Call out to Wellingborough folk who want to ditch party politics and stand as independents in unitary elections

Elections for the new unitary take place on May 7th with 78 councillors to be elected in North Northamptonshire.

By Sarah Ward
Monday, 17th February 2020, 2:44 pm
Updated Monday, 17th February 2020, 2:46 pm

A call has gone out to folk in Wellingborough who want to ditch party politics and stand as independent candidates in the upcoming unitary elections.

There’s just three months until the polls open to elect the councillors who will form the new North Northamptonshire unitary council.

A group in Wellingborough is holding an event at Glamis Hall this Wednesday (Feb 19) so that people can find out more about how to get themselves on the ballot paper for the May 7 elections and also explore the idea of setting up an independent network.

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As well as the unitary elections there will also be elections to the parish councils and to the new Wellingborough town council which will form in May this year.

Marion Turner-Hawes, who stood as a Parliamentary candidate in the December general election, is involved in the event and said it is a chance for people to get elected instead of the current crop of councillors, many of whom were involved when the Conservative-run Northamptonshire County Council collapsed financially in 2018.

She said: “Nationally, independent councillors have the third highest number of councillors, and many have formed themselves into local groups to take over councils and work in a much more community-led way. Locally, we saw where residents took over Desborough Town Council, and elsewhere in Frome in Somerset, good hearted local folk formed an independent group “IF’, Independents for Frome.

“They agreed a common set of aims and values and then set to changing their communities for the better from the grass roots up.

“We have the same opportunity in Wellingborough with the arrival of the new town council and the unitary council.

“Many of us have been dismayed that many of the councillors that caused the problems at Northamptonshire County Council could well also put themselves forward for one of the new councils. This is incredibly disheartening.

“In Wellingborough (and Northamptonshire) all councils are heavily dominated by one main party, who often work to follow a party line. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if many of the good people of our community that actually do things to help (party linked or otherwise), stood up to be councillors, and worked together, collaboratively to make our town a great place to live.

“The other thing, in respect of the town council, is that this will be much more practical, and people standing need to be real doers, as it may only have one staff member to guide and support councillors, unlike the many staff enacting the directions of borough councillors at present.

“So we need people who are up for a challenge, people that love our community and are probably already working hard to help make our town a better place. People that will bring fresh ideas and great enthusiasm.”

They have called in Marianne Overton, from the Local Government Association Independent Group, to talk about the local government changes in Northamptonshire.

The event takes place at 7pm on Wednesday, February 19.