A political party in Allerdale is calling for a possible unitary authority that would group the borough with Copeland.

The Labour Party of Allerdale is calling for a West Cumbria authority in the upcoming local government reform – which has seen other proposals put forward for how the makeup should look.

In a motion to council ahead of a meeting next week, councillor Michael Heaslip said: “Council notes that West Cumbria is an ancient historic entity with an economy, culture, geography, sense of place and identity which distinguishes it from the rest of present-day Cumbria, and believes that the option of establishing a unitary council which reflects that distinct identity should not be ruled out by arbitrary criteria, but should be available to them, if that is what the citizens of West Cumbria choose.

Councillor Alan Smith does not believe the time is right to forge ahead with plans.

“This decision that has come from the Government is coming at the wrong time, we’re under lockdown," he said. "You can’t go out and canvass people on their feelings about how it’s going to work.”

He added that work cannot take place effectively with councils while offices are on skeleton staff.

Meanwhile, the council submitted an initial proposal for reform in Cumbria last week.

A full proposal will be submitted by December 9 with details of the council’s preferred model for reform, including geographical split. The early proposal calls for a two-authority model.

The deputy leader, Councillor Mike Johnson, said: “We believe that making changes to the way local government is delivered in Cumbria will bring improvements to the services that residents and businesses receive and present a real opportunity to bring greater powers and investment to the area through devolution. Devolution has driven economic growth, jobs and training in other areas that Cumbria has missed out on, this is our time to level-up and support our communities in recovery.”