AFTER a historic election night on Thursday, which saw the Conservative grip on Cumberland slashed, newly elected councillors will now turn their attention to the transition of power.

Elections on May 5 appointed the first members of Cumberland Council, a new unitary authority set to replace Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and the borough councils of Allerdale and Copeland by 2023.

READ MORE: Cumberland Conservatives suffer a rout in historic 2022 elections

Cumberland Council will become the sole authority in the area when the existing councils are abolished on Vesting Day: April 1, 2023.

But first, the councillors elected this past Thursday will form a Shadow Authority, tasked with completing the transition process.

The responsibilities of Shadow Authority members in this first 12 month period will be to agree a members allowance scheme, a constitution and implementation plan – ensuring a smooth transition of services.

The Shadow Authority will take control of the budgets of the existing councils but cannot halt any investment decisions they have already made.

For example, in its last ever budget, Copeland Borough Council embarked on an ambitious three-year capital investment strategy.

The spending will still take place including the council’s contribution to the major Leconfield Industrial Solutions Hub redevelopment.

However, if the leadership of any of the existing council plans to spend any more capital it would have to be agreed by the Shadow Authority.

A Joint Committee of members from each existing council in Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland has been meeting to discuss the arrangements for the new authority and make recommendations on matters such as councillors’ allowances.

The Shadow Authority can either decide to accept the recommended policy put together by council officers and recommended by existing elected members, or they can decide to draw-up their own.

A key issue for the new authorities will be how services which are currently delivered county wide, such as highways, are split between the two new authorities of Cumberland, and Westmorland & Furness.

The next meeting of the Cumberland Council Shadow Authority will discuss the new council’s governance, including options for control of the fire service.