Lancashire's 'Largest and Smallest' Borough Turns 40

Councillor Hirst is pictured right, with (from the left) the council's director of community services, John Heap, director of resources Jane Pearson, chief executive Marshal Scott and deputy mayor Michael Ranson, with (front) Ribble Valley Mayor and Mayor Published Thursday, 03 April 2014

The borough of Ribble Valley is celebrating its 40th birthday.

The borough came into being on 1 April 1974, when a loaf of bread cost 15p and a gallon of petrol 42p. The first McDonalds had just opened in London and Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo.

1974 was also marked by a three-day week, two general elections and the biggest shake-up in local government for over a century.

The reorganisation saw the country divided into 'districts,' one of which, Ribble Valley, at 225 square miles, was the largest geographically in Lancashire, but with the smallest population: 53,000 residents.

A merger of proud towns and villages was how Ribble Valley District Council, later to be called Ribble Valley Borough Council, was described.

The new council was a merger of the municipal borough of Clitheroe, Longridge urban district, Clitheroe rural district, parts of Blackburn, Burnley and Preston rural districts, and the Bowland rural district from the West Riding of Yorkshire, hence the inclusion of the Red Rose of Lancaster and White Rose of York on its new coat of arms.

The borough has gone on to become one of the most successful in the UK, with high customer satisfaction rates, low crimes rates and at the forefront of several nationally-acclaimed projects.

And all this has been achieved with the lowest council tax rate in Lancashire and one of the lowest rates in the UK.

Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stuart Hirst praised the dedication and hard work of council staff and councillors for delivering efficient and cost-effective services year after year.

He said: "Like all other local authorities, Ribble Valley Borough Council has seen a significant reduction in financial support from the Government, but our budget proposals for the coming year do not envisage any reduction in services, while maintaining support for charitable and voluntary organisations.

"Our sound financial position is down to strong financial discipline, prudent management and a committed and dedicated workforce, and I would like to pay tribute to staff and councillors, past and present, for delivering efficient, cost-effective and first-class services over the last 40 years."