Council chief says services could be delivered better locally

Peter Gibson
Peter Gibson

Wyre Council’s leader has called for more services to be delivered by his authority rather than Lancashire County Council – flying in the face of proposals for greater centralisation of power.

Coun Peter Gibson has long been an opponent of a combined authority for the county – a position now backed by leaders at Fylde.

But now the council leader has gone one step further, insisting some things should be clawed back from County Hall.

Wyre will deliver the second lowest Council tax in the county next year following a £5 rise on Band D properties.

Coun Gibson is pleased with the balancing act Wyre is currently performing. And he believes better services could be delivered at a lower cost should some services currently provided by County Hall be transferred to district teams.

He remains firm in his opposition to a combined authority for Lancashire which he argues would cost taxpayers more.

He said: “There are some services county provides which we can do better and more efficiently, I’m sure of that.

“Take roads and pavements.

“We used to have responsibilty but county took it over and I don’t think they provide as good a service.

“It isn’t always better to have things run remotely from Preston.”

Wyre already provides many services.

It empties 4,789,736 bins every year, maintains 145 hectares of parks and open spaces

The authority has made a £6m investment in health and fitness centres and last year dealt with 1,565 incidents of fly tipping.

Wyre currently has a four-year financial plan but Coun Gibson admits beyond that funding for services is less certain.

He said: “It is getting more and more difficult to provide a balanced budget.

“But at Wyre we are thinking ahead, we have a four year plan and that is reviewed every year.

“We know what our income is likely to be for the forseeable future which allows us to plan what we need.”