ALMOST 20 per cent of a borough’s population have signed a petition to stop the potential Lancashire super council.

In June, all 15 councils in Lancashire backed the principle of a new county combined authority for the first time.

The idea of a ‘super council’, as it’s been dubbed, has been supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough’s Labour leader Cllr Mohammed Khan.

But the proposal, which has been in discussion for more than four years, has not gone down lightly with many in East Lancashire, with over 8,000 Ribble Valley residents signing a petition they wish to take to Parliament.

Emma Dickinson, who set up the petition, said: “Blackburn with Darwen Council has proposed a super council, which will absorb the current Ribble Valley.

“We Valley residents stood firm last time this was proposed and it's time to do so again.

“We will not be accepting this. We want to remain separate and independent.

“The proposal is ridiculous. The Ribble Valley is not up for being split up and amalgamated with anyone. We are staying just as we are.”

The borough’s leader, Cllr Stephen Atkinson, has also spoken out against the proposal, vowing to fight for his borough’s independence within such a strategic local government structure.

He was reacting to Cllr Khan’s view that a combined authority with an elected mayor would need three unitary councils below it, with one for East Lancashire merging his borough with Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle Rossendale and possibly Ribble Valley.

Cllr Atkinson said: “I am very disappointed that some council leaders have used this unanimity to go a giant step further and set out their plans to reorganise the local government structure in Lancashire.

“Speaking for the residents and businesses of Ribble Valley I can’t see any desire to be taken over by a Greater Blackburn or anyone else.

“I will do my best to protect the independence of Ribble Valley, until the residents of the Ribble Valley tell me different.”

The topic has caused hot debate all over social media, with thousands getting involved to have their say.