Burnley Council has deferred its formal response on the newly-agreed Lancashire devolution deal until the end of next month while it consults residents and businesses.

The authority's leader Cllr Afraisiab Anwar persuaded its full meeting on Wednesday to wait seven weeks before giving its considered view to the government as part of a consultation running until January 26.

The former Labour turned Burnley Independent Group Cllr Anwar made clear his own reservations about the proposal for a Combined County Authority agreed last month by the government, Lancashire County, Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool councils.

He branded it 'underwhelming'.

But Cllr Mark Townsend, new leader of the authority's Labour group, objected to the delay saying: "The wait and see policy continues. It is a policy that has got us to this calamity of a proposal.

"This is just being weak and mealy-mouthed.

"This is a division three deal. We need a premier league deal. It is undemocratic."

Cllr Anwar told the meeting: "Personally we can take part in that consultation, but I think for us today so early on in the consultation period for us to make a decision and as a council to oppose the deal would be premature.

"I think it would be unfair on all of our residents and businesses and also on other stakeholders as well.

"I am proposing that full council defer submitting a consultation supporting or opposing the proposal until the January 24, 2024, full council meeting to enable members to make an informed decision after the hearing the views of residents, businesses and stakeholders.

"Our initial view is that while we affirm our support for devolution in Lancashire we express our reservations regarding the proposed terms of the announced deal.

"Also this council has previously advocated for exploring a mayoral combined authority.

"Regrettably the current proposed deal falls short of representing Burnley's ambitions and addressing our unique challenges."

Conservative finance spokesperson, Cllr Jamie McGowan, said: "The county devolution deal is not about taking powers away from Burnley Borough Council.

"This is about moving decision making down from Whitehall to Lancashire. It will just be a transfer of money up from London to us in Lancashire."