First historic meeting of new North Northamptonshire unitary council wont be broadcast

The first meeting will take place on Thursday, May 21st but it wont be webcast.

Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 10:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 10:38 am
Unlike many meetings held at Northamptonshire County Council, the first gathering of the new North Northamptonshire shadow unitary authority will not be webcast.

The first historic meeting of the newly-elected North Northamptonshire unitary authority will not be broadcast.

When the 78 newly-elected councillors get together on Thursday May 21 at the Kettering Conference Centre for the first ever meeting of the North Northamptonshire Shadow Unitary Council the cameras will not be present.

At last night’s (March 5) North Northants joint committee meeting chief executive of Northampton Borough Council, George Candler, told the committee the eight leaders of the existing Northants councils had decided that a decision on webcasting was one to be made when the new shadow council is up and running.

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The news was met with some concern by joint committee members who felt the meeting should be broadcast so that residents could watch to see what decisions were being taken.

Cllr Victoria Perry said there would likely be a high level of interest in the new council and questioned why it could not be webcast live like some meetings of Northamptonshire County Council.

And Cllr Mick Scrimshaw said: “We have got a clean sheet to start again. Clearly webcasting is essential. If we are serious about public engagement this needs to be done.”

The meeting also voted to hold the first few shadow council meetings at the Kettering venue rather than spend money adapting an existing council chamber. Currently all of the four council chambers across North Northamptonshire do not have the capacity to accommodate the 78 councillors who will be elected at the polls on Thursday, May 7. The councillors will serve for one year on the shadow authority before becoming fully fledged unitary councillors in April 2021.

After a vote ten councillors voted in favour of hiring the Kettering venue and five voted against with a number of councillors expressing concern that the full figures and analysis of costs had not been presented to them before the meeting. Leader of Corby Council Cllr Tom Beattie said he did not think spending public money hiring a venue would look good to voters.

The committee also approved plans to rotate the meetings of the shadow council’s executive and other committee meetings between the four existing council buildings in Kettering, Corby, Welligborough and Thrapston.

At the meeting Cllr Scrimshaw voiced concerns that with all of the unitary preparations the county was taking its eye off the ball when it came to future planning to secure investment in the county.

Theresa Grant, the chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council who is also leading other unitary reorganisation, reassured Cllr Scrimshaw that leaders and chief executives had future investment as a high priority and were building up plans to make sure they were ‘oven ready’ when funding pots became available.