Newcomer set to lead North Northants council

Rob Bridge beat off hopefuls from existing Northants councils to become the preferred candidate

By Sarah Ward
Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 3:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 3:10 pm
Rob Bridge is current chief executive of a hertfordshire borough council.
Rob Bridge is current chief executive of a hertfordshire borough council.

The man set to become the top boss of the new North Northamptonshire council has been revealed.

Rob Bridge, who has been in charge of Welwyn Hatfield Council for the past three years, is the preferred candidate for chief executive of the new unitary which will come to life next April when the councils in Corby, Kettering, East Northants and Wellingborough shut down.

His appointment will be confirmed by the shadow executive at their meeting next Thursday (August 20).

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In a statement released today Mr Bridge said: “I am both honoured and delighted to have been offered this exciting opportunity to be the first chief executive of the new North Northamptonshire Council.

“While I leave behind a great team at Welwyn Hatfield, I am very much looking forward to my new role – preparing the council for April 2021, and working with the leader, members and partners to ensure staff, residents and businesses are as keen as I am to embrace the opportunities of North Northamptonshire’s exciting future.”

Russell Roberts, the government appointed leader of the North Northnats shadow executive council, who chaired the interview panel, said: “We are extremely pleased to be recommending the appointment of one of the leading chief executives in the country.

“We feel that if our recommendation is agreed, Rob will help us to positively shape our North Northamptonshire Council, making it a success for our residents, partners and employees.”

During his time at the Hertfordshire council he helped win a £10.6m investment from Homes England for residential-led regeneration. Before this he had senior corporate and finance roles at Fenland District council.

This will be his first senior appointment at such a large unitary council. He is set to leave the Herts council this Autumn.

It is not known whether the current chief executives of the four existing borough councils in North Northants went for the job. The future Northants programme – which is coordinating the set up of the new authority – says there was extensive interest from internal and external candidates. The current director of adult social services at Northamptonshire County Council Anna Earnshaw has been selected as the preferred candidate for the West Northants council.

Wellingborough Council’s managing director Liz Elliott is currently acting as interim chief executive for the shadow authority.

Unitary reorganisation is happening in Northants on Govenment orders following the financial mismanagement of Northamptonshire County Council. Under the leadership of the ruling Conservative group it ran out of cash after its next generation project failed.

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