COUNCIL leader Kate Hollern has been accused of ignoring Darwen now she is seeking to become MP for Blackburn.

Sudell councillor Paul Browne made the allegation at the full meeting of the council forum.

The Liberal Democrat attacked her over her report to Blackburn with Darwen councillors which led off on the ‘Blackburn is Open’ campaign to boost the town centre.

Coun Browne told her: “Darwen as a place might as well not exist as far as you are concerned, especially since you decided to try to become Blackburn’s Labour MP.

“Do the voters of Blackburn know you actually live in Darwen?

“Darwen Town Council does far more for this town than the borough ever does in terms of grants to groups there.”

Coun Hollern hit back: “If you read my report Paul, there is a big item on Darwen’s Square Meadow just further down. Organiser Harry Blackwell approached the Sudell Liberal Democrat councillors and got nothing done. He came to me and we were glad to help and get the ball rolling on transforming the former sports field.

“The ‘Blackburn is Open’ initiative is about dealing with the problem of empty shops and using them to give opportunities for creative and business-minded young people.

“Many people from Darwen come and shop in Blackburn and this is for the good of the whole borough. It is not the same problem in Darwen where I am delighted to see how well the night-time economy is doing.”

After the meeting Coun Hollern said: “One minute Paul’s saying I’m only bothered about Blackburn, then he’s telling people I live in Darwen. He and the Lib Dems have nothing to say so they make these claims.

“I am the leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council and since Labour took back power, we have done all we can for both towns.”

Coun Browne said: “I, the other Sudell councillor Roy Davies and Darwen Town Council have supported Harry Blackwell over Square Meadow 100 per cent throughout.”

Mr Blackwell was not available for comment.