Corby Cube set to become North Northamptonshire Council headquarters
The iconic £40m cube in George Street looks set host the council's major meetings
The Corby Cube looks set to become the main site for North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) meetings after months of holding meetings in different buildings around the north of the county.
The modern building in George Street, originally built by Corby Council using receipts from land sales, is being proposed as the most suitable place to host meetings of the NNC executive and full council.
NNC unitary authority was formed after the demise of Northamptonshire County Council. It replaces replace the county authority as well as the four districts and boroughs in the north of the county.
Elections in May returned a majority of Conservative councilllors, with an all-Tory exec heavily weighted toward membership from East Northamptonshire.
The Northants Telegraph understands there was significant internal wrangling over where the headquarters should be during the run up to the election, with some Tories thought to be unhappy that the Cube - built by a Labour council in an area that returned a majority of Labour councillors - would host the authority's most important meetings.
The first full council meetings were held at the privately-owned Kettering Conference Centre, at some significant cost to the authority. But it is believed leading Conservatives have now softened toward the Cube after seeing the modern facilities on offer and seeing the cost implications of the other options.
At next week's executive meeting, members will be asked to approve costs of £163,000 to upgrade the council chamber to provide furniture for the 78 members and improved audio-visual equipment to ensure that the public can access meetings remotely.
Area planning meetings will still be held in the four former boroughs and districts.
A report to councillors states: "Following the establishment of the North Northamptonshire Council, a venue is required to accommodate full council meetings (held circa 7/8 times per annum) with a maximum number of 78 councillors in attendance plus officers, press and public.
"The Cube council chamber has been identified as the main chamber venue of the new unitary authority.
"An investment is required to upgrade the audio-visual equipment to enable meetings to be recorded and live streamed along with the purchase of furniture to accommodate the numbers which may attend as noted above.
"Completion of the project is anticipated by February 2022.
"A further phase to the project will consider the feasibility of upgrading existing equipment to enable live streaming to be offered at other council locations, however, as these systems are generally older systems, they will also likely require significant investment to enable this."
Council leader Jason Smithers said: "It’s important that everyone who wants to, can attend council meetings easily, either in person or online. The investment we will be considering is about ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place to manage meetings face-to-face and to broadcast to those who prefer to attend remotely.
“As our draft corporate plan currently out for consultation says, we want to provide modern public services that embrace technology and improve accessibility for all.”
The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 30 at 2pm at the Corby Cube and is open to members of the public.