Burnley and Pendle bid to quit Lancashire County Council and form 'Pennine' unitary with Blackburn and Rossendale

Burnley and Pendle Borough Councils are bidding to become part of a new super ‘Pennine’ unitary authority with Blackburn and Rossendale, which would see the areas quit Lancashire County Council.
Burnley and Pendle could form part of a new Pennine unitary authorityBurnley and Pendle could form part of a new Pennine unitary authority
Burnley and Pendle could form part of a new Pennine unitary authority

The four council leaders have written to the Government and their MPs seeking their backing for the big ambitions which would see radical changes at council level.The cross party alliance of leaders say that their ambitious plan would see their areas move from being remembered as the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution to being reborn as the 'Industrial HQ of the Northern Powerhouse'.Each one of the areas have had to make huge savings in recent years which those leaders say are making some of their councils unviable.They argue coming together would improve services and grow the economy as well as ensure they have a financially viable council for the future.They also want the Government back a Pennine Lancashire pilot plan which would work with the private sector to improve transport links and education.If agreed the move would mean there would be a single council for the four areas, which would also take on the responsibilities of the county council, such as education, social health and highways.Burnley Council leader Mark Townsend said: “Burnley has been punching above its weight for a number of years but I know it can do even better.“A Pennine Lancashire council will have the scale and influence to attract the investment needed to sustain services for residents and realise the borough’s economic growth potential.“Burnley needs a strong and unified East Lancashire to take it to the next level. I am excited at the potential benefits this proposal could bring.”Coun. Paul White, leader of Pendle Council, said: “This presents the most exciting opportunity for our area in decades. It would give real strength to the industrial heartland of Pennine Lancashire, and allow us to be a big voice in the Northern Powerhouse, boosting our economy and creating aspiration for future generations.“This gives us the opportunity to work with our neighbours who are similar to us, to get a great deal for our area, but to create a council which is more efficient, future proof and provides better services.”