The consultation timing for the proposed restructuring of Northamptonshire’s councils, is very short indeed. Public comments must be submitted by 22 July. Therefore if there is any strength of feeling community voices need to be raised right now. To facilitate this, we are holding a further Community Voices Forum on the other side of the county; in South Northamptonshire. We will have the consultation documents on display, with talks about the proposals and further options; then an open forum to get opinions from the community.
The ‘South Northamptonshire Community Voices Forum’ will be held at St Lawrence’s Church (off High Street) Chantry House, 88 Watling Street, Towcester. NN12 6YY on Monday 16th July from 7.00pm – 9.00pm. The point of this forum is solely going to be about whether we accept the government decision to split the county into two or whether we demand different solutions because South Northamptonshire’s mostly rural communities have different needs than Northampton Town. A popular option could be that a three way split is what is required.
Northamptonshire County Council has failed
A government inspection says that Northamptonshire County Council has problems with the way it is run and problems paying for the services it provides to residents. These problems can only be solved by a new way of working by having single, one-stop, full-service authorities. The overall objective of setting up these Unitary Authorities is to create a more efficient public service with lower costs than today.
The proposal presented to all the county’s district councils was to create three new authorities, one for one for Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough, one for Northampton, the largest town in England, and one which combines South Northamptonshire and Daventry Districts.
Is two unitary councils going to deliver the best outcome for the people of Northants?
The government prefers a different split, just two authorities, one for the borough/district council areas of Northampton Town, Daventry and South Northamptonshire and one for the rest of the county.
Either way it will mean the end of the South Northamptonshire & Cherwell Districts’ cost-sharing arrangement – a divorce that is already in full progress.
Whether it is into two or three authorities the break up has to happen because of the County Council’s problems and the government is committed to take into account the views of the general public as well as the voluntary sector, current councils, the health, police, fire and ambulance services and local businesses.
Whatever happens, Council Taxes will rise if only because, as one of the country’s lowest council tax counties, for years we have quite simply not been paying our way.
It’s your voice that needs to be heard
So do we accept the government decision to split the county into two or should we demand that South Northamptonshire’s mostly rural communities have different needs than Northampton Town, so a three way split or other solution is required. Have your say in Towcester on Monday 16th July and fill in the consultation on local government online at www.futurenorthants.co.uk or in your local library before the 22nd July.