OUR COUNTY, OUR VOICE: Corby to consult on scrapping our councils

Corby Cube: Corby: at night George St'Thursday November 23, 2017 NNL-171123-212050009
Corby Cube: Corby: at night George St'Thursday November 23, 2017 NNL-171123-212050009

Corby will become the first borough in the county to ask its residents whether they want to merge with other councils in the area to form one authority.

The council will soon launch its consultation into whether it should join with other Northamptonshire councils - as ordered by the Government after financial collapse at county hall - to form a unitary authoity.

That option would mean Corby Council was scrapped along with Northamptonshire County Council, which is now being headed-up by commissioners following its mismanagement.

But before the council undertakes its own consultation it will hold two public meetings for residents to learn more about the current situation.

Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: “We don’t want to put out a consultation document asking people to give their opinion on such a significant proposal, without giving residents the opportunity to ask questions about what a single tier authority means and how it affects them.

“We hope that we see many come along to the public meetings and we encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation that will follow – this is the future of their local services that we are all talking about so they need to have their say.”

The meetings will take place on Monday, June 11 at 6pm in the Matt Busby Lounge, Lodge Park Sports Centre, and Tuesday, June 12 at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Corby Cube.

They will be chaired by Cllr Beattie, assisted by the chief executive of Corby Council Norman Stronach.

Questions will be taken on both evenings but can also be sent in prior to the meetings.

The answers to these questions will then be responded to at the meetings and will be put on Corby Council’s website so those that can’t attend can still get involved.

Questions should be sent to kim.buzzard@corby.gov.uk.

Residents can also get further background information at www.corby.gov.uk/singletier.

Following the public meetings, Corby Council will be delivering consultation documents from June 18 to every household in Corby to get their opinion on single tier authorities for Northamptonshire.

There will also be the opportunity for individuals to have their say on a petition that will be available to sign and leave comment at the Corby Cube front desk.

Both Corby’s consultation and petition will be open for responses between June 18 and July 13.

Responses will be collated and will be used to inform Corby Council’s final response to the Secretary of State.

Corby Council has pledged to ask whether people want to stay as they are or whether they want to change the model for local government.

The authority has always been clear that its consultation will not just offer a Hobson’s Choice scenario of which type of unitary people want, but will give them the option of not adopting the unitary model at all.

Although this is likely to be controversial, it gives the people of Corby a chance to have a real voice on the issue that will have a huge effect the future of the borough.

Other areas are yet to start their consultations - but submissions have to be made Secretary of State for local government James Brokenshire before the end of August.

Corby is the only Labour-run council in the county and could face losing many of its councillors should a unitary authority be formed.

Leader Tom Beattie has been the most vocal council leader in the county on the issue, and has said that he wants the people to decide.

It is not yet known how much weight the government will place on the outcome of any consultation.