NEW fears that Hyndburn Council could be swallowed up by a larger authority surfaced this week - just 18 months after the Observer was sussessful in its Back off Big Brother campaign.
We printed window stickers and collected a 1,000-signature petition against the controversial plan which was seen as a Blackburn takeover.
The campaign was won when plans for a North West Regional Assembly were dropped.
But now a document leaked to a national newspaper revives the threat to small councils like Hyndburn.
It reveals 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 down to neighbourhood groups.
A White Paper is due in the spring and the new councils could be in place as early as 2009.
It would constitute the biggest reform of local government since 1974.
The White Paper is also expected to recommend that councils should be run by directly-elected Cabinets.
And it wants each ward to be represented by a single "super councillor'' which is seen as a way of attracting new talent into local government.
There would be no referendum on the proposals and elections could be held in May 2008.
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "This White Paper is very worrying. There have been a lot of private meetings.
"We don't want Hyndburn swallowed up by Blackburn so we are very suspicious about this news. We don't know what the consultation process will involve but it is happening over July, August and September when many councillors are on holiday and there isn't a high focus on local politics.