Lancashire image Lancashire County Council p Lancashire

A page from Lancashire 2050, a strategic framework for the 15 councils that make up Lancashire. Credit: via council documents

Lancashire councils unite for 2050 vision

All 15 public authorities have joined forces to create a strategic framework for the county, which was published today.

Lancashire 2050 outlines eight priorities for the region: economic prosperity, transport and infrastructure, environment and climate, housing, early years and education, employment and skills, health and wellbeing, and communities and place.

To deliver on these priorities, the authorities say they will work to build a pipeline of strategic development sites, take a place-focused approach to transport and infrastructure, and invest in growing Lancashire’s low-carbon economy.

The strategic framework also includes promises to build good quality housing and, where necessary, to demolish and replace housing stock to encourage urban renewal.

“This hugely important document will help shape the future of Lancashire for many years to come,” said Cllr Phillippa Williamson, leader of Lancashire County Council and chair of Lancashire leaders’ group.

She added later: “While we know there is more work to do, this is a major step forward which shows how unified the county is and how focused we are on the needs and aspirations of our residents.

“These are exciting times, with Lancashire ready to take more control of its own destiny. The county’s future is bright but together we can make it brighter.”

Leaders of Lancashire councils Lancashire County Council p Lancashire County Council

Leaders of the councils of Lancashire celebrate the publishing of Lancashire 2050. Credit: via Lancashire County Council

Cllr Phil Riley, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said that Lancashire 2050 would aid the local authorities in unlocking much-needed resources.

“Local authorities are expected to work together to be taken seriously and leverage greater influence with central government,” Riley said.

“It is vital that Lancashire’s 15 authorities follow down this path to avoid being left behind. This document is a first and important stage in that process. It also celebrates our uniqueness and real strengths.”

Lancashire 2050 “sits above” the local authorities’ work to create a Greater Lancashire authority, a county deal that would put more power and resources in the hands of those living in Lancashire rather than those in Whitehall.

A devolution deal had been a large part of the discussion at Place North West’s 2022 Lancashire Development Update, which also referenced the still-in-the-works Lancashire 2050. At the time, Lancashire County Council chief executive Angie Ridgwell referred to the future Lancashire 2050 as “a game-changer.”

“We’ve never had that evidence-based single narrative, which everyone has got behind in order to achieve what’s best for Lancashire. A county deal would give us more control over that journey.”

While a county deal may help with delivering Lancashire 2050’s vision, the strategic framework is not dependent on a devolution agreement. That is because Lancashire 2050 does not require a local government reorganisation.

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Lancashire is falling behind the rest of the north cos of its failing complex and overly cumbersome local government structures.15 councils ….no combined authority ….need for 4/5 unitary councils and a combined authority with a mayor….until this happens this type of growth deal is just an inadequate sticking plaster

By George

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