Ribble Valley residents’ views wanted on ‘combined authority’ plan

Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst is pictured front right, with the leaders of Lancashire councils taking part in the consultation. (s)
Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst is pictured front right, with the leaders of Lancashire councils taking part in the consultation. (s)

Ribble Valley residents are being asked for their views on the proposal for a Lancashire Combined Authority after councils agreed to go out to consultation on the matter.

Over the last few weeks, Lancashire’s 15 councils have been discussing proposals for a new way of working and all except one have agreed to ask the public what they think.

The proposed combined authority has been described as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring Lancashire together as a key part of the Northern Powerhouse.

Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Coun. Stuart Hirst said: “We have been working on the proposals for a Lancashire Combined Authority for over 12 months and it is important we get the views of residents and businesses before deciding whether to submit a formal proposal to the Government.

“This proposal has unanimous cross-party support at Ribble Valley Borough Council and now we want to know what residents think.”

Coun. Alistair Bradley, who is chairman of the combined authority council leaders’ group, said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for authorities in Lancashire to work together, bring more investment and jobs to the area and make sure we don’t get left behind.

“It is a chance for us to take on powers from the Government and ensure we have a bigger influence on what happens in our proud county.”

Combined authorities are said to give councils a stronger voice to influence the Government and draw down more powers, functions and funding to benefit the area and let locally elected people drive change.

It has been stressed that a combined authority would not see the creation of a “super council” or local authorities merging.

Each council would still be responsible for the services it provides, such as refuse collection, street cleansing, culture and leisure.

Coun. Hirst added: “Some Ribble Valley residents might think this is just another layer of bureaucracy, but we have to change the way we do things and I believe a combined authority will bring enormous benefits.

“I am urging residents to tell us what they think because the feedback we receive will have a bearing on whether we go ahead with this proposal.”

The survey runs until Friday, February 19th, and residents can take part at www.infusion.org.uk Paper copies of the survey are available from Ribble Valley Borough Council on 01200 425111.