Residents, businesses and organisations are being invited to have their say on the vision and priorities for the new Westmorland and Furness Council.
Building the new authority is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way local government operates, making sure local communities are at the heart of everything the council does, that the new council delivers excellent services and at the same time creates efficiencies from more joined-up ways of working.
Ahead of taking on services from April 1, 2023, the ‘shadow’ authority for Westmorland and Furness is drawing up its first Council Plan.
The Council Plan will outline what residents can expect to see as the new authority’s priorities and strategic aims.
The plan will also capture the values and principles that will underpin how the council will work.
Priorities being discussed include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, empowering and working with communities, children’s care, the economy and housing.
A draft Council Plan has been developed that outlines a vision to make Westmorland and Furness ‘A great place to live, work and thrive – now and in the future’.
Now the shadow council wants to hear your views on the content so far.
You can read more about the draft Council Plan on the website: https://www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk/council-plan-have-your-say/
You can provide feedback through an online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/R73VKZF
Printed copies of the draft Council Plan can be picked-up at main libraries in Alston, Barrow, Kendal and Penrith and a number of drop-in sessions are being arranged across Westmorland and Furness, where you can come along to find out more and complete feedback forms.
More details about the dates, times and locations of these drop-ins will be released soon.
All the feedback received will help inform the final version of the Council Plan vision, values and priorities, due to be approved later this year.
Westmorland and Furness Council will then continue to engage with residents, businesses and organisations during the first full year of the new council after ‘Vesting Day’ on 1 April 2023, as it develops the detailed strategies that will deliver the agreed vision and priorities.
Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council, Councillor Jonathan Brook, said: “Defining our vision and priorities is vitally important as we build the identity of the new council.
“This drafting of the Council Plan is an important statement of intent, a document that provides a framework and a sense of direction.
“We want our priorities to really reflect what our communities want and need and our vision should really capture our ambitions as a council.
“Now is a chance to share your views as we shape that vision and our priorities for the new council.
“At this stage our Council Plan can’t include everything that the new council will be doing over the next few years.
“Much of that detail will come with the development of the strategies that sit underneath the vision and priorities, and we will be launching a comprehensive consultation exercise in the first full year of the new council to involve all our communities in that process to ensure this really does become ‘Your Plan’ for the future of Westmorland and Furness.’’
Westmorland and Furness Council will be England’s third largest unitary authority by area when it comes into effect next year.
It will provide services to approximately 225,000 residents who are currently served by Barrow Borough, Eden District, South Lakeland District and Cumbria County councils, which are being abolished.
Westmorland and Furness Council will act in ‘shadow’ form for the next seven months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.
Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils.
In the meantime, councillors on the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council will be working with the Local Government Reorganisation programme planning for the new council to ‘go live’ in 2023.