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Northamptonshire councils given extra year to perfect new structure

Author: Gavin Moore Published: 14th May 2019 15:19
Cllr Ian McCord welcomes today's announcement over the restructure of local government in NorthamptonshCllr Ian McCord welcomes today's announcement over the restructure of local government in Northamptonshire

Councils in Northamptonshire have been given an extra year to prepare for the biggest shake-up of local government since the 1970s.
 
Today, James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) gave his thumbs up to proposals which will see the number of councils providing services to the district reduced from eight to two.
 
South Northamptonshire Council (SNC), Daventry District Council, Northampton Borough Council and (half of) Northants County Council will form a new authority serving the west of the county. It will now take charge in April 2021 rather than 2020 as originally proposed.
 
Cllr Ian McCord, Leader of SNC said: “I welcome the decision from Government at long last.
 
“Ministers have taken twice as long to read and decide on the proposal as they gave us to put the bid together.
 
“The election of the shadow council and a 2021 start date was something I asked MHCLG to consider a year ago, so I cannot now claim disappointment.
 
“We will now use the time wisely to prepare the four councils for the new unitary structure in the West.
 
“Our experience with Cherwell and South Northants integration tells us that the best way to do this is by bringing everyone with you.
 
“We have been developing a plan for this scenario over the past few weeks and we will be ready.
 
“We now must seize the opportunities that a new council will present to us.
 
“The reasons for this decision are well known and today is about looking forward and ensuring that our residents get the best possible local government available."
 
The announcement includes confirmation that the elections to run the new bodies will take place in May 2020, alongside the delayed Parish and Town Council elections.  Those elected in 2020 will form the Shadow Authority for its final year of planning, and then move over to run the new council proper.
 
The announcement also paves the way for Kettering Borough Council, The Borough Council of Wellingborough, East Northants Council, Corby Borough Council and (the other half of) Northants County Council to form a new local authority serving the north of the county.
 
The formation of the authorities is still subject to Parliamentary approval.  The Government will also be establishing a Children’s Trust to take over responsibility for children’s social care across the authority.
 
Today’s announcement also confirmed that elections for the new West Northants council (and its shadow council) will be on the basis of three members per existing County Council ward, totalling 93 across the 31 Wards in the West Northants area.
 
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Comments

peter k
At 15:34 on 17th May 2019, peter k commented:
All very well and much detail (at last). However, I, for one, would like clarification on how many representative the likes of Towcester (my bailiwick) will have looking out for the town? Who will oversee Schools, police, health under this reduced regime? How will responsibility be spread over fewer councilors in order to fully pursue control of services? Much more needs to be clarified.

My worry is that the powers to be have little idea of the work required running an area the size of Northamptonshire. This reorganisation does nothing to dispel this concern. I
Ian McCord
At 14:25 on 20th May 2019, Ian McCord commented:
All of what I will say is subject to what is in the order that is put through the two houses of parliament. That is called the Structural Change Order (SCO).

In the announcement last week the Sec of State said that he was minded to:-
• Proceed with the two unitary councils – West and North Northants
• Each of these would have 3 member wards based on the footprint of the NCC Divisions
• West to have 93 members
• North to have 78 members
• The Children’s Services to be placed in a trust and taken away from the control of NCC or the unitary
• Elections to a shadow authority in 2020
• Parish and Town Council elections in 2020
• No district elections in 2020
• The unitary council would begin in 2021 and have its first year in shadow then 4 years as a council without the need for additional elections.

So to answer your specific question on Towcester representation there would be 3 councillors representing Towcester and Roade. This is the same geography that Chris Lofts / Adil Sadyov have represented at NCC, but they would have 3 members. The SNC area would have 21 councillors where at present there are 42 on SNC and 7 at NCC.

Ian McCord - Leader SNC
peter k
At 18:00 on 20th May 2019, peter k commented:
Slightly clearer and many thanks. However, to fully clarify, from your response, Towcester will have three councillors rather that the six we currently have (1 NCC, 5 SNC)

Basically a downgrading of representation for Towcester with the new threesome picking up the supervisory tasks that were covered by the current sixsome.

Difficult to understand the improvements expected from this reorganisation? Apart from cutting costs!!!


Peter Kelly
Towcester
.

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