LANCASHIRE police have chosen Blackburn’s Greenbank station over its Burnley counterpart as headquarters for the giant new east division.

The decision was announced yesterday by chief constable Steve Finnigan and police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw.

It follows last month’s decision to merge eastern division – for Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley – with its Pennine counterpart, for Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale from April.

Six divisions are being merged into three to save management costs as the force tries to save £73million by 2017.

Chief Superintendent Chris Bithell, currently head of Pennine based in Burnley, will lead the new structure for East Lancashire following the retirement of Eastern’s Bob Eastwood.

Mr Finnigan announced the decision at a meeting of Lancashire’s Police and Crime Panel at Blackburn Town Hall.

The remaining two divisions will be headquartered in Preston and Blackpool, where a new station will be built.

Mr Finnegan said: “We have decided that Greenbank is the best place to base the East management team.

“We are talking about just a few senior officers.

“There will still be three major police bases there, at Burnley’s central police station on Parker Lane and Craddock Road, Colne.

“I can assure people that I, and Chris Bithell, will ensure Burnley and the surrounding area are properly policed.

“We are deciding on the details to ensure the best policing for a division larger than some forces.”

Mr Grunshaw promised a replacement police station on the edge of Accrington town centre for Hyndburn was ‘on track and in the budget’.

Panel chair and Blackburn with Darwen council leader Kate Hollern said: “I welcome the decision but need to see assurances the rest of East Lancashire will be adequately policed.”

Burnley councillor and panel member Margaret Brindle said: “Burnley always seems to lose out to Blackburn on things like this.”