HYNDBURN has been awarded a grant of £11M to regenerate some of its most run-down and deprived neighbourhoods.
The cash lifeline - part of a £68M grant awarded to the Elevate East Lancashire regeneration group - was announced by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott during a visit to Blackburn last week.
The borough will also receive a share of £35M of funding from English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and the North West Development Agency, bringing the total investment in the region up to £103M.
But while the news marks one of the biggest ever investments in Hyndburn, it falls £4M short of the £15M regeneration officers originally asked for and has drawn mixed reactions from civic leaders.
It means some planned projects in Clayton-le-Moors, Church and West Accrington may have to be put on ice until the next funding wave in two years.
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "I am very disappointed we didn't receive the full amount of money, as expectations had been built up."
"Manchester and Liverpool got more than they asked for and we got less - how is that fair? But this shouldn't detract from the fact that we did get £11M. It's not all doom and gloom."
Among the schemes expected to be delayed are the small-scale clearance of parts of Barnes Street and housing renovation in Alexandra Close, Clayton-le-Moors.
It is thought Clayton will receive just £75,000 of the £11M award, which will be put towards further consultation work with residents.
Ward councillor Janet Storey said: "I feel let down and misled by the Government."
"I think we deserved more - people in Clayton are always being left out. But we are not waiting two years for something to happen - we have got to have some immediate fixes here."
Councillor David Myles, deputy leader of the opposition Labour group, said: "I am really angry. Cabinet just decided the easiest option would be to knock the projects in Clayton on the head and I think that was wrong."
"Everyone's been led down the garden path and I'm completely disgusted."
He said Labour would now be looking into how to direct council funds into areas not covered by Elevate.
Nigel Rix, director of the council's regeneration arm, Hyndburn FIRST, said alternative sources of funding for the Barnes Street and Alexandra Close schemes were being considered to get the projects off the ground.
He added that other projects had also been delayed by the shortfall, including some renovation and renewal work in Church and West Accrington.
He added: "Clayton is not being singled out - we have just had to respond to the amount of money made available."
"We were delighted to get the money that we did, but of course we would have preferred to receive the full amount."
In announcing the results of the bid, John Prescott said: "This funding will enable Elevate to get a massive programme of work underway, but will also help attract many millions more from other sources, including the private sector."
Max Steinberg, chief executive of Elevate East Lancashire, said: "The commitment of more than £100M by Government and regional agencies is a vote of confidence in Elevate."
"There are no quick fixes for the challenges we face in East Lancashire but as this money is invested in the area, people will start to see real differences."