure that residents of Lancashire have access to a comprehensive range of services that can support individuals and families experiencing domestic abuse. These services include providing different types of safe accommodation, including sanctuary schemes, which allow survivors to continue to live safely in their own home. The county council is also continuing its funding for refuges, which support people in crisis situations.

For more in-depth reporting on Lancashire County Council issues keep on eye on your lep.co.uk