Time is running out for people to have their say on local government reform in Cumbria, council chiefs have warned.

The chief executives of three neighbouring councils – Sam Plum of Barrow Council, Kieran Keane of Lancaster City Council and Lawrence Conway of South Lakeland District Council – are urging residents, businesses and organisations to share their views in a process that could shape the way local services are delivered for many years to come.

The Government is consulting on four different options for local government reorganisation in Cumbria, including a joint submission by those three councils to create a new unitary council around Morecambe Bay.

The consultation is open to businesses, community and voluntary sector organisations and members of the public who live, work or study in South Lakeland, Barrow and Lancaster, and will close next Monday.

In a joint statement, the council chief executives said: “Time is running out if you want to ensure your voice is heard in the consultation, which closes in a week’s time.

“This is a vitally important issue that affects everyone who lives, works or does business in our three areas.

“The decision the Government comes to will determine how services from bin collections to social services will be delivered in the future and how the strategic direction of our areas will be shaped.

“We would urge as many people as possible to find out about the proposals and to have their say before the consultation closes on April 19.’’

The joint proposal for a new Bay authority was developed in response to a letter from Government in October 2020 sent to councils in Cumbria, inviting submissions on ‘locally-led proposals for unitary government’.

Allerdale and Copeland Councils submitted a proposal for two unitary councils for west and east Cumbria, while Carlisle City Council and Eden District Council proposed unitary councils for north and south Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council proposed a single unitary council covering the county.