Four Lancashire councils 'seek advice' on becoming unitary authority

Council offices in Burnley, Blackburn, Nelson and Bacup Image copyright R Wade/R Knapman/Geograph/Google
Image caption The four councils want to come together to redevelop Pennine Lancashire

Four Lancashire councils have asked the government for "advice" on how to become one "super" unitary authority.

In a letter, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale's leaders said they wanted to "pool resources" as "Pennine Lancashire".

The new authority would be "more efficient" and could be a "big voice in the Northern Powerhouse", they added.

The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) has declined to comment.

In the letter to DHCLG Secretary of State James Brokenshire, Councillors Paul White, Mohammed Khan, Alyson Barnes and Mark Townsend said the plan was "far bigger" than simply proposing a new unitary authority and would enable them to strike a deal to redevelop the area.

"Whilst our area is a manufacturing powerhouse, it also has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country," they wrote.

"This has gone on for too long. We believe with an ambitious plan and our drive... we [can] deliver the very best for our residents."

Pendle leader Mr White said the plan would "give real strength" to the area, "allow us to be a big voice in the Northern Powerhouse" and result in "better services for all residents".

Rossendale leader Ms Barnes added that the "delay, duplication and waste" that exists within the current system was "simply not acceptable", while Mr Khan said "pooling" Blackburn with Darwen with the other councils "would give Pennine Lancashire more opportunities to keep investing in close to half a million people".

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