RADCLIFFE should get its own area council with a £250,000 annual budget as part of a wider devolution of power and cash to the towns in his Bury South constituency, MP Ivan Lewis has proposed.

The Independent politician wants to see area-based authorities ‘a significant budget and meaningful powers’ set up as early as April.

As well as Radcliffe he wants to see the new area councils created in Prestwich and Whitefield/ Unsworth each with a development worker to represent them at Bury town hall.

The would have powers to levy a small council tax surcharge ring-fenced for local improvements on top of a grant from the borough.

Mr Lewis claimed Bury council’s Labour leadership had flirted with the idea of devolving power to Radcliffe and other townships but done nothing.

His blueprint has been backed by his Tory opponent at the next General Election Cllr Christian Wakeford but dismissed as unworkable by Bury Council leader Cllr Dave Jones.

Mr Lewis said: “When I was a Labour MP, Bury Labour constantly resisted my frequent attempts to persuade them to devolve meaningful power. I even provided them with a blueprint as far back as 2010.

“They preferred to introduce structures with few powers and no resources which they subsequently scrapped.

“The Labour party suggested they would pilot a town council for Radcliffe. They have controlled Bury for eight years and have reduced, not enhanced, the powers of townships.”

His proposed area councils would have a budget of £250,000 a year; develop a local delivery plan; manage community facilities including town centres and parks; take spending decisions on street cleaning and repairs; and award grants to groups.

Cllr Wakeford said: “I think this is a great idea, especially for Radcliffe which seems to be the borough's forgotten town. I lead the Conservative group on Pendle Council which has this system and it works.”

Cllr Jones said: “We looked at this 10 years ago when it would not fly. It certainly wouldn’t fly now with less money around. "

He added: “Mr Lewis is just re-arranging the deckchairs.

"I am concentrating on devolving powers to Greater Manchester from Whitehall not on this devolution-plus idea.”

Mr Lewis's proposed town councils would consist of ward councillors, business and resident representatives in equal numbers.

He added that they required the transfer of some existing funding from borough council departments and other public services.