Labour’s Tom Beattie has been re-elected as leader of Corby council and says he is looking forward to working with those across political and geographical divides to set up the new unitary council.
Cllr Beattie, who represents the Lodge Park ward, is continuing in his eighth year as leader after first being elected in December 2011.
The councillors are all staying on for a fifth year after the government cancelled this year’s elections in-line with plans to abolish the eight councils in Northamptonshire and replace them with two new unitary councils. Corby will join together with the council’s of East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough to form the North Northamptonshire unitary.
On being elected at Corby Cube last night Cllr Beattie said: “This is not a situation that we in Corby either sought or supported and I am proud that as a council we voted against the unitary proposal, on a cross-party basis, having listened as promised to the voice of the people of Corby. However, be that as it may, we now have a responsibility to ensure that the new emerging structures of local government effectively serve the residents of Corby and the wider county of Northamptonshire.
“We have a lot to be proud of here in Corby. We are a rapidly improving and growing borough. We have been successfully regenerating through growth since the turn of the century with hundreds of millions of pounds of public and private investment. We are the fastest growing borough in the country outside of London and are well set to fulfil our long-held ambition of doubling our population by the year 2030.
“We continue to build council houses and with the additional freedoms given to us by central government it is our intention to build more in order to help address the chronic housing shortage currently afflicting every area of the UK.”
He added: “The next 12 months and beyond will be particularly challenging for the reasons I have outlined but I look forward to working with all my colleagues, across political and geographical divides, as we rise to those challenges. As I am confident we will.”
Cllr Jean Addison was elected as deputy leader and conservative Cllr Kevin Watt was appointed as leader of the opposition. In his speech Cllr Watt echoed Cllr Beattie’s backing for new housing but said it must not be low cost as the authority had in the past had to pull down substandard homes.
Cllr Elise Elliston will be lead member for finance, Cllr Bob Eyles is lead member for housing, Cllr Mark Pengelly is lead member for environment and Cllr John McGhee is lead member for community.
Elections will be held next April to the shadow authority and the new authorities will be created in April 2021.
Corby was the only council to vote against the government’s suggestion to scrap the councils in the wake of the county council’s financial implosion.