GOVERNMENT plans to re-organise local authorities have caused a split among Hyndburn's councillors.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe expressed concerns that the borough could be swallowed up by a larger authority, after a document outlining the proposals was leaked to a national newspaper earlier this year.
It revealed that the Government hopes to abolish 34 county councils and 230 district councils across England and replace them with larger multi-purpose authorities, with powers devolved to neighbourhood groups.
A White Paper is due in the spring and the new councils could be in place as early as 2009 but Councillor Britcliffe said that he is "very suspicious about the news."
At a meeting of the full council at Accrington Town Hall, he submitted a motion to "condemn the consistent interference from Government" and moved that the council "opposes local government re-organisation in all its forms."
He urged councillors to say no to re-organisation, adding: "There is something very fishy in this. If you want a proper discussion to take place why have the consultation in the summer?
"As a council we are saying to central government go away, hands off us and leave well alone. We are very happy to run on the system we have."
But the leader of the Labour group, Councillor David Myles, disagreed, saying: "We won't be voting for this motion or against it because we don't know what we are voting for as nothing has been put on the table.
"This motion would exclude us from becoming a Hyndburn unitary authority and it would exclude a Hyndburn and Ribble Valley unitary authority, which you supported last year, because it is opposing local government re-organisation in all its forms. I think it is important that we take a full and complete part in these discussions."
All 18 of the borough's Conservative councillors backed the motion but the 15 Labour councillors abstained from voting.
Councillor Britcliffe said: "I am so disappointed that you are missing this opportunity because we are saying let's stop this before it begins.
"It is the chance for you to say to your Government and MP, no, leave us alone.
"You have missed your opportunity but we will do it for you and we will get people to support our bid to keep Hyndburn as it is."