A GROUP of town councillors have been accused of “bullying and bulldozing through” a decision to make Paul Browne the new Mayor of Darwen.

Coun Browne, who is also a serving borough councillor, was made Mayor in his absence at the second meeting of Darwen Town Council at Darwen Vale High School this week.

Coun Phil Jones has been made deputy leader.

Concerns were raised that because five councillors were absent from the meeting, the For Darwen Party, which hold the majortiy of seats, was able to get their ideas passed.

Lib Dem councillor John East told the meeting: “I am very much disturbed by the bullying or bulldozing through of decisions. We need to be fair and transparent.

“I am not convinced councillor Browne would be a good chairman.

“We need to see who will be best for the town as a whole and not just for political manipulation.”

Tony Melia replied: “Councillor Browne is not one of our members. He is your own party!

“It is not bullying when a number of people don’t agree with what you’re saying.

“Paul is well-liked by a lot of people in the town and would make a good figurehead.”

Coun East clarified that he was concerned about Coun Browne having a conflict of interests while also being a borough councillor.

Concerns were raised that there could also be a conflict between the town’s mayor and the borough Mayor, Coun Jim Hurst.

Coun Brenda Cronshaw said: “Jim Hurst is from Darwen himself.

“When we have events who do we ask to attend? It will cause a lot of problems.

“We are part of Blackburn borough whether we like it or not and I really, really don’t think we need a town mayor.

“I feel a lot of the public don’t want it either.”

But For Darwen Party councillor Joan Helliwell said: “It’s about putting the pride back in the town. Somebody has to be visable.

“We are a town which has a history and we had a mayor.

“We are making history again, so lets go the whole hog.”

The town council will now make a formal request to the borough council for the Darwen mayoral chains to be returned.

They are being used by the borough councillor after the Blackburn mayoral chains were stolen in the 1980s.