Councillors discuss priorities of new authority in Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland

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Cumberland Council is set to takeover in Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland from April 1, 2023
Cumberland Council is set to takeover in Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland from April 1, 2023

COUNCILLORS have been given the opportunity to scrutinise the Cumberland Plan - a document in-progress which will inform the vision and strategy of the new authority moving forward.

Cumberland Council is set to take over in Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland in April 2023, at which point the existing authorities in the area will be abolished.

The Cumberland Plan is being developed as a guide for the new unitary authority's approach setting out "the vision and priorities for the council for the first four years as the new organisation stabilises and transforms."

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Councillors are serving as a Shadow Authority, carrying out preparations for its takeover in 2023 while the existing authorities complete their work.

The new authority's scrutiny panel met on Wednesday to discuss the latest version of the Cumberland Plan.

Policy experts from Carlisle Council and Allerdale Council respectively, Steven O'Keefe and Nick Hardy, attended the meeting updating members on the work and answering questions.

Labour councillor Sam Pollen said: "I notice you've mentioned a nuclear policy. I'm sure most of us would like a green energy policy to invest in renewables and include nuclear.

"We've got to make the most of missed opportunities of the last decade. Furthermore I'd like the council to develop some nuclear position statements."

Mr O'Keefe said that content in the Cumberland Plan is not final and is subject to change during the process.

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The document is set to be circulated publicly next week in a consultation with residents of the Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland catchment encouraged to have their say.

Liberal Democrat councillor Trevor Allison said: "One of the things I was going to suggest is what will the role be of the parish councils?

"But when I read through this document it's clear to me that I should forget that. It seems to me there are real time pressures here and I am a bit concerned there won't be enough time for us to respond and for the executive to respond."

Mr Hardy said: "In terms of the consultation, I understand parish councils will be contacted as one of the stakeholders, they will have an opportunity to feed into it.

"We probably share your concerns in that the time constraints are very tight and it's not the usual timescale we'd want to work with."

But he said the council plan is an integral part of the budget and is a key piece of work.

Councillors heard the plan sets the tone for the new council.

Mr Hardy said: "There is a really clear aspiration that this council will be a council that has really good relationships with people in the community, that it does listen, that it does engage, that it does respond."

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