Focus on Kettering

VOTE could hinge on bins and shops.

THE development of Kettering town centre, the location of the council's offices and waste collection and recycling could all play a major role in the fight for control of the borough council in next month's local election.

All three are likely to be key issues and talking points for party candidates in their race to win votes on May 3.

Deputy leader of the Kettering Labour party, and group spokesman, Eileen Hales, said: "One of the key issues for the Labour party is going to be the location of the town hall.

"We have spoken to 10,000 residents and 98 per cent of them do not want the council offices moving out of the town.

"We are opposed to this unnecessary move and we will look at ways of keeping the offices in the heart of the town."

Last summer dozens of residents reported the problems of maggots in bins – caused, they said, by the introduction of fortnightly rubbish collections.

Mrs Hales also suggested the party would investigate the alternative options to this issue.

She said: "It's a major problem and it's not because people are not following the guidelines."

Alongside the Conservative and Labour candidates there will be five Liberal Democrat candidates, four Independent candidates and one Green party candidate.

The leader of Kettering Council and leader of the Conservative group, Terry Freer, said his party wanted to build on the successes of the past four years.

He said: "We have purchased property across Kettering with the intention of working to develop the town centre.

"It will enable us to bring 100m of investment and allow us to redevelop the Horsemarket and the top of Station Road.

"By addressing the weaknesses of the current town centre we can hopefully then attract more major high street stores."

Mr Freer said Kettering residents could look forward to a greener future with the production of a Kettering design and eco standard – which would ensure new homes are built for 21st century living – and with plans to increase the amount of waste which is recycled.

A major re-organising of the wards within the borough means there will be several key battles on May 3.

In 2003 there were 45 seats for candidates but this has been reduced to 36.

Burton Latimer, which had four candidates, has been reduced to three, with Rothwell and the newly-merged St Michaels and Wicksteed Ward seeing the same reduction.

Candidates will also be looking to win election to the newly-formed Ise Lodge, Northfield and William Knibb wards.