Blackpool could be forced to become part of a ‘city of the Fylde’ if plans for a Lancashire-wide combined authority are scrapped, the resort’s council leader has warned.
Coun Simon Blackburn was speaking after it emerged Fylde Council is set to become the second authority after Wyre to pull out of the partnership.
Addressing critics, he said: “When the Government comes knocking to say that because we couldn’t agree on a combined authority, they are going to force us into a city of the Fylde unitary authority, they will have a long time to reflect on the wisdom of their actions, because that is an outcome nobody wants.”
Coun Blackburn, who is chairman of the Shadow Lancashire Combined Authority, warned Blackpool would also miss out on taking control of local housing benefit payments.
He said that would have been ‘a once in a generation opportunity to deal with bad landlords and reinvigorate our housing market’.
He added Lancashire as a whole could miss out on more than £900m of additional government money.
But he told a meeting of Blackpool Council he would “work to ensure this doesn’t happen”.
All but one of the 15 councils in Lancashire have been working together to form a combined authority.
It would be a formal, legal step to enable the councils to work together in a more structured way.
Supporters say it would boost economic development and transport links and help the county access more Government funding. But Wyre Council has refused to be part of the proposals from the start, and this week it emerged Fylde Council is having second thoughts as well.
It is feared there could be extra costs incurred without reaping any discernible benefits.