On May 6 an election will be taking place in the Whitehaven Central Ward for a councillor to fill the vacant seat.

I will be both supporting and voting for the Conservative candidate William Dixon. Councils needs to attract more individuals from a professional background and William, as an airline pilot, and part of the family business that owns Whitehaven’s largest independent retailer, the Dixon’s department store, certainly has that experience.

As a local businessman in Whitehaven, William also has a good understanding of the issues and opportunities in the town. It is very important that an opposition hell bent on just preventing anything happening does not swell its numbers to the point they can prevent progress for no other reason than (as one of their councillors told me) "because they can".

That attitude was evidenced recently when they collectively voted against the council budget, which of course is their prerogative, but they never offered up anything at all in the way of an alternative and failed to put forward even one single amendment for consideration.

Fortunately there were enough Conservative and Independent councillors to prevent them constipating council business.

With the consultation on local government reform now closed it is vital for the remaining term of this council that all our focus and energy is directed towards driving through projects and initiatives that will put Copeland in the best position possible as we enter a new era of local government in 2023. Electing William Dixon will see him get fully behind a successful transition period for Copeland and he is willing to add support to a number of exciting and transformational projects that will be rolled out and developed in the next 12 months.

As mentioned earlier the consultation for Local Government Reform has now concluded and the decision now rests with the government. Copeland and Allerdale’s joint submission can be viewed on the council website – www.copeland.gov.uk/attachments/copeland-lgr-response

All six Cumbria MPs, all six district councils and the Police and Crime Commissioner are completely united in opposition to Cumbria County Council’s proposal of a single unitary authority for the whole of Cumbria as it is geographically too large, it’s cumbersome and is focused solely on saving money rather than improving services.

Their proposal also lacks any ambition to attract investment and ensure Cumbria benefits from the levelling-up agenda. The CCC submission is not even supported by the whole CCC cabinet with the council’s deputy leader supporting an alternative submission.

In what will be the biggest shake-up of local government in nearly five decades I sincerely believe the proposal submitted by Copeland and Allerdale is the one that will provide the residents of West Cumbria, and Cumbria as a whole, with the much improved services and greater prosperity our county deserves.