In April 2023, Cumbria County Council and Cumbria’s six district councils ceased to exist, being replaced by two unitary authorities – Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness – following local government reform.
Alongside other Cumbrian MPs, I was successful in having the new councils named after the historic counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, righting a 50- year wrong for many.
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.
There is be a review of ward boundaries imminently, ahead of the next elections in 2027. In January 2023 I asked the Secretary of State and the Chairman of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to ensure that residents and stakeholders are also consulted on the council boundaries. I later met with both of them.
The response from both was clear that the Commission would only consider a 'Principal Area Boundary Review' if requested by both councils.
The Commission is responsible for carrying out such Principal Area Boundary Reviews (PABRs) of the external boundary of a district or county and may undertake a PABR either at the request of the Secretary of State, at the request of a local council or on its own initiative. The Commission cannot be required by the Secretary of State or by a council to undertake a PABR. Currently, the Commission's policy is to not undertake a PABR that is not requested by all local authorities affected.
Lee Rowley MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety
17th April 2023
Please sign my petition to the two councils to request a Principal Area Boundary Review.