AN MP has said he is ‘very strongly’ of the view that Westmorland should be the first name in the title of a new unitary authority.

Tim Farron was speaking after it was announced two unitary councils were set to be established in Cumbria, with Barrow being grouped with South Lakeland and Eden.

“Lots of people have a real affinity with the history and heritage of the county of Westmorland,” said the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP.

“You could argue that Furness should be in there as well, but then that begs the question of those parts of the district that aren’t in Furness or Westmorland.”

Westmorland is an historic county which included Kendal and Ambleside but also Eden towns such as Appleby and Kirkby Stephen.

Barrow’s MP, Simon Fell, suggested the name of ‘Furness and Westmorland’ for the new unitary authority.

The planned shake-up of local government has met with a mixed reaction in the county but Mr Fell insisted the proposal was a positive one.

“Regardless of the result, this reorganisation should give council tax payers far more bang for their buck, and it opens the door to a substantial growth deal and also the election of a mayor for Cumbria,” he said.

“These are real wins for everyone in Furness and beyond.”

Mr Farron has been vocal in opposing the idea of a mayor for Cumbria, fearing it would mean ‘key local decisions being taken outside of South Lakeland’.

The ‘east-west’ split of the county that has been selected was one of various unitary proposals put forward.

Also discussed was a ‘Bay’ authority which would have replaced Barrow Borough Council, Lancaster City Council and South Lakeland District Council.

“I favoured a north-south split,” said Mr Fell.

“But, given that Barrow and South Lakes councils put all their efforts into a Bay proposal that was never going to fly, it gave those arguing for an east-west split a clear run at it.

“Regardless, this should mean better local governance for Cumbria as a whole.”

Moving forward, the necessary secondary legislation is to be put in place, subject to parliamentary approval, to implement the decisions which have been made for the area.

A draft structural changes order will be laid in Parliament at the turn of 2022.

This will include plans for the necessary transitional arrangements, including for elections in May 2022 for the future unitary councils.