A ROW erupted over ‘disproportionate’ spending by the council in areas of Darwen.

During a Blackburn with Darwen Council forum at Blackburn Town Hall, Sudell Coun Roy Davies said not enough money was being spent on his ward.

It came during a debate on compulsory purchase orders - when the council takes ownership of empty properties to bring them back into use - on Thursday night.

During the meeting, executive member for housing Coun Yusuf Jan-Virmani, reported that 40 Gillibrand Street and 12 Westwell Street had been approved for compulsory purchase orders.

But Coun Davies said more needed to be done in the Sudell area.

He said: “We have a lot of empty properties in Sudell, one of the worst problems in the borough.

“I would like to see more action on this in terms of compulsory purchase orders.

“Sunnyhurst ward has received £20million and we have got nothing.

“I want this put right.”

Sunnyhurst councillor Dave Smith responded: “The reason Sunnyhurst ward got the money is because of Housing Market Renewal (HMR), which your coalition Government stopped after five years.

“Liberal Democrat councillors cost the council money by opposing HMR demolitions at appeals.

“On the one hand they want more spending and on the other they make the council spend money on legal fees.”

Housing Market Renewal was scrapped in 2011 and was a scheme of demolition, refurbishment and house-building aimed at renewing the failing housing market.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern said: “HMR was supposed to last for 15 years but was stopped after five.

“Some of it was about demolition and some of it was about refurbishment.

“If it had gone ahead, Sudell would have benefited.”

Coun Jan-Virmani said: “We do everything we can.

“Some houses are empty awaiting new tenants or refurbishment.

“We are keen to tackle empty properties as we are trying to improve the borough.

“I will happily meet you and discuss what we can do in Sudell.”