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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Talks on new single council for Cumbria

PRELIMINARY discussions have taken place on the possibility of a new single authority for Cumbria.

By Andrew Clarke

A unitary authority – which would see the county/borough council structure replaced by a countywide organisation – was last mooted in 2007 but dropped at a late stage by the then government.

Plans have now been resurrected locally and initial discussions have taken place between the Cumbrian districts and the county council to establish whether there is the appetite to revisit the proposals. Further discussions are now planned.

Elaine Woodburn, leader of Copeland Council, said: “We have to be proactive on this and be willing to have the conversation.

“But at the same time we have to fight for the sovereignty of Copeland; the people who live here Any changes have to be right for the people we represent.”

The Coalition Government has indicated that it does not intend to bring forward proposals for a reorganisation, but will consider proposals put forward by local authorities themselves. Any change locally would require Parliamentary approval.

Those in favour of a unitary authority say it would be more efficient and save money.

However, critics argue that the county is too big and its issues too diverse to be governed by one organisation.

Coun Woodburn said that further to the unitary talks, Copeland will “continue to explore” shared services with neighbouring boroughs.

Have your say

Ange, although York City does have a unitary authority (unlike Carlisle), the rest of North Yorkshire is a traditional County with seven District Councils, just like Cumbria and its six districts. The actual difference is that North Yorkshire's districts know what they're doing while Cumbria's (especially Copeland) don't have a clue.

Posted by Ben on 28 May 2014 at 10:46

The new elected mayor shouldn't get too comfy after the election then - if the borough of Copeland disappears then so will the office of the mayor of Copeland!

Posted by Chris on 27 May 2014 at 19:23

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