Cumbria to have new councils in east and west of county
The government has announced how it plans to reorganise council services in Cumbria, with two new councils - one in the east of the county and one in the west.
Cumbria currently has a two-tier system of local government, with a county council and six district councils underneath it. They are due to be scrapped, to be replaced with the two unitary councils which would provide all services.
Four proposals were put forward by the existing councils for a public consultation that took place in the spring.
The Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has now picked the proposal for:
A council in the west covering the existing areas of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland
A council in the east covering the existing areas of Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland
He said that met all of the government's criteria, as it's likely to improve services, commands a good deal of local support and has a credible geography.
Mr Jenrick said this was better than the proposal for a single unitary authority for the whole of Cumbria, as it would allow for "more localised decision making", particularly important given the physical geography of Cumbria.
He said a proposal for unitary councils in the north and south of the county did not comply with a credible geography, and a proposal that would have included Lancaster around a Morecambe Bay council also failed in that regard as well as being unlikely to improve services.
This decision requires parliamentary approval, with the ambition that the new unitary councils would take over from the existing authorities on 1 April 2023.
Mr Jenrick reiterated the government's enthusiasm for devolving more powers to local leaders, after the Prime Minister said last week that directly-elected mayors could be established for counties, as well as cities.