CONTROVERSIAL plans to slash the number of councillors in a borough by almost a third have been officially approved.

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has said that the current 49 representatives for 17 wards in Pendle will be cut to 33 politicians for 11 electoral divisions.

The announcement has been welcomed as 'good news' by the borough's Conservative boss Cllr Paul White but Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, leader of the opposition Labour group, branded it 'a cull of democracy'.

Liberal Democrat group leader and Craven ward's Cllr David Whipp warned smaller communities would 'lose their identity'.

The commission has now launched a consultation with residents on what the the boundaries of the 11 new wards should be.

The change, which will take effect in 2020, will save up to £100,000 a year.

Professor Colin Mellors, commission chairman, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Pendle.

"We will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters."

Cllr White said: "This is good news.

"I’m delighted the commission has accepted our proposal to cut the number of councillors by 16.

"There were far too many councillors. It will save money better spent on services for residents."

Cllr Iqbal said: "This Conservative proposal is a cull of democracy and will undermine the ability of people to hold their councillors to account.

"This savage cull will mean the area committee system where local councillors faced residents of Brierfield, Reedley, Barrowford and West Craven every month will disappear."

Cllr Whipp said: "This is a blow to local democracy.

"It will mean the end of the area committees and people in smaller communities will lose their identity to the larger towns up the road."

Conservative proposals to move to all-out four-yearly elections from the current system of choosing one-third of the councillors each year except when Lancashire County Council holds its poll every fourth year were defeated in November.

Local people have until May 6 to submit their views. They will have a further chance to comment after the commission publishes draft recommendations in July.”

Further information can be found at and

Members of the public can send their views to: The Review Officer (Pendle) LGBCE, 1st Floor, Windsor House, 50 Victoria Street. London SW1H 0TL.