Agenda, decisions and minutes

Extraordinary meeting, Council - Wednesday, 17th January 2024 6.30 pm, NEW app available
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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Chorley and YouTube

Contact: Ruth Rimmington  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Any Interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.


If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.


No declarations of interests were made.


Lancashire Devolution Deal pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive and consider the report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:


That the council agrees that the response set out at paragraphs 23 to 25 should form the basis of Chorley Council’s response to the consultation.

That the Chief Executive be asked to share the council’s response to the consultation with local MPs representing the borough.


Proposed response

23. Chorley Council recognises that devolution has the potential to secure significant benefits for Lancashire, bringing decision making and accountability closer to residents.  Other areas of the north west, most notably Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region, have already benefited from their devolution deals.

24. Effective devolution should encourage strong economic growth and increased productivity, alongside better health and wellbeing and strengthened public services.

25. Unfortunately, the proposals currently being consulted on are unlikely to lead to those benefits and so Chorley Council cannot support them.  The council has some specific concerns about the proposals.  These are set out below, refencing the relevant section of the consultation being referred to:

a.      The proposals for management of future rounds of the UKSPF in section one fail to recognise the success of the current round that is currently managed by district councils.  Changing it to a more remote body with limited infrastructure to manage successful community schemes will make future success less likely. Chorley Council believes that responsibility for future rounds of UKSPF should remain with district councils.

b.      The provision of £6 million of capital investment to Samlesbury Enterprise Zone and £6 million to the Blackburn Technology Innovation Quarter (section one) is welcome investment in the county, but are small scale and limited in geographic impact.  The council believes that the upper tier authorities proposing the creation of the CCA need to more clearly explain how future investment will be secured and prioritised, identifying how investment will benefit the whole of the county area.

c.      The devolution of adult education and the core Adult Education Budget at section two is welcome, but the proposals beyond that are currently vague and undeveloped.  The partners involved in the CCA need to more clearly explain how skills of a large and diverse county area will be served by programmes that are developed.

d.      The proposals at section three demonstrate the importance for partners who are constituent members in recognising the nuances and needs of local areas, as it makes special arrangements for Blackpool Transport Services.  This is important in a county the size of Lancashire, but fails to recognise the particular needs of other areas such as Chorley.  The borough of Chorley borders Greater Manchester, and so any devolution deal and CCA need to clearly recognise the importance of cross-border travel to be successful.  In addition, the borough has experienced significant growth over the last 15 years.  As an area of growth, it has significant needs to strengthened public transport, such as an additional railway station in Coppull and strengthened bus services.  The current proposals do nothing to address this and so needs to be strengthened.

e.      Expanding eligibility criteria for Cosy Homes in Lancashire through  ...  view the full decision text for item 67.


The Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley, presented the report of the Chief Executive which presented a summary of the proposals to create a combined county authority (CCA) and a devolution deal for Lancashire, and to agree the principles of a response to the consultation. 


Councillor Bradley expressed his disappointment by the need for this extraordinary meeting of the Council.  He personally had done a great deal of work to progress devolution in Lancashire, and so was disappointed not to be able to support the current proposals.


His aspiration was for a devolution deal similar to that within Manchester and Liverpool.  A number of authorities within Lancashire had expressed similar views. 


At the start of 2022, the councils of Lancashire (including districts, the county council and unitary councils), agreed an outline proposal for a deal for Greater Lancashire.  It was acknowledged that this had been challenging in some authorities. 


They did this with the intention that it might provide the basis for discussions with the government in creating a devolution deal for the county.  The deal included agreement to a series of principles for working together.  These were set out in the report. 


Since then, the position had changed.  In May 2023 the upper tier authorities in Lancashire (being Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council), announced that they were in discussions with the government with the aim of creating a devolution deal for Lancashire.


The intention was that the deal would be a ‘level two’ deal under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, with a Combined County Authority which can only include upper tier authorities.


The proposals were now the subject of a consultation, and Councillor Bradley encouraged all members and residents to participate in the consultation process. 


Councillor Bradley detailed the proposals which were set out within the report.  The proposed consultation response from the Council was also detailed within the report.


Specific concerns about the proposals included

·                management of future rounds of the UKSPF

·                how the £6 million of capital investment will benefit the whole of the county area

·                the need for proposals to be more detailed in recognising the nuances and needs of local areas

·                the governance arrangements proposed


The Deputy Leader, Councillor Peter Wilson, supported the comments made by the Leader and noted the proposals were 'light touch' and did not include substantial capital investment across the county. 


The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Alan Cullens, noted it was not possible to change the legislation relating to this.  The proposals included £20 million of capital investment and if the deal was rejected there would be no devolution for Lancashire for the foreseeable future.  


Views were expressed that any proposals for a directly elected Mayor for Lancashire would not be supported, but this was not currently a proposal.  The Police and Crime Commissioner was directly elected for the whole of Lancashire, but a Mayor would have a substantial budget and power in the hands of one person.  It was felt by some that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.