Anger over combined authority delay

Burnley Town Hall
Burnley Town Hall

The leader of Burnley Borough Council has spoken of his frustration at the Government’s lack of response over progress to create a Lancashire Combined Authority.

A letter was written to Secretary of State Sajid Javid more than two months ago but despite receiving several acknowledgements the Lancashire councils are no clearer on what direction the Government wants them to take.

The body was due to be formally created at the start of April but a focus on Brexit and pushing through existing devolution deals has seemingly held up the process for Lancashire to the detriment of the county.

Coun. Mark Townsend, leader of Burnley Council, said: “I would like to underline and emphasise my personal frustration that the slow pace of progress is holding Burnley and the rest of Lancashire back.

“I would like to see a prompt and positive response to Lancashire’s proposals from the Secretary of State.

Council leaders across Lancashire are keen to work in partnership with national government through agreeing structures and devolution of powers which will be good for local people and the economy.

“Over the coming weeks, I will be talking to local business leaders and others about this issue. I am sure that many of them will want to join me in lobbying government decision makers to get on with it, so that key issues facing Lancashire can be addressed by the people who are really committed to tackling them – local, democratically elected representatives working together for the all the residents.”

Fourteen of the 15 Lancashire councils have been meeting on a monthly basis in shadow form since last summer.

A Lancashire Plan is being developed, which sets out the key priorities for the county, and it was expected that the formal Combined Authority would be created on April 1st.