New council leader wants to ‘get it right’ with development in Wellingborough

Cllr Martin Griffiths is the new leader of Wellingborough Council
Cllr Martin Griffiths is the new leader of Wellingborough Council

A new council leader has revealed his plans for the future include improving the town centre and getting it right with development.

Cllr Martin Griffiths has only just taken over as leader of Wellingborough Council, but he already knows how he wants the authority to be run.

As the keys for the new crematorium were handed over to the council this week, Cllr Griffiths said: “The crematorium shows what we can do as a council, and that’s the way I want things to be from now on.

“I want all our existing properties and projects to be run in the same way that we have run this.

“It’s all about providing service to the people of Wellingborough, but also about generating revenue.”

Cllr Griffiths said the crematorium is a good example of all council departments working together throughout the process as well as working with Wates who have built it and those who will use it.

While admitting they can’t build projects like the crematorium every week, the aim is to find a way to turn capital into revenue for the benefit of the people of Wellingborough as it is their money.

And with major housing developments on the way, Cllr Griffiths is keen to get it right.

He said: “One of the things I see with regards to Stanton Cross and Glenvale Park is we are not building estates, we are building communities.

“We know the mistakes of the past, we made mistakes by building insular estates like the Wilby Way estate.”

As well as ensuring new developments have the right facilities and amenities, he also wants to protect green spaces and look after the villages in and around Wellingborough.

The Conservative councillor said: “I want to protect our villages, we are so fortunate with having some of the most beautiful villages in Northamptonshire within five minutes’ drive out of town.

“But we need to protect them from aggressive development.”

He is keen for villages to work on their neighbourhood plans to ensure development takes place where they want it.

And one of his personal aims is to tidy up the town centre.

Cllr Griffiths said: “The town centre is important to people and with the growth it will be even more important to people.

“What we want to do is have a vibrant, busy town centre with a good range of shops.

“These are not going to be high street chains, these are going to be the type of shops that you get in somewhere like Market Harborough.

“We need the right type of mix, like niche shops that are different to those going to Rushden Lakes.”

Cllr Griffiths said town centre improvements could see the demolition of ‘ugly’ buildings to make areas more attractive to potential developers.

The High Street is one area where he hopes re-development will take place with housing as well as retail.

And Cllr Griffiths is positive about the town centre’s future.

He said: “The potential is there.

“Free car parking is essential to our town centre and it is here to stay, it is integral to keeping Wellingborough vibrant.”

Cllr Griffiths believes a lot of businesses are having a ‘very close look at Wellingborough’ and added: “The other thing about Wellingborough at the moment is you can’t buy a house in Wellingborough and you struggle to rent a house because of supply and demand.

“There’s an appetite and demand for housing in the right areas and it is all to do with our links to London.

“Wellingborough is a great place to live.

“We don’t get everything right, but we try damn hard.

“I know that this is a great place, we have got a really good mix of people.”