THE proposed Darwen Deal Board will be expanded to include a Darwen borough councillor.

The originally proposed board included Darwen town council leader, John East, but concerns were raised about the lack of a borough councillor from Darwen on the board.

Either Tory group leader, Cllr John Slater, or his Conservative colleague, Cllr Kevin Connor, will take up a position on the board.

Other deal board members will include Wayne Wild, managing director of Darwen engineers WEC, as chairman, Gary Aspden, the Adidas design consultant and Steve Waggott, Blackburn Rovers chief executive.

Cllr Phil Riley, will also figure, alongside Dr Fazal Dad, Blackburn College principal, and Miranda Barker, East Lancs Chamber chief executive, among others.

An early work programme will cover a town centre renewal scheme, including a business growth zone, and a Darwen Energy Cluster, to deliver a local heating initiative.

Other schemes will focus on developing environmental, cultural and creative and infrastructure initiatives. Investment in key assets such as Darwen Library and Theatre, Darwen Tower, AFC Darwen and The Barlow has been mooted.

Cllr Riley said: "There was no Darwen borough councillor on there so we understand the concern and we are comfortable in the interests of making this work having someone extra on the board and asking Cllr Slater who that person should be.

"We are pleased with the make up of the board and we are hoping it will indicate that we are keen to take the whole idea seriously and bring funding forward."

Darwen is one of 101 towns across the country invited to apply for £3.6 billion of Government funding.

The new Towns Fund is earmarked for regeneration, skills and enterprise infrastructure and improving connectivity.

Mr Wild, who is known for being one the transformational business leaders behind the high-performing Darwen-based engineering company as well as a former chairman of AFC Darwen, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to the town.

"The board will represent the people of Darwen and local businesses with a primary focus to work hard with the council and the town’s MP to get the very best deal we can.

"We will listen closely to our residents’ and businesses views on how they believe the funding could best be spent ensuring that those views are at the very heart of all our decisions."