Councillors yet to spend more than £60,000 on Kettering causes

Barton Seagrave Cricket Club, KettFest and Marlow House in Desborough are some of the groups and events which have, or could, benefit from the ward funds initiative
Barton Seagrave Cricket Club, KettFest and Marlow House in Desborough are some of the groups and events which have, or could, benefit from the ward funds initiative

Kettering councillors have a year to spend more than £60,000 allocated to them to support issues in the borough.

The council’s Ward Initiative Fund currently sees each elected member given £625 per year to give out, which can be rolled over each year to form £2,500 per four-year term.

With 2019 being election year any money unspent by the end of March will go back into the council’s coffers - and a Freedom of Information request by the Northants Telegraph has revealed £62,471.76 is yet to be spent.

A Kettering Council spokesman said: “The fund exists to enable councillors to help address local issues which would not otherwise be a priority for a statutory body, whether that is improving a right of way or footpath lighting, helping a local community group put on an event or develop a service, do a local tidy up, or advertise their work or attract volunteers.

“In a number of small ways, therefore, the fund helps improve the quality of life in each ward.

“Councillors can pool their money to do more ambitious things if they wish, and can save up their money over a year or two to achieve a bigger objective.”

Three councillors - Cllr Mark Dearing (Con, Desborough Loatland), Cllr Mike Tebbutt (Con, Desborough St Giles) and Cllr Linda Adams (Lab, Avondale Grange) - have not spent any of the money given to them since they were elected in 2015.

Cllr Dearing said: “Given the increase in traffic and further developments planned in Desborough, I am looking at what is available to help with the safety of pedestrians and school children when crossing our roads.

“I also talk to Marlow House to see what support I can give the elderly in town.

“As you will know there are many schemes available for road safety so consultation with the public is always welcome.”

Cllr Tebbutt said: “My remaining ward initiative fund is earmarked to provide picnic benches (stainless steel and vandal-resistant) to be securely fixed in the ‘Desborough Green Space’ to enhance the excellent healthy recreational enjoyment provided by this area.

Cllr Adams did not respond when asked how she intended to spend her money.

Other councillors with more than £2,000 still to be spent include: Cllr James Burton, Cllr Ruth Groome and Cllr Jenny Henson.

Cllrs Burton and Henson said they ‘had ideas in mind’ but that they were open to suggestions from the public.

Cllr Groome said she will buy equipment for Burton Latimer’s library and boxing club, will offer money to the town’s bowls club and is going to buy a seat for Finedon Road - for a spot popular with walkers and dog walkers with a good view over the Ise Valley.

Since 2015 several clubs, organisations and causes have benefited from the donations from councillors.

KettFest has been the biggest beneficiary, receiving a cash boost worth almost £4,500 from 13 different councillors.

Others to receive money include Scouts, Sea Cadets, parks, football clubs, schools and cricket clubs - including Barton Seagrave Cricket Club which was given a £240 pack of cricket balls by council leader Cllr Russell Roberts.

In future years local groups could receive 50 per cent more money after an independent panel recommended increasing the spend from £625 a year to £1,000.

The move was called for by opposition leader Cllr Mick Scrimshaw earlier this year.

He said: “I think it’s a good idea and it’s a really useful form of money.

“I’ve used mine in the past for some really good things that the council wouldn’t ordinarily fund.”

If you have an idea for your councillor to spend their money on, find their contact details here.

MONEY TO BE SPENT BY MARCH 2019, BY COUNCILLOR (as of March 21):

Cllr Linda Adams (Lab, Avondale Grange): £2,500

Cllr Duncan Bain (Con, Pipers Hill): £1,497.28

Cllr Cedwien Brown (Con, Rothwell): £1,918.51

Cllr Michael Brown (Ind, Brambleside): £625

Cllr Lloyd Bunday (Con, Ise Lodge): £1,957.34

Cllr James Burton (Con, All Saints): £2,255

Cllr John Currall (Con, Burton Latimer): £2,275

Cllr Ash Davies (Con, Brambleside): £1,495.74

Cllr Mark Dearing (Con, Desborough Loatland): £2,500

Cllr June Derbyshire (Con, Desborough Loatland): £1,940

Cllr Maggie Don (Lab, St Michaels and Wicksteed): £1,215.75

Cllr Andrew Dutton (Lib, Barton): £1,632.82

Cllr Scott Edwards (Con, St Michaels and Wicksteed): £1,340

Cllr Ruth Groome (Ind, Burton Latimer): £2,105

Cllr Jim Hakewill (Con, Slade): £1,216.25

Cllr Jenny Henson (Con, St Michaels and Wicksteed): £2,450

Cllr Philip Hollobone (Con, Ise Lodge): £1,958.34

Cllr David Howes (Con, Welland): £1,986.42

Cllr Ian Jelley (Con, St Peters): £1,528

Cllr Anne Lee (Lab, Pipers Hill): £1,027.27

Cllr Shirley Lynch (Con, Ise Lodge): £1,958.34

Cllr Paul Marks (Con, St Peters): £1,377.69

Cllr Clark Mitchell (Lab, Avondale Grange): £1,590.75

Cllr Cliff Moreton (Con, Slade): £644.50

Cllr Russell Roberts (Con, Barton): £1,014.49

Cllr Mark Rowley (Con, Queen Eleanor and Buccleuch): £2,162

Cllr Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, William Knibb): £2,030

Cllr Jan Smith (Con, Burton Latimer): £1,632.13

Cllr David Soans (Con, Desborough St Giles): £1,663.64

Cllr Karl Sumpter (Con, Rothwell): £1,413

Cllr Margaret Talbot (Con, Rothwell): £1,598.80

Cllr Mike Tebbutt (Con, Desborough St Giles): £2,500

Cllr Lesley Thurland (Con, All Saints): £2,284

Cllr Greg Titcombe (Con, All Saints): £2,285

Cllr Keli Watts (Lab, William Knibb): £1,618.70

Cllr Jonathan West (Lab, Northfield): £1,275