South Ribble staying put

Leader of South Ribble Council, Coun Margaret Smith
Leader of South Ribble Council, Coun Margaret Smith

The leader of South Ribble has assured that the council will not be taking steps to leave Lancashire in the way that neighbouring Chorley is hoping to do.

Chorley Council is considering going it alone from Lancashire County Council and becoming a unitary authority, meaning all services such as roadworks and education facilities would become the responsibility of the borough council.

South Ribble Council’s leader, Coun Margaret Smith, says she hopes the potential move would not affect the shared services agreement between South Ribble and Chorley, and added that there is no plan for South Ribble to leave Lancashire.

She said: “I haven’t had a discussion with Chorley Council about this, but I can’t imagine it will affect our shared services because it’s a very good system.

“It is interesting regarding our relationship with Lancashire County Council - now we’ve got the City Deal we’re working very closely with the county council.

“They couldn’t do it without us and we couldn’t do it without them, so we’ve no plans to do what Chorley is planning.”

The shared services between Chorley and South Ribble, which are finance, audit, and procurement, have been credited for saving the authorities money in recent years.

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, told the Guardian: “At the moment there will be no impact on the shared services with South Ribble because we are only looking into the possibility of becoming a unitary authority, and no decisions have been taken yet.

“We have a good relationship with South Ribble Council and I will be speaking with the leader to update her on progress, and to see how we can look to continue working together either as we are now or in any future arrangement.”