DARWEN town centre and surrounding residential streets have seen the most deaths linked to the coronavirus than any other area in the borough, the latest figures show.

A total of 10 people who were registered as having lived in 'Darwen Town' have died following a COVID-19 diagnosis – more than anywhere else in the whole of Blackburn with Darwen.

The figures were released by the Office for National Statistics just days after councillors and residents in the town argued that ‘Darwen shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush as Blackburn’ as talks of local lockdown commenced amidst a significant increase in virus cases across the borough.

Darwen councillor Paul Browne said he was flabbergasted to hear that an area of Darwen had seen more deaths than anywhere else – especially given the recent news of high infection rates in some Blackburn wards.

He said: “This has really shocked me – I would never have expected there to be more deaths in an area of Darwen compared to other places in the borough.

“It just goes to show we can’t be careful enough and we must not drop the ball. I’m already seeing people becoming more relaxed, we cannot let all our good work and months of lockdown go to waste.

“It’s tragic to hear so many people have lost loved ones to the virus in and around our town.”

At the other end of the scale, Ewood and Fernhurst had no recorded deaths – the only one of Blackburn with Darwen’s 18 areas to have no deaths.

Deprived areas across England had death rates related to Covid-19 of more than double that of the most affluent parts – 139.6 per 100,000 compared to 63.4.

In Blackburn with Darwen, 90 people have died since the start of the pandemic with five deaths linked to coronavirus in June.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the statistics are another “grim reminder” that it is the people living in more deprived areas who are bearing the brunt of this disease.

Peter Matejic, head of evidence at the organisation, said: “It is utterly wrong that someone’s life chances are so deeply impacted by where they live."

In Burnley, Rosehill and Burnley Wood recorded the highest death toll with 16 deaths – the same number was also reported in Rossendale’s worst-affected area, Helmshore.

In Pendle, Colne Horsfield recorded the most deaths with 12, while in Hyndburn both Clayton-le-Moors and Huncoat alongside Oswaldtwistle recorded 11 deaths.

East Lancashire’s least affected borough in terms of both cases and deaths, the Ribble Valley, registered the most deaths from residents living in Whalley and Brockhall.