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

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.

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.

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)