THE people of Hyndburn have sent out a loud and clear message - Back off Big Brother.
More than 95 per cent of callers in an exclusive Observer telephone poll rejected the shock Boundary Committee proposal for the borough to be taken over by Blackburn.
A total of 286 people took part in the poll - the first chance for the public to have a say on the plan - and just 13 welcomed the option to extend Blackburn with Darwen's boundaries to include Hyndburn.
Now the Observer is going to take your message to the top, with the launch of a campaign calling on the Boundary Committee to drop the idea of a Blackburn with Hyndburn unitary authority.
We are urging our readers to complete and return the form on the front page of this week's Observer, and Hyndburn MP Greg Pope has promised to deliver them to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
Mr Pope praised the Observer for bringing the opinions of residents into the spotlight.
He said: "I have said all along that this is a daft option. People in Hyndburn don't want their services managed from Blackburn."
"I will be writing to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and I will quote the Observer poll. I think you should be commended for running this very useful snapshot of people's opinions."
"I will be honoured to pass your petition on. The important thing for people to realise is that this is not done and dusted. We must make it clear that this is not what people want."
Both Conservative and Labour members of Hyndburn Council have united against the takeover proposal.
But it WOULD come into effect if people voted for a North West Regional Assembly in an autumn referendum and then preferred it to a second option of a unitary authority based along the lines of the current Lancashire County Council.