A WEBSITE meant to attract business and community investment into Hyndburn is so out-of-date that it features the image of a councillor who died in July.
It was only on Wednesday that the page was removed - until then visitors to the website Hyndburn Life were under the impression that the late Councillor Edith Dunston was still the Spring Hill ward representative - even though a by-election has already taken place to elect her successor.
Other former councillors still on the website include former Immanuel ward member Sandra Hayes and Rishton's Claire Hamilton, both of whom lost their seats in May.
The site is meant to be updated by IT support staff at Hyndburn Council.
Speaking at a full council meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Graham Jones accused Hyndburn Council of wasting £591,000 of public money creating the community website portal.
Consultants were paid £300,000 to progress the scheme.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister gave £75,000, £266,000 came from the Single Regeneration Budget and a further £250,000 came from the European Regional Development Fund.
The leader of the Labour opposition said councillors had voted against officers' advice in June 2003 when they agreed to back the website, hoping it would attract business and community investment into the area.
Councillor Jones said: "The affairs of the borough are in a shocking state. Money seems to be wasted with spectacular consistency. Hyndburn Life was approved against officer advice."
He said there had been a catalogue of errors with the website which had failed to attract any business interest.
He claimed that no Hyndburn Life news or events listings had been placed on the site throughout October and barely any entries had been added on the message board.
Councillor Jones claimed the council was responsible for the site's maintenance but had been unable to do so because of chronic staff shortages.
Posters advertising the site had directed people to the wrong web address, www.pendlelife.co.uk .
However, Councillor Britcliffe, Conservative leader of the council, said the website had been funded purely through central government grants, that the council had played no part in its creation and it was just an attempt by Labour to gain more votes in yesterday's (Thurs) Rishton by-election.
Following the meeting he said: "It's actually a central government-sponsored initiative.
"It was created by the Labour government to be separate from the council to encourage business and community activity.
"No money was spent by Hyndburn Council to develop it.
"The council is not responsible for the website and we assist with IT expertise to keep its running costs down.
"The council has acted as an enabler.
"I can only think this was done to garner a few cheap votes in the Rishton by-election."