EAST Lancashire’s biggest council will see its number of councillors slashed by a fifth saving more than £100,000-a-year under final proposals published yesterday.

But while Blackburn with Darwen Borough will next year have just 51 councillors across 17 three member wards, next door Ribble Valley will keep its current total of 40.

The decisions by the Local Government Boundary Commission largely reflects the draft proposals submitted by the two councils.

Blackburn with Darwen’s Labour leadership proposed cutting the current number of 64 councillors across 23 wards to 51 representing 17 wards including major changes to the boundaries in Darwen and abolishing Meadowhead ward.

Their proposals were accepted by the commission except for altering the boundaries of Ewood ward and its surrounding electoral divisions to keep ‘equality of representation’ across the borough.

A rival Conservative group proposal for 54 political representatives across 18 wards was rejected.

The Commission’s final recommendations propose that Ribble Valley should be represented by 40 borough councillors in the future: the same as the current arrangement.

The recommendations also propose those councillors should represent 14 two-councillor wards and 12 one-councillor wards.

This was the proposal of the Conservative-led council but the commission made significant changes in the East of the borough.

It redrew the suggested ward boundaries around Clitheroe, Whalley, Read and Simonstone.

The changes will now be confirmed by Parliament and take effect at the next local elections in spring 2018 in both borough’s which will elect a whole new set of councillors.

Professor Colin Mellors, chairman of the Commission, said: “We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness as well as reflecting community ties.”

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “I am delighted that the Boundary Commission accepted almost all our recommendations in full.”

Cllr John Slater, leader of the Conservative group, said: “We are unhappy with the recommendations and believe with proposed housing developments an extra ward will be needed.”

The commission had been tasked with reducing inequalities in the number of voters between wards.

This involved the controversial redrawing, merging and renaming of wards.