BLACKBURN with Darwen and Burnley are among 70 areas that has been chosen to benefit from a government scheme to help transform high streets.

The boroughs will receive help from the High Streets Task Force after being identified as a local authority which needs support more than most.

As part of the scheme, an expert will work with the town hall to 'diagnose the issues blocking transformation and to recommend ways to make positive changes happen on the high street'.

The support will be 'tailored to a specific local high street or centre to help create the best vision and strategies for the area'.

After a one-day expert visit, the town hall will be offered consultancy, mentoring, workshops, access to footfall data, and training programmes.

Burnley Council is also to receive £78,000 from the government's Welcome Back Fund to help prepare for the safe return of shoppers over the coming months as coronavirus restrictions ease.

A High Streets Task Force spokesman said: "The first 70 local authorities have been selected to enable support to be delivered where it’s needed most.

"Regional indicators of deprivation and inequality have been used, alongside research on the impact of Covid-19 on high street retail, to produce the list of areas that would most benefit from support.

"Visits to each of these areas will continue until mid-2022."

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham said: "As we start to see the economy opening up again we need to be doing all that we can to make our high streets in Burnley and Padiham attractive."