THE government has been asked to consider an all-purpose Lancashire-wide 'super-council' rather than one for the east of the county.

County council leader Cllr Geoff Driver has written to cabinet minister Robert Jenrick in response to a letter to the local government secretary from his Blackburn with Darwen counterpart Cllr Mohammed Khan.

Currently Lancashire County Council provides major services such as highways and social care to 12 districts who provide lesser ones such as planning and rubbish collection. They include Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale and Ribble Valley.

Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool are unitary authorities providing the full range of services.

Earlier this month Cllr Khan wrote to Mr Jenrick proposing that his authority merge with Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle, and Rossendale to create a single all-purpose Pennine Lancashire council.

Now Cllr Driver has written to Mr Jenrick telling him: "My view is that if a unitary council is to be considered, it would be inappropriate to look at this in isolation from the rest of Lancashire. If you are minded to invite a submission from Blackburn with Darwen, the county council will put forward alternative proposals for your consideration."

Cllr Phil Riley, deputy leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “ The Pennine Lancashire unitary proposal would bring together councils with a shared history and a great deal in common and would be a common sense way of dealing with the continuing programme of government cuts. The LCC unitary council proposal, on the contrary, makes no practical sense and would mean all district council services being run by a remote and faceless bureaucracy in Preston.”

Cllr Driver said: "If local government reform is proposed it should be on a Lancashire-wide basis not done in a piecemeal fashion. Apart from Blackburn with Darwen Council I do not detect much enthusiasm for a Pennine Lancashire unitary council among the other authorities mentioned."

Burnley Council leader Cllr Charlie Briggs said: "We are happy with the current two-tier structure."

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones: "The government wants to reduce the numbers of the councils but the way to do that is to have an East Lancashire Pennine unitary, not a Preston-run Lancashire council. It will take all council jobs out of Hyndburn to Preston."