Lancaster Vision supports proposed Bay Unitary Authority plans

Plans for Lancaster City Council to join forces with Barrow Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council have been backed by Lancaster Vision.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 12:30 pm

Lancaster Vision is a sub group of Lancaster Civic Society, and was formed in 2012 by members who identified the need for an organisation to help secure a better future for the city and its surrounding.

And chairman James Wilkie, who is also the honorary secretary of Lancaster Civic Society, said the group "wholeheartedly" supports the Bay authority proposal.

Under the plan, the district councils (Barrow, Lancaster and South Lakeland) and county council in Cumbria would be replaced with a newly created, single tier ‘unitary’ local authority for the area.

James Wilkie, chair of Lancaster Vision.

The new authority would deliver the services currently provided by both the district and county councils such as waste and recycling collections, public realm, planning, highways and transport and adult and children’s social care.

The Government confirmed in February that it would formally consult on the Bay option, after considering a joint submission by Lancaster City Council, South Lakeland District Council and Barrow Borough Council.

The consultation is open to businesses, community and voluntary sector organisations and members of the public who live, work or study in Lancaster, South Lakeland and Barrow, and will close on April 19.

Mr Wilkie said: "Lancaster Vision wholeheartedly supports the Bay authority proposal.

"We believe it is the option advanced by local authorities in Cumbria and Lancashire that will be supported and welcomed by a majority of local people and businesses.

"The Bay proposal brings together three local authorities with a shared geography and history. The Bay rectifies the artificial administrative boundary between historically linked areas.

"Lancaster Vision believes this shared sense of place will result in greater community acceptance of the relevance and appropriateness of the new arrangements. It will provide a firm basis for strong strategic and local leadership and ensure the long-term sustainability of the new arrangements.

"The establishment of a Bay Unitary Authority based on logical and locally accepted geographical boundaries and will provide a firm foundation to provide responsive, cost effective and accessible services to a population of 320,000 people and 13,0000 businesses.

"It will provide a basis for delivering services that can benefit from economies of scale whilst ensuring the retention of a local perspective."

Mr Wilkie said the amalgamation would also provide "significant" opportunities for delivering improved services across a larger but economically, socially, and culturally integrated geographical footprint.

"Lancaster Vision believes that the proposed Bay Authority would align particularly well with local NHS structures," he said.

"The Bay is served by a single NHS hospital trust and Integrated Care Partnership – Bay Health and Care Partners.

"In addition the Bay area covers the northern portion of the emerging Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System."

For more information and to complete the survey, go online here.