MARK Jenkinson MP is calling on Cumbria’s two unitary authorities to formally request a boundary review for the Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness councils, in the hope of restoring the Cumberland boundary to something more closely matching the historic counties.
A response from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) was clear that it would only undertake a Principal Area Boundary Review at the request of both councils. This position was later confirmed by government ministers, who are unable to intervene.
A review of ward boundaries and councillor numbers is already due to be undertaken imminently, ahead of the next elections in 2027, presenting the ideal opportunity to look at the boundaries at the same time.
In April Cumbria County Council and Cumbria’s six district councils ceased to exist, being replaced by two unitary councils – Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness – following local government reform.
Alongside other Cumbrian MPs, Mark was successful in having the new councils named after the historic counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, righting what many regard as a 50- year wrong.
The process to streamline local government in Cumbria however, was constrained by legislation to using the boundaries of existing districts. This has understandably left many residents, many of whom live in the pre-1974 Cumberland curtilage, aggrieved.
Mark said: “We are now talking about a ward review, which has to happen before the 2027 election. That presents the ideal opportunity to correct the boundaries, and only the councils can instigate the review.
“They should do it at the same time as we’re reviewing ward boundaries and councillor numbers: there is to be a review of ward boundaries imminently, ahead of the next elections in 2027.
“This is the perfect opportunity to correct this anomaly – and I hope that both councils seize it with both hands.
“If either or both of the councils need any assistance in that regard, my door is always open.”