New unitary legislation for Northamptonshire could be debated in House of Lords next week

The legislation that will help form two new unitary councils in Northamptonshire could be debated in the House of Lords next week.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 2:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 2:56 pm
The structural change order for the new unitary authorities is set to be debated in the House of Lords. Picture by Dan Kitwood/AFP via Getty Images

The government agreed to the piece of legislation – known as a structural change order – before Christmas but it has yet to be confirmed by parliament. Once agreed, it will help set up the shadow unitary that residents will elect councillors to in May this year before officially launching in May 2021.

It will see the district and borough councils in Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire, and the county council, abolished to make way for the new West Northamptonshire Council with services merged under one roof. A similar council called North Northamptonshire will replace the current councils in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire.

But with national issues such as Brexit hogging most of the time in the Commons in recent weeks, the structural change order has still yet to be debated, but Theresa Grant, the chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council has been told by a ‘reliable source’ that it could be debated in the House of Lords as early as next week.

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Speaking at a meeting of the West Northamptonshire Joint Committee on Monday evening (February 3), Mrs Grant said: “A reliable source has told me that this is set to be debated in the House of Lords next Tuesday [February 11]. That didn’t come from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government though, so if it isn’t discussed then it’s not my fault!

“In any case there was a clear ambition from the government to get this through before the end of February. The cut off point for getting this done so we can have elections is the end of March, and they were particularly clear that it would happen before then.”