Chorley gives thumbs up to Combined Authority
COUNCILLORS in Chorley gave their overwhelming support for a Lancashire Combined Authority, agreeing to join forces with other councils to gauge public opinion in the county.
Chorley Council was the third authority in Lancashire to debate the proposals and gave unanimous backing to the idea, urging all the other councils to do the same.
Members stated it was essential the county worked together on key strategic topics such as transport and economic development and the next step is to go out to public consultation.
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “A Combined Authority would help to improve the economy in Lancashire and see more money coming in so we can compete with other areas for inward investment.
“It will allow for greater accountability and give all areas of Lancashire an equal say on what happens here.
“To put it another way we all get a slice of the ‘Lancashire pie’ and the Combined Authority is about making that pie bigger, so we get a bigger slice.”
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.
It would see the councils working together on some of the wider issues such as transport, economic development, housing and regeneration.
“One of the aims is to create a place where people want to invest and create jobs – if we can work together and make sure people in our county have the right skills we will be a much more attractive proposition to investors.
“Likewise, we’ve seen a lot of plans to improve transport links across the country – if we can work together across the county it will allow us to have a transport system that makes it easier to get around and we can make sure that the national infrastructure improvements for the north aren’t just focussed around the M62 corridor.
“In Chorley we have seen some concern with new bus timetables and routes – if we are working as a Combined Authority it will give us more influence and a better chance of working with the operators to provide a service that residents want.”
Councils will be taking reports to their full council between now and Christmas with a consultation planned for January if councils support the proposals.