BURNLEY Council has rejected any merger of East Lancashire local authorities as part of a local government reorganisation giving the county a powerful directly-elected mayor.

It made its reservations clear as it backed exploring the possibility of a strategic Lancashire Combined Authority further.

The decision taken at the borough’s full council meeting runs counter to the proposal by Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan to create a Pennine Lancashire unitary authority taking Rossendale, Hyndburn, Burnley and Pendle as part of a reorganisation leading to an elected mayor for the whole county.

As Blackburn with Darwen’s full Council Forum backed the new combined authority on Thursday, Cllr Khan said: “Lancashire is getting left behind.”

While Burnley’s meeting backed further discussions, it agreed: “This council rejects any form of local government reorganisation, or simplification, as a condition for a combined authority.”