BLACKBURN with Darwen Council leaders are continuing to push for the creation of a Pennine Lancashire 'super-council'.

Leader of the council, Cllr Mohammed Khan, said it was proof the authority was able to “see the bigger picture” in terms of the financial benefits of joining forces with district councils across East Lancashire to form the proposed new unitary authority.

Cllr Khan told members at a council forum meeting he was preparing to write a letter to the secretary of state for local government, Robert Jenrick, asking for permission to put a proposal together.

He said: “This is us asking the Government to see if we meet the criteria. If we do, then we can start discussing it with other local authorities and the people of East Lancashire.

"We can see the bigger picture about Pennine Lancashire when a lot of others can't.

"Blackburn with Darwen is looking beyond itself to improve the quality of life for people.

"It's a long process but it would save a substantial amount of money."

Conservative group leader Cllr John Slater said his members also backed the plan and added he would be happy to put his name to the letter to show cross-party support.

He added: "I hope you can put pressure on other Labour leaders and I will do the same for the opposition ones to try and build some more support on this."

In February, four East Lancashire borough leaders launched a campaign to create a new all-purpose ‘Pennine Lancashire’ council.

The bosses of Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale wanted to merge and create a unitary authority.

They sent a cross-party letter to local government secretary James Brokenshire calling for the new body to control of all council services.

But since then, there have been changes in leadership at Burnley and Pendle Councils and appetite for the proposal has diminished.

Hyndburn and Ribble Valley are opposed to the plan.

In Pendle, Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr David Whipp said: "Imposing a unitary authority centred on Blackburn will lead to the loss of any true local control on local matters by local residents and their representatives.

“It would mean a take-over of local services in Pendle, many of which would no doubt be cut and closed down and sold off to meet the needs of the bigger towns to the west.”

Supporters of the proposal say it would save money and give East Lancashire a bigger voice in Westminster, but Pendle's LibDem group believe the shake-up would cost £35 million which would be taken from services.