Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership have been working up a concept for the County of Lancashire to submit to the UK City of Culture competition in 2025.
The bid is supposed to reinvent Lancashire’s social, physical and cultural cartography, through the creation of four physical and virtual Neighbourhoods Uptown (Lancaster), The Valley (Pennine Lancashire), Downtown (Preston) and Light Coast (Blackpool), dissolving our real and imagined borders to build a truly representative view of Lancashire.
With West Lancashire being a part of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre so called Light Coast Neighbourhood. It should be recognised that there are no direct public transport links and the shortest road journey would probably take at least an hour between the boroughs main residential areas. There is also no main hotels, cultural, sporting or social centres along the very small West Lancashire Coast Line. With the vast majority of West Lancashire being described as inland.
It’s not only West Lancashire that has raised questions, regarding the perceived links rather than the current cultural of social structures to build on, Lancaster is linked with Pendle. Many of the district councils feel that there has been a lack of consultation and clarity regarding the county councils proposals.
Cllr John Fillis, Skelmersdale West, said “West Lancashire has no clear social, physical or cultural links with Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. Once again the Conservatives at County Hall have just stuck West Lancashire hanging on the end as they have not got a clue about the culture or creativity of local people in West Lancashire and they care even less. We don’t want to be a part of some Punch and Judy show on steroids. This is not the way to do it.”
LCC Cabinet have approved a total contribution of £620,000 towards bid, team and programme development costs across both 2020/21 and 2021/22. To date, the bid development has been funded by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancashire County Council, Creative Lancashire, Marketing Lancashire and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) (Total £240,000).
Cllr John Fillis went on to say “County hall needs to get a grip, with COVID-19 and rising unemployment the people of Lancashire need skilled work with reasonable pay and employment condition, this is what we should be concentrating on. The lack of consultation and clarity is beginning to be a standard policy of the Conservatives. We do support the principles of such a bid but these proposals need a radical review and engagement with the boroughs and communities right across Lancashire.”