Blackpool Town Hall vote shows strong support for devolution of powers in Lancashire

The next step is to consider how Blackpool can get the best outcome from devolution
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Blackpool Council has voted unanimously in favour of moving ahead with a devolution deal for Lancashire which would transfer more powers from central government to the county.

Both sides of the chamber - Labour and Conservative - voted in favour of the proposal to create the Lancashire Combined County Authority covering the areas of Blackpool Council, Lancashire County Council Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Blackpool Council has supported devolutionBlackpool Council has supported devolution
Blackpool Council has supported devolution
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At a special meeting of the full council to consider the move, Conservative group leader Coun Paul Galley warned it was important to ensure the deal worked positively for Blackpool.

But he added devolution could help drive forward plans which had a wider geographical impact such as priorities for transport links and climate change.

He said: "Over the next 12 months it is beholden on members on both sides of the chamber to work out exactly what we want from devolution. For example, if we get it right, there is the opportunity with transport to finally answer the question of what do we do with the Blackpool South line.

"Do we use it as a dual tram and train line with two separate services with a loop giving us the best of all worlds and helping to regenerate the south of the town. It is the same with climate change. We have a strategy in place but how do we redefine it to include areas that allow us to do more with other people in other places."

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Earlier council leader Coun Lynn Williams had told the meeting the results of a consultation exercise had been "largely positive and demonstrate broad support for devolution."

She added: "There are therefore positive grounds for taking forward the proposal document and making a formal submission to government."

Lancashire signed a level two deal with government in November with shared priorities including better transport, training and skills opportunities, and housing. The agreement is due to go back to government with some minor tweaks reflecting the consultation and could be in place by the autumn.

All 15 existing councils in Lancashire - including Blackpool unitary authority and Fylde and Wyre district councils  - will remain in place and continue to operate as they do now.

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