Could new Wellingborough town council take over running of market?

The new Wellingborough town council could take over a number of services from the borough council including the town's popular market.

By Sarah Ward
Friday, 24th January 2020, 10:16 am
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 10:19 am
The market could come under the remit of the new town council.
The market could come under the remit of the new town council.

Wellingborough’s new town council will be elected in May and next week borough councillors will start to decide what sorts of services it will deliver.

The suggestion is the authority, which will have the powers of a parish council, will set up its new base at the Swanspool Pavilion close to the current borough headquarters and have a new magenta and black swan logo to brand the new council.

One option being put forward to councillors is that the town’s market comes under the remit of the new council.

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Councillors voted in November to set up the new parish authority, spurred on by the new unitary government system coming into Northamptonshire in April 2021.

All the existing eight local authorities in the county will be closed down and replaced with two new super councils.

Wellingborough Council has put a survey out to residents to rank the possible services the new town council could deliver in order of priority.

A report to be considered by the borough council’s full council meeting next Tuesday (January 28) says: “The result of the ranking exercise indicate the services residents’ feel to be of most importance with car parks, parks and open space, community centres, CCTV, cemeteries, the market, play areas, public toilets, town centre management and sports facilities rating the highest and town centre events and civic and mayoral rating much lower down the list.

“It should also be noted that whilst the results of the survey indicate that car parking was of most importance to residents, this may fall within the remit of the unitary council rather than the town council due to the significant burden this would place on a town council precept. “

The more services the town council delivers the higher the precept for Wellingborough will most likely be.

The town council could also receive funds handed down from the new unitary authority.

Officers have put together three options for service packages the town council could offer. The cheapest package, which would cost £64,500 per year, would offer no practical services. Instead the town council when it was created would decide which services to take on from April 2021 when the unitary comes into place.

The most expensive option at £155,000 would include running the market, town centre events and memorial and the second most expensive would cost £92,500 and not include the market option. The most expensive option would cost the Band D taxpayer £10 a year in a precept charge.

All three options involve paying £37,000 for the position of town clerk.

Residents who want to sit on the town council will have until April 8 to get their nominations in, with the notice of election no later than April 1.

Altogether 23 town councillors will be elected to represent nine wards.