NORTHERN Powerhouse minister and Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry said the cash would prove key to regenerating Darwen town centre.

He said: “This announcement shows that the Northern Powerhouse is not just about cities but about the regeneration of Northern Powerhouse towns for the future.

“It is about developing and spreading economic development and prosperity across the whole region.

“It is the equivalent for Lancashire towns of the City Deal the government agreed for Preston."

Mr Berry added: “For a long time I have been campaigning for extra funds to redevelop the town centre.

“This releases money to regenerate Darwen and enable other improvements including the Lower Darwen Relief Road from Milking Lane.

“I am delighted that the government is making up to £25million available for the regeneration of Darwen and the redevelopment of its town centre.

“For too long Darwen has been badly treated by Blackburn.

“This government funding will finally enable work to start on regenerating Darwen to improve the town centre, create jobs, support businesses, and promote economic prosperity.

“This is very good news for Darwen indeed.”

But there was a degree of scepticism from Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley over the timing of the announcement.

He said: “This announcement is welcome but it seems something of a coincidence that it comes as we approach an early General Election.”

Earlier this year, the council funded a £1.5 million project to regenerate Darwen's market square.

The project transformed the area to the front of the town hall and market, boasting a large outdoor area for events.

Seating has also been added as well as colourful landscaping with the addition of some beautiful flower beds.