Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry is being accused of failing his constituency by not backing a bid for funding for Darwen town centre, councillors have claimed.

Blackburn with Darwen Council, along with Rossendale Borough Council, had applied for stage one funding for Darwen and Bacup respectively, as part of the Government’s £675million Future High Streets Fund, which was launched late last year.

But bosses were dismayed to find both bids had been unsuccessful despite the funding falling within Mr Berry’s ministerial portfolio.

Out of the East Lancashire towns that did apply for funding, only Nelson and Chorley made it through to the second stage of the funding, which could see them bagging £150,000.

Darwen councillor, Dave Smith said: "It is extremely disappointing that Darwen (and Bacup) were not chosen for the Future High Street Fund.

"Especially after the bid fulfilled all the criteria asked for by the Minister.

"It is doubly disappointing that the Minister, Jake Berry MP, failed to support the bids within his own constituency.

"The Council will be contacting the Minister to try to get feedback as to exactly why the bid was not chosen despite meeting the given criteria."

Leader of Rossendale Council, Alyson Barnes, also voiced her disappointment.

She said: "I am very disappointed that our Member of Parliament has not been able to get behind either the Bacup or Darwen bids.

"Nelson, Morecambe and Chorley have all gone through to the second round, no doubt the MPs representing those towns worked hard to ensure their areas benefitted.

"I just hope the people of Bacup and Darwen remember this the next time their is a general election."

Darwen councillor Roy Davies said: "It's always the case, the ones that need it most never get it. I say good luck to Nelson and the others, but it should have been us."

Executive member for growth and development at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Cllr Phil Riley, said he thought Darwen's bid might have got a push from Mr Berry

He commented: "Naively we thought our bid might get a bit of a push from the local MP but it came in the wrong direction.

"We have asked for feedback on what we did wrong and we are being refused any advice on that from Mr Berry’s own department.

"We are in the dark as to what happened and I think that’s unacceptable."

When asked to comment on the lack of support for both Darwen and Bacup, Mr Berry's office issued this statement: "It was a really positive step forward when the council agreed to put Darwen forward for this funding rather than Blackburn.

"It's just a pity that the bid they put together for the town was not judged to have been good enough to go forwards to the business development stage.

"Everyone from Darwen knows our town has huge potential that's why I will be working with the council to improve their bid so that we can look to secure funding to help our fantastic market town prosper and grow."