THE new leader of Burnley Council has thanked his predecessor for ‘transforming’ the authority.

Coun Mark Townsend recently took over from Coun Julie Cooper after she stepped down to concentrate on campaigning in the 2015 General Election.

The Labour councillor for Brunshaw said: “Firstly, I congratulate my predecessor Coun Cooper who has transformed a council known for talking a lot and delivering little to a council of action. Burnley Bridge, Innovation Drive, the Todmorden Curve, Manchester Road Railway Station and the Weavers’ Triangle have all been taken from the town hall committee rooms to actual bricks, tracks and mortar.

“The partnership established with local business and entrepreneurs has been recognised nationally as best practice.

“Burnley is now a place to invest and do business. I am taking over at a time when government cuts are hitting the council hard.

“Tough choices lie ahead as we reform our services to meet the financial realities of a 19 per cent cut in our government grant.”