Kettering Council boss warns all 2019 elections could be postponed

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Elections to all borough, town and parish councils in Northamptonshire may not go ahead next year due to the possible restructure of local government.

Residents should be heading to the polling stations next May to vote in councillors to represent them on the various borough, town and parish authorities, but this could now be put back to 2020.

Following the financial failings of Northamptonshire County Council, the Government has said the current two-tier government system in the county must be scrapped and replaced with unitary councils.

A proposal being put together by all eight councils for a north unitary and a west unitary will be decided on in the autumn and then moves could be made to set back election dates.

It had been made public that the borough council elections could be postponed but the possible delay of parish and town council elections as well was confirmed by Kettering Council’s head of customer services Julie Trahern at the A6 Towns Forum yesterday (June 27).

The officer read out an email circulated by Kettering council’s chief executive Graham Soulsby which said that a legislative order could be made by the secretary of state in the autumn to postpone the 2019 election and the ‘town and parish elections can be postponed using the same order.’

Conservative Cllr Jim Hakewill who represents Kettering’s Slade ward said at the meeting that the unitary consultation was ‘not a consultation in any shape or form because the outcome has been pre-determined by government’.

He said: “The creation of two unitaries could enhance the role of the parish councils.

“We need to think about taking on extra powers.

“We need a proper debate.

“We all know that this will happen in 2020.”

A motion put forward by Cllr Hakewill to support the delay of parish and town council elections was approved.

A public consultation is currently taking place about the unitary proposals.

Residents have until July 22 to have their say on whether they are in favour or against.

Opinions can be made known by visiting www.futurenorthants.co.uk or by filling in a form available from libraries or council offices.