Another Car Park To Be Lost In Wellingborough

A town centre car park in Wellingborough will be lost to make way for 12 flats.

The one and two bedroom flats on the Doddington Road site, which will not have any of their own parking spaces, were approved by Wellingborough council’s planning committee last night (Wednesday).

The decision comes after the council controversially approved in April a plan to build more than 100 homes on town centre car park Jackson Lane, despite widespread protests from traders and users.

The plan to build the flats in Doddington Road was given a mixed reception by councillors with some in favour and others opposed.

Labour councillor Tim Maguire said: “I was very critical of the council a few months ago for not delivering housing needs.

“This car park is never full and it is an empty piece of ground.

“It is ideal, we are crying out for two bedroom properties.”

And Conservative councillor  Barry Graves said the plan would  help with the regeneration of the town centre.

The 820 metre square site, which sits in front of Croyland gardens, has 30 car parking spaces.

Two residents who live near to the car park, and ward councillor Val Anslow who lives nearby, objected to the application.

Mrs Belson who has lived in Doddington Road for 20 years said parking is an issue in the area.

She said: “Not only are the council proposing to lose a valuable car park, they want to build flats in its place with no parking facilities.

“It is fanciful to think people who rent or live in one or two bed flats have no cars.

“What about visitors to the flats? Are they coming on bikes.”

Jonathan Hornett, from Community Voices, said: “From the responses of both the Labour and Conservative councillors, it’s clear that these councillors, who all live outside of the town, really do not want people to visit or work in Wellingborough.

“This is yet another clueless sell of of public land that will never be replaced; yet again scant regard has been taken on board regarding local residents concerns, and yet more car parking spaces will be lost. It is truly mind boggling how badly our town is being run.”

Seven councillors on the committee voted to approve the plan and three voted against.

Councillors Voting to Destroy Northamptonshire

Councillors will this week be voting at Borough, District and County level on proposals for reforming local government in Northamptonshire. The outcome is predictable: the county will be split into two ‘unitary’ authorities. Will their decision ultimately be financially disastrous for residents and businesses across the region?

For whatever cause, austerity, ineptitude or sheer bad luck, Northamptonshire, like many other councils in the country, is failing its people. This is not political failure, though politics is in play, it is an altogether bigger thing where the dynamics of an ever changing population meet an absence of planning foresight and where scarcity of funds combine with a local government generally lacking the ability and agility to respond to rapidly evolving circumstances.

Local government is responsible for delivering the essentials for the wellbeing of their community; responsive and trustworthy emergency services, good health and welfare, high quality education, safe roads with reliable public transport and, above all, positive civic vision and leadership. In the face of the county’s catastrophic financial failure Northamptonshire’s elected representatives are now having to decide how these public services are to be provided in the future.

The Secretary of State imposed strict conditions when he ordered the reorganization of Northamptonshire’s councils. As Councillors prepare to vote it is essential to review those conditions starting with the unjustified instruction to sever the county into two simply because the new authority areas must contain at least 300,000 resident. In fact only eleven of UK’s 55 unitary authorities have a population over 300,000. Though population size probably does matter it need not be the sole deciding factor. Slicing the county into two ignores the precise needs of the differing communities that will find themselves in the care of a new single authority. The councillors will stand up and say no to this split when they vote?

Condition number two is the requirement to reorganise and reform on the basis of a police authority area. But police authority areas are irrelevant to those communities on the county’s fringes. Whether it is access to shops, hospitals, workplaces or schools it is people and places that matter not the jurisdiction of a Chief Constable or Police and Crime Commissioner. Will Councillors agree that today’s bobby’s beats should shape tomorrow’s?

Third is the requirement that the proposal should have solid public support. The recent consultation exercise clearly failed in that respect. Fewer than 1% of all residents responded. To put it differently, just about 2% of Northamptonshire households gave an opinion. Will the councilors claim to have solid public backing for their decision?

More generally, and barely mentioned other than in the context of the potential for increased tax income, is the planned developments that swing through Northamptonshire following an arc stretching from Oxford to Cambridge. This proposed major infrastructure project involves new rail and road links servicing a corridor of interconnected new and expanded villages loosely associated with our existing towns. This is development on a vast scale with tens of thousands of new homes sprawling across virgin countryside. The new authorities are going to have to cope with implementing that ambition but there’s no mention in the proposal of any strategy or tactic to handle the social and community planning needs of such a major undertaking. What will voting councilors have to say on this?

It is current thinking that Town and Parish Councils could deliver more of the truly local services. Expanding this tier of government is at odds with the aim of achieving economies of scale through bringing all services under one organisational umbrella. Is that going to be approved by the elected representatives?

Last but not least is the proposal’s preoccupation with cash. It obsesses about paying for the reforms, about starting with a clean slate or not, and about the financial benefits of reorganisation. What is never mentioned is the quite evident dearth of talent able to drive through reform. Today’s council leadership teams are valued and rewarded as if they were captains of industry. But we have seen that high salaries do not equate to visionary and inspiring leaders. Where in the next few months, whether from the ashes of existing councils or elsewhere, are the leadership teams able to design, manage and deliver a democratic process of change, teams with vision capable of driving through the reforms necessary for building a solid foundation for a sustainable financial future? Will today’s voting councillors know the answer to this fundamental human resources question?

It is said that people get the government they deserve. One thing is for sure; the people of Northamptonshire will soon know what they are going to get. For what the people of Northamptonshire are about to receive, should they be truly thankful?

Written by Harry Mellor originally for the Northamptonshire Green Party

Proposals for the future of governance in Northamptonshire now online

Following a ‘so called’ county-wide consultation exercise, a proposed submission has been drafted by all eight authorities in Northamptonshire. This will be discussed by councillors at meetings across the county, week commencing 27 August.

Northamptonshire County Council’s councillors will meet on Tuesday 28 August.  Details of your borough/district council’s meeting will be on their own websites.

Consultation results and proposal

All eight authorities in Northamptonshire have been asked by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to submit a proposal that meets the following ridiculous criteria:

  • A single county-wide unitary is explicitly excluded as an option (why?)
  • Each new proposed authority must have a population substantially in excess of 300,000 (why?)
  • The proposal must be based on existing council boundaries (why?)

In addition to the criteria set out by the Secretary of State, Government has stated:

  • Only one proposal will be accepted, not a range of options (to give the councillors no choices)
  • It must demonstrate clear potential for savings (not in the near future)
  • It must command a good deal of local support (which it hasn’t)
  • Due consideration should be given to recommendations in the Best Value Report
  • Any solution should prioritise the Government’s wider housing and growth agenda (ie Northamptonshire must build even more houses)
  • Extensive consultation must be carried out (which it really has not been)

Please note, if two or more councils decide to submit the proposal (ie not all have to agree) it will be sent to the government on 31 August, signed by those who have decided to do so.  This simply looks like a fix, local and national government are not looking after the interests of the people of Northamptonshire; they are looking for a short term cheap fix (which the proposals certainly are not)

Northamptonshire report to propose splitting region into two unitaries

A report on the future of the debt-ridden Northamptonshire region due to be published this afternoon will likely recommend replacing all eight local authorities with two unitary councils.

Public consultation results and the report itself will both be made online at 3pm this afternoon across all eight council websites – but politicians are already predicting that proposals will recommend establishing a unitary to govern the north of the county and another to look over the west.

If approved by Whitehall, this would represent one of the biggest local government shake-ups in the past 40 years.

According to the Northamptonshire Telegraph, council leaders and chief executives from the eight district, borough and county councils have been meeting behind closed doors for weeks on end to put together the final details in the bid.

Meetings will take place across the region from 27 August, with members from Northamptonshire County Council – an authority now effectively insolvent and offering only a programme of bare-bones public services – specifically set to meet on the 28th.

All eight councils have been asked by the communities secretary to submit a proposal that meets a set of criteria. These plans were originally due on 27 July, but this was postponed by new boss James Brokenshire.

Any idea put forward must be based on existing council boundaries, and each new proposed authority must have a population substantially in excess of 300,000. A single, county-wide unitary has been explicitly ruled out as an option by central government.

The government has also confirmed that only one proposal will be accepted rather than a range of options. The winning bid must demonstrate clear potential for savings, must command “a good deal” of local support, must prioritise Whitehall’s housing and growth agenda, and must give due consideration to the results of the Best Value reportpublished earlier this year – which recommended a two-unitary system.

If Brokenshire agrees with the bid put forward and survives both Houses of Parliament, it is expected that shadow unitary boards will be created in May 2019 ahead of elections taking place the year after.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Chris Stanbra told the Northamptonshire Telegraph that he expects a lack of support for a two unitary solution for the region, “as that is all the ‘mood music’ we have been hearing.” But he believes the government will plough ahead with that proposal regardless of what councils want.

Article credit: PSE (Public Sector Executive)

Image credit: Joe Giddens, PA Images

Northamptonshire All Age Autism Strategy

Consultation on the Northamptonshire All Age Autism Strategy starts today.

Northamptonshire County Council, Corby CCG and Nene CCG are consulting on a draft Northamptonshire All Age Autism Strategy, which has been written by a mixed group of people in a steering group that included autistic people and family members and carers. It says how different local organisations in Northamptonshire will work together to support autistic people of all ages in a much better way throughout their lives. We would like to know your views on the vision and priorities that have been identified to make things better for autistic people in Northamptonshire.

Please visit their website for further information.

Have your say

You can give Northamptonshire County Council, Corby CCG and Nene CCG your views in a number of ways. Please visit their website for all of the different ways you can give your feedback to these proposals, including an online questionnaire.

This consultation closes at 5pm on Sunday 7 October 2018.

Details of this consultation and other past and present consultations are available on Northamptonshire County Council’s Consultation Register.

Bob Fletcher
Commissioning Manager (Autism)
Northamptonshire Adult Social Services (NASS)
One Angel Square
Angel Street
Northampton
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Wellingborough Pride

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Come and join in the fun with the Wellingborough LGBT group at their third annual event, Wellingborough Pride! Enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, picnics, tea and cake at this year’s Summer Fete on Saturday 11th August, 12 noon to 5pm in Castle Fields Park.  Tea, cakes and light refreshments will be available from Betsy’s Tea Room; there will also have lots of stalls to browse. Plenty of Live music is on offer, in association with Paul Strummer. Everything will be expertly compered host, Gary Johnson, so bring your own picnic, and relax to some good music and eat plenty of cake!

There are a number of other Pride events on other days over the weekend 10th – 12th August 2018 in Wellingborough; including bowling on Friday night, a George Michael tribute at the Castle and a disco at the Hind on Saturday, and Sunday Brunch at Castellos.

Friday 10th August – Start Pride in style with a few games of bowling.  Booking in advance will be required for this event as places are limited. Tickets are £15 per person for two games.  Please email if you are interested in taking part at hello@wellingboroughlgbt.net – they will then get back to you with bowling and food options for you to choose from.

Saturday 11th August – Boogie the night away with all your favourite disco sounds at the Hind Hotel on Sheep Street, Wellingborough. Doors open 8:00pm.  Entry is FREE!  But if you don’t feel like dancing, then why not relive the music, the moves and the passion of George Michael at 7:30pm in the Castle Theatre.  Book tickets for Faith here.

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Sunday 12th August – Post Pride Brunch is the perfect way to wind down after a busy weekend!  Informal brunching from 11:00 – Look for the rainbow flag in the Castello Lounge, Market Street, Wellingborough.

The Wellingborough LGBT Group can’t wait to see you at this years events.  Details all Pride events over the weekend 10th – 12th August 2018 are also on their poster or go to their Facebook page and website for more details.

Stop The Rushden Factory Farm

Cluck off 2 – Please support

Last year, a planning application was submitted for an intensive chicken farm in Rushden, Northamptonshire that would have annually housed 5 million birds.

Following incredible efforts from local campaigners, and a host of objections from Compassion supporters, the application was withdrawn. However, I’m sorry to report that this chicken farm application is back – a little smaller, but still enormous.

Bedfordia Ltd has re-submitted a proposal for a six-shed factory farm which will house 314,000 birds at a time – that’s almost 2.5 million animals every year.

The deadline for objections to this factory farm is 8th August. The chickens urgently need your help. Please object today to planning application 18/01284/FUL

Stop The Factory Farm

Chickens can live for six or more years under natural conditions. However broilers (chickens farmed for meat) have been selectively bred to grow bigger and faster. Those used in intensive farming, like those covered by this application, will commonly be slaughtered before they reach six weeks old, by which time many of them will no longer be able to stand up or walk.Sadly, animal welfare concerns are not usually deemed valid grounds for objecting to a planning application. However, this broiler farm could have significant implications for the environment and local community. So, when making your objection, you may also wish to refer to the following:

    • Scale and system: as the UK prepares to leave the EU, we should take this opportunity to shape the future of British farming, creating a system that is beneficial for human health, the environment, and animals. Approval of this application will be a step further away from a sustainable and compassionate farming system.
    • Litter, Ammonia and Nitrous Oxide: this farm poses a threat to air quality, releasing gasses into the environment which can cause respiratory problems, unpleasant smells, and attract large numbers of flies. It will also release nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.
    • Bird flu risk: High Pathogenic variants of avian flu are a creation of the industrial‐scale poultry industry that transformed relatively harmless Low Pathogenic avian flu into a lethal disease. The overcrowding, poor health, and high stress environments inside a factory farm are the perfect conditions for viruses to mutate.
    • Antibiotic resistance: the health of chickens in factory farms has traditionally been supported by the preventative use of antibiotics. There is clear evidence that the over use of antibiotics in factory farms contributes to resistance to antibiotics in human health. There is also evidence of increased levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the areas surrounding factory farms. If you live nearby, any concerns that you have about this should be given special weight.

Objections to planning applications carry most weight when they come from local residents. Please, if you can, object to this intensive farm proposal today.For further guidance, you can also view Compassion’s objection to the application here, but do be aware that objections in your own words will have most impact. You can find our general advice on objecting to a planning application here.

Please spread the word amongst your local community, family and friends and encourage them to send in their own objections to this application. It’s vital that councillors understand how strongly local people feel about factory farming invading their towns and countryside.

(Written by CIWF)

Why Northamptonshire Went Bust

Simon Duffy visited Wellingborough to explore with citizens of Northamptonshire why their County Council had become bankrupt.

He argues that Northamptonshire is bankrupt in three ways:

  1. Financially – it could not pay its debts
  2. Politically – its leaders were no longer persuasive
  3. Intellectually – its thinking was no longer credible

Northamptonshire County Council was a leading Conservative Council, one that had led the way in the privatisation of almost every function. However privatisation and austerity together have undermined the whole system, leaving local people desperate and fearful as central government now reorganises the Council – splitting it into two parts, while destroying the 7 district councils beneath it.

Simon goes on to offer practical examples of the kind of community and citizenship orientated approaches which could help local communities escape the fate of Northamptonshire.

 


Originally published on the Centre for Welfare Reform website.

Film published by Lou Armitt.

Presentation: Responding to Northamptonshire’s Bankruptcy © Simon Duffy 2018.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Corby Says No To Single Tier Authority Proposals

After holding a consultation on unitary authority proposals directly for Corby residents, Corby Borough Council has now collated all of their responses and has found an emphatic 95% are against the introduction of a Single Tier Authority.

Corby Borough Council sent out the consultation to all households throughout the Borough and also held a petition style document at the Corby Cube for individuals to have their say. The results are as follows to the following question ‘Do you want your local authority, Corby Borough Council, to be replaced with a larger authority that funds all your services and makes decisions for the whole of North Northants’:

 

Household consultation:

4,435 households voted No

228 households voted Yes

 

Petition Style Document:

55 individuals voted No

1 individual voted Yes

 

These results will now be fed into the report that will be taken to Corby Borough Council’s Special Full Council on 30th August and will help inform Corby’s response to the Secretary of State. They will also be fed into the county wide consultation as a submission from Corby.

Leader of Corby Borough Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said:

‘I made it very clear from the outset that Corby Borough Council did not willingly accept the conclusion of the Government Inspector that there should be a two unitary solution. I also stated that I would ensure the people of Corby had the opportunity to have their say before any response was made.

‘We are very pleased that the people of Corby have taken advantage of this opportunity through what has been a very successful consultation process. The results here in Corby are very clear and this will now help inform our response to the Secretary of State.

‘We would like to thank every household and individual for taking time to have their say on this very important issue.’

Corby’s consultation was held in addition to the county wide consultation that all Northamptonshire authorities are a part of. The county wide consultation results are expected to be released soon.

Community Safety Festival (Mela)

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Community Watch have organised a Community Safety Festival / Mela at Wellingborough Hindu Community Centre on Sunday 29th July 2018, from 12 noon till 5pm

The aim of the Festival is to get local people together to think about their safety and the safety of our community and to come together to help each other resolve many of these issues alongside the Police. They hope that as a result of the event many more Neighbourhood Watch and Street Watch schemes will be created.
There will be many stalls related to security and safety as well as free vegetarian food and lots of fun activities so please put this in your diary and tell your friends.
There are still spaces for you or your organisation or group to have a stall at the festival.  If you are interested please email or give Marion Turner-Hawes a call on 01933 381467 or 07584 350308 (Marion Turner-Hawes is a Community Watch Project Worker)