THE THREAT of judicial review into Local Government Reform has been brushed off by the UK Government in a letter to the county council.

The UK Government has issued a response after Cumbria County Council’s leader Stewart Young expressed intentions to launch a judicial review into Local Government Reform.

The leader of the council sent a pre-action protocol letter earlier this year, expressing an interest in beginning the legal proceedings.

The letter claimed that the Government’s plans to split Cumbria two unitary authorities was “unlawful.”

However Government has issued a response dismissing the claims. A spokesperson for Cumbria County Council said: “The County Council has received a response from Government in reply to its pre-action protocol letter to the Secretary of State. The Council is now carefully considering the response before deciding on its next steps in relation to any potential future legal action.”

When Housing, Communities and Local Government secretary Robert Jenrick called for proposals on how the county should be governed, the winning bid was with an “east” and “west” split.

Copeland, Allerdale and Carlisle will be the west constituency, Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland will be east.

Work is already underway to prepare for the change which is set to be completed by 2023.

Some have criticised the council leader’s call for legal action into Local Government Reform including councillor Stephen Haralsden who called a special meeting of the council at Carlisle Racecourse last month, passing a motion that judicial review is a “waste” of the council’s time and tax payer’s money. 

Labour’s counter at the meeting was to ask how much it cost to hire out the Jockey Club venue for the day to discuss the topic which could have been debated at the next full council meeting.

Labour councillor for Carlisle Alan McGuckin said: “I don’t think the council will do a judicial review until they’ve checked with a barrister to see if we still have grounds.”

He called Local Government Reform “a nightmare scenario.”

Explaining the call for judicial review, he said: “We seem to have been treat differently to North Yorkshire and Somerset.”

He said that one unitary council was created for both but that the geography in Cumbria is similar.

“The Government themselves produced guidelines, the basis on which they would decide.”

He said that one of the guidelines is that there would need to be a minimum of 300,000 people in the population for a local authority.

Councillor McGuckin said: “Both the local authorities in Cumbria would be less than that guideline. You’ve got to have scale.”

“The two unitary authorities don’t have scale.”