Plans to merge three councils in a new unitary authority around Morecambe Bay could see services improve much quicker for residents than before.

That is the aim for a new combined authority when plans for a council to replace the current Cumbria County Council and district councils are submitted to the Government.

Lancaster City Council, Barrow Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) prepared a proposal for local government reform and the three council leaders held a joint press conference on the outline proposals to become a new single tier of local Government.

Giles Archibald, who is the leader of SLDC, said he was excited about the advantages the merger will bring to the environment and doesn’t see a need to scale back staff in this specialist area if they become one council.

He said: "We can work together now with joined-up thinking on the environmental emergency, for example people in Walney Island will be very concerned for rising sea levels.”

"We are very alive to the dangers of climate change, having experienced dreadful flooding and damage in the past few years."

Ann Thomson, leader of Barrow Borough Council, said that although she was born in Whitehaven when it was Cumberland, she never felt Cumbrian after the counties changed in 1972.

She said: "People need to feel at home, and they don’t identify their home as Cumbria.

"The majority of our trade and commerce is already centred around the Bay area. Earlier in the week Cllr Thomson was challenged by Ben Shirley, a young councillor from Dalton, who said he didn’t feel as misty eyed as the older generation of councillors to become Lancastrian.

He said: "I was born after the 1972 border changes, I was born in Cumbria and therefore feel Cumbrian, I am concerned that this amalgamation is only appealing to the older generation.”

One thing the councils do agree on is the goal to use the money saved to improve services, the environment and a new sense of belonging.