DARWEN’S MP has called on the borough council to invest more heavily in the town’s markets.

Jake Berry said the recently announced investment in the market annex was ‘not good enough’.

He also claimed the council had ‘run Blackburn into the ground’ and said Darwen was a far better place to shop.

Last month, the council announced work, expected to start in the summer, that will include new lighting, a replacement floor, redecoration of the building, refurbishment of the preparation rooms and the creation of a new store room.

There will also be further space created in the annexe area.

Mr Berry said: “Blackburn town centre has been run into the ground by the Labour Party over the last 25 years.

“Its vacant shops and takeaways are best viewed in the rear view mirror on your way to Darwen to shop in our vibrant, historic market town.

“Our market needs investment, and a quick lick of paint and a tart-up of the annex is not good enough.

“I have been calling on the council for a major redevelopment which, while protecting every part of the market, should include basic things like stopping the roof leaking, better heating and the provision of free wireless internet to use at the cafes and stalls.

“Labour has spent £30million on Blackburn while ignoring Darwen.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern said she was stunned by Mr Berry’s comments.

She said: “In recent years, Labour has spent more than £30m in Darwen including the new leisure centre, new homes and the new health centre.

“This investment has enhanced Darwen and secured its standing as a vibrant historic market town.

“Darwen has a busy thriving market made popular by the hard-working traders “I would want to know what Jake means by major redevelopment. Does that mean he is calling for the end of the three-day market?

“Given that this council has lost £98 million in Government cuts, is he expecting traders to pay for this redevelopment with higher rents?

“It looks like pre-election panic. He has let the people of Darwen down by supporting cuts in the North and investment in the South.

“Our analysis shows that Darwen gets more than its pro-rata share based on population.”