Give local councils back some control
In 1982, whilst Leader of Burnley Borough Council, I took emergency action to save Queen Street Mill and sought retrospective approval for the Council.
I did so because I considered the Mill to be not only of local importance, but also an important part of national heritage and something that had to be saved.
I remember receiving an urgent report from the Planning Department indicating that in a matter of days if the council did not act the looms etc, would all be broken up and everything destroyed.
I arranged to go to the mill with a team of the top officers from the council and a representative of Lancashire Enterprise to look at the mill. We then went to the Black Bull at Lanehead to discuss things over a lunch break and decide what could be done.
It was financially possible, and also just legally possible, to take a decision and with just a day to go the decision was taken and the mill was eventually saved.
Now, due to the economic policies of the Tory Government, it is closed and a large question mark lies over its future.
I do not blame the county council as I know that, as a result of the financial pressures from the Government, they will find it difficult in the next year or so to provide essential services for the elderly, etc.
It really is time for them to think again and give local councils a bit more ability to do the job for which they are elected.