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Cumbria launches judicial review over local government reorganisation

Cumbria Council has voted to issue a claim against the Government over the decision to approve a plan to split the county into two unitary authorities.

The local authority is advancing four main grounds in its challenge - illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety alongside a claim of a breach of legitimate expectation.

In July this year the then Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government - now titled the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - announced the selection of a proposal for two unitary councils for Cumbria.

The plan chosen by Robert Jenrick would create an East unitary council covering the existing areas of Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland and a West unitary council covering the existing areas of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland.

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Cumbria's cabinet supported the creation of a single unitary authority covering the whole county.

The decision to pursue proceedings was passed last week (21 October 2021) with 5 votes for, 0 votes against and 4 abstentions.

The legal challenge had previously been delayed after Conservative council members staged an unsuccessful call-in of the decision last week.

Adam Carey

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