Cabinet members of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council have confirmed their support for proposals to create a new town council for Barrow.
A review of community governance arrangements in Barrow was launched earlier this year in response to the creation of two new councils in Cumbria; Westmorland and Furness Council and Cumberland Council. The two new councils will replace all six district councils across the county as well as Cumbria County Council from 1 April, 2023.
Progress on the review was noted at today's (Friday’s) meeting of the Shadow Authority Cabinet, held at Penrith Town Hall in Penrith.
Councillor Jonathan Brook, Westmorland and Furness Council leader, said: "A large part of Barrow remains the only unparished area within the footprint of the new Westmorland and Furness Council so it is excellent news that a governance review is underway.
"The Shadow Westmorland and Furness Council has already indicated its support for this move so it's been wonderful to receive an update on the progress made so far and to hear about the level of support for this in the unparished area of Barrow.
"Town and parish councils provide a local voice and can bring significant benefits and opportunities to their communities. In fact, they are a vital part of our commitment to localism as a council."
Parish and town councils make up the first tier of local government and some parts of Barrow's borough already have parish or town councils in place.
The Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority Cabinet members heard that residents were invited to take part in a public consultation on the Community Governance Review for the unparished area of Barrow with the majority of the replies found to be in favour of the creation of a town council.
A second phase of consultation is now underway with residents within the area able to comment on the recommendations made by Friday, 26 August.
Responses will be considered by Barrow Borough Council’s Community Governance Review Working Group and reported to a special Barrow Borough Council meeting in September. If the final recommendations get a green light, they will be sent to the Shadow Westmorland and Furness Council for approval.
Subject to this approval, a Re-organisation Order would be made to enable a town council for the unparished area of Barrow to come into existence on 1 April, 2023. The year of election will be 2023 and then every four years after.
Areas within the borough of Barrow that are already represented by a town or parish council will be unaffected by the review.
Councillor Virginia Taylor, Westmorland Furness Council Cabinet member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said: "Town and parish councils are a force for good.
"They celebrate local identity and are the closest tier of local government to the people we all serve.
"Town and parish councils can take on a range of powers for their area so they can reflect what their community needs and wants.
"We look forward to working with the team at Barrow Borough Council as this review continues to move forward."