These are momentous times for democracy in Cumbria. We have now elected councillors to what will be the new unitary Cumberland Council, and our staff are working incredibly hard towards the transition in April 2023.
I’m proud of the part we’ve played in bringing about this historic change – a change that has been needed for years. It was ours and Allerdale’s proposal that was chosen to shape the county going forward. I’m confident the work of our staff and members will mean we enter this new age with confidence for a bright future.
Amid all the challenges of the last two years, we are still driving the council forward with economic achievements – not least, the exciting bid for £20.6m for the Millom Town Deal.
The Town Deal projects will make sure the area thrives now and in the future.
It will improve parks, create a leisure hub, bring old buildings back into use, and improve transport.
At the lagoon and sea wall, the Iron Line is set to be an inspirational and inclusive visitor attraction.
These transformational projects have now reached a crucial stage.
The business cases for the four strands of the project are being independently checked to make sure they are deliverable, effective, and value for money. Then, the documents will go to the Town Deal Board for approval before being submitted to government, allowing us to unlock an exciting future for Millom residents and visitors.
In the next 12 months we are also expecting news on Small Modular Reactors and fusion, and I am confident the new coal mine will be approved.
We recently held our Annual General Meeting – the last for Copeland Borough Council, as we enter a new era for local democracy. I want to thank all of our colleagues, and councillors too. They are the bedrock of our remarkable progress.
Thousands of Copeland staff and councillors have served this borough since 1974. No-one gets involved in a council unless they are committed to making their community a better place.
There is lots to do, and it comes as we transform into a new unitary authority. I can’t overstate the scale and sensitivity of that challenge.
But I know that, after nearly 50 years, Copeland will finish well.