Fury has greeted a decision by council bosses to abolish area councils.
The cost-saving move, which will see nine area councils across Hyndburn scrapped next year. Council leader Miles Parkinson said that government cuts had left area councils ‘unviable looking ahead’.
Speaking at a meeting of Hyndburn council on Thursday, June 5, Coun Parkinson said: “Our capital programme for the current year is only a quarter of what it was four years ago and we now receive no government grant for general capital expenditure.
“We only have £2.5 million of capital resources left to cover the next three years and, of that, £1.5 million is already committed to finance existing commitments.
“With this in mind, I have concluded that the council’s current area working arrangements must be brought to an end.
“The cuts year-on-year have left the remaining area council’s managing ever decreasing budgets and have rendered them unviable looking ahead.
“I want to stress the importance of maintaining strong and vibrant local communities and I encourage members to bring forward proposals and new ideas for the regeneration and improvement of our various townships and neighbourhoods.”
Conservative group leader Peter Britcliffe, who introduced area councils 15 years ago when he was council leader, said that ‘democracy had lost out’ as a result of the move.
Coun Britcliffe said: “Every area in Hyndburn is going to be poorer for it for this decision.
“The area councils have done some wonderful work, they have been a catalyst for good.
“This act puts power in the hands of those in cabinet. Democracy and the public are losing out.”
Hyndburn UKIP chairman, coun Paul Thompson said he was ‘shocked’ by the announcement but voted in favour of it due to ‘the reality of the cutbacks’.
He said: “I am new to the council and I have just looked at the finances. “If we’re not careful we could be set back 10 years. With the cuts coming in, the situation is impossible.
“We don’t want frontline services to disappear.”