THE For Darwen Party have taken half of the seats on the newly-formed Darwen Town Council.

The party, which spear-headed the campaign for Darwen to have its own powers, took seven seats, Liberal Democrats took four seats and Labour and Cons-ervatives took one each.

Leader of the For Darwen Party Tony Melia said: “It’s fantastic that after years of hard work, the town council has finally come into fruition.

“Now we can start to promote the town.

“The town council was never about the power, but about changing the image of the town.

“It’s the end of a lot of campaigning and the start of a new beginning for Darwen.”

He now hopes to get the Darwen mayoral chains back from the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, who is using them after Blackburn’s chains were stolen in the 1980s.

Two of the elected councillors – Lib Dem Roy Davies and Labour’s Dave Smith – say they don’t believe in the town council.

Coun Smith, who was a borough councillor for 22 years before being ousted last year, said: “I’m not really a fan of the town council because it has very limited powers and the budget is very small, something like £60,000.

“People need to be realistic about the powers we will have. But seeing as people have voted for it, we have got to make it work.”

Coun Davies said: “I didn’t agree with the town council from the start because it’s another layer of bureau-cracy and it will increase the taxes Darweners have to pay. But I want to be on it to represent the people who didn’t want it in the first place and also the people who did want it – I want to make sure that every penny that comes to Darwen is spent properly.”

The only winning Conserv-ative candidate, Brenda Cronshaw, walked out of the count in King George’s Hall, Blackburn, thinking she’d lost.

She was back serving customers on her market stall in Darwen when she heard the news of her win.