Blackburn with Darwen is a semi-rural unitary borough located in the east of Lancashire. It has compact urban areas predominately but not exclusively located around the towns of Blackburn and Darwen. The area is surrounded by countryside and features a number of small rural villages and hamlets.
Blackburn with Darwen borders Bury and Bolton in the south, Chorley in the west, Hyndburn and Rossendale in the east and the Ribble Valley in the north.
The local authority area sits over two parliamentary constituencies, Rossendale and Darwen in the South and Blackburn in the North; in the 2017 general election they were returned Conservative and Labour respectively.
Following a review of the borough’s electoral arrangements in 2017, there are 51 Councillors representing 17 new wards. The borough operates a Leader and Executive model of governance.
Aside from the borough council the area is also home to six parish councils. These are:
- Darwen Town Council
- Eccleshill and Waterside Parish Council
- Livesey Parish Council
- North Turton Parish Council
- Pleasington Parish Council
- Tockholes Parish Council
- Yate and Pickup Bank Parish Council
Parish and ward data can be found using the ONS and Nomis Local Area Report tool
The borough is well located with good transport and infrastructure links to the rest of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and beyond. Blackburn and Darwen are both served by the Clitheroe to Rochdale rail line. Blackburn is also served by the York to Blackpool line and the Blackburn to Manchester Victoria Line. Regional rail use statistics show that in 2017/18 the main station in the borough was Blackburn with 1,258,190 entries and exits, ranking it 453rd in Great Britain.
The borough's road infrastructure allows good connectivity, with the A666 providing an access corridor to Bolton, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and the Ribble Valley. The borough also hosts three motorway junctions of the M65 which provides quick access to Preston, Burnley and the rest of Lancashire, the M61, the M66 and the M6.
Blackburn with Darwen has areas of predominantly terraced properties and over half the housing stock falls into the lowest council tax band A. Such housing is mainly found in the urban towns of Blackburn and Darwen. In contrast, areas to the north of the borough and the villages located in the countryside to the south are significantly more affluent providing a variety of more exclusive rural accommodation.
In total there are around 61,300 homes within the borough and in the region of 5% of these lay empty.
The UK House Price Index shows that on average, house prices in Blackburn with Darwen are below regional and national averages. However owing to the prevailing geography of the area and the differing styles of home available some homes can be bought quite cheaply compared to national trends whilst larger and more bespoke accommodation often matches regional levels, especially within the rural areas. Small area figures are also available, which give further breakdowns such as by housing type.
In terms of social housing the borough council currently holds no housing stock and like other Pennine Lancashire authorities the housing association, Together Housing, manages the majority of the local social housing portfolio.
Police recorded crime statistics show that ‘theft offences’, ‘violence without injury’, and ‘criminal damage and arson’ are the largest categories of recorded crime in the borough. The proportion of crimes in each category in Blackburn with Darwen is similar to the wider Lancashire area as a whole.
Overall the recorded crime rate in the borough tends to be higher than the Lancashire average, but lower than other large Lancashire urban conurbations of Preston, Burnley and Blackpool.
There is however significant variation within the borough itself, with the lowest crime levels tending to be found in the rural areas of the borough and some of the highest levels in central Blackburn.