THE future of a combined authority for Lancashire will fail at the first hurdle unless ‘all 15 borough councils give it the go ahead,’ a leading councillor has warned.

County Cllr Geoff Driver, the leader of Lancashire County Council, said without the agreement of all 15 councils the process would come to a complete halt.

This comes as County Cllr Driver, who is for the combined authority, and three borough council leaders against the plans walked out of a recent meeting to discuss the move.

County Cllr Driver said he left the meeting because there was no attempt made to discuss the pros and cons of a combined authority.

He said: “This will only work if all the boroughs to give the go ahead and come together.

“If there is not a strong bond then the government will not accept our proposal and we will have fallen at the first hurdle.

“Whether or not we go down the route of a combined authority, Lancashire will be a major player in the Northern Powerhouse.

“We are the biggest council in the area, we have the biggest clout, we will be the biggest player.”

If created, new body would bring together councils to draw down powers and cash from Whitehall.

Cllr Ken Hind, leader of Ribble Valley Council, which announced it was against the proposed combined authority, said: “Geoff was right to say without all 15 councils it will get pushed back and fail.

“However there has never been all 15 council’s on board in the first place.

“Wyre has never been on board from the start.

“This is an extremely complicated and slow moving process.

“It’s something we do not know exactly what we are going into.

“Myself and my members are responsible for 60,000 people in Ribble Valley and I need to make sure their needs are met.”

Cllr Simon Blackburn, chairman of the shadow combined authority, said: “It is really disappointing to see certain councils turn down the opportunity to get us to a stage where we can take on more powers from the Government and have more of an influence over what happens here in Lancashire.

“The door will remain open for those councils to come back into the fold and in the meantime the rest of us will wait and see as to what comes of next week’s meeting with the Government.”