What next for West Lancs Borough Council – it’s 27 all!

27 Tories and 27 Socialists; that’s it, they are deadlocked.

But they have been in this bind before and I am old enough to recall the time when Bob Germin was the sole SDP councillor on that council and him holding the balance of power.

As West Lancs is often in this situation a small group of councillors who are neither socialist nor Tory could have significant influence but for some odd reason such a group has not developed.

Common political talk is that West Lancs Borough Council does not have a secure and sustainable future as a unit of local government especially as it is a small District Council stuck between Merseyside (Sefton and St Helens Boroughs) and Greater Manchester (Wigan). This result will not help that situation one bit and West Lancs needs to find a way of becoming a Unitary Authority, sooner rather than later, probably by merging with a neighbouring Council.

I have posted before about the West Lancs dilemma but it is now a bigger dilemma than when I last raised the subject.

5 thoughts on “What next for West Lancs Borough Council – it’s 27 all!

  1. Ged Wright says:

    An obvious hint that you’d like to see W.Lancs merged with Southport? The problem with any proposed merger and/or new unitary authority would be cost. As you must know, it would be a small fortune to create a new authority to carry out the 1300+ statutory duties it would be responsible for. I asked Sefton how much a reorganisation would cost. The answer was that to even estimate how much would be prohibitively expensive!

    • The future for all local government in England has to be via unitary authorities. In recent times the number of two tier (district and county councils) has steadily been reducing. West Lancs is unsustainable in my view and indeed that of many others I have spoken to in its present form. However, it is also too small, in population terms,to be become a viable unitary authority on its own. I am not advocating that it merges with Sefton, as you suggest, simply that by merging with one of the larger councils around it a viable future for local government in West Lancashire will be assured. It is however in Sefton’s interests for this issue to be resolved in the way I suggest because until then the cross-border problems, such as transportation, that are holding Southport back are not unlikely to be resolved. Most of the population of West Lancashire looks towards Liverpool, a lot of West Lancashire is part of Liverpool’s travel to work area, West Lancashire needs to be part of a unitary authority that is an equal partner in the Liverpool City Region. The move is probably unlikely to be made under the Tories but I think that Roger Bell’s [Roger is the Labour Leader on West Lancs Council and a friend of mine] socialists do see the need for change.

  2. Ged Wright says:

    Thanks for your reply Tony, interesting points you make.

  3. Frank Lewis says:

    Would this help build up a Libdem base for future elections

  4. MIke Homfray says:

    I suppose there are a number of options

    1. Split Sefton and have a Southport and Ormskirk unitary council within Lancashire. I can’t honestly see much logic in adding Skelmersdale to that, however.

    2. Simply tack West Lancs on to Sefton, although politically the effect would be negligible, although the merging of small West Lancs wards might lose the Tories ore than Labour

    3. Add Skelmersdale to Knowsley, itself rather too small, although this would create a rather long and thin borough

    4. Add the rural elements of West Lancs to Southport, heading up to the Preston border, to create a Southport unitary which would be slightly thicker and longer, cementing its place in Lancashire, and move Ormskirk, Burscough and Skelmersdale into a new Sefton along with Crosby, Maghull, Bootle and Formby

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