Northamptonshire voters will stay at home tomorrow as the rest of the country goes to the polls.
Village halls and school halls across Northants usually transformed into polling stations will remain quiet as a result of the secretary of James Brokenshire making the decision last November to cancel the borough and parish elections.
In the wake of the financial crisis of Northamptonshire County Council and the suggested unitary reorganisation the minister decided the elections would not take place, saying that ‘elections in such circumstances risk confusing voters and would involve significant costs that would be hard to justify.’ County council elections were not due this year as they took place two years ago.
But no decision has yet been made on whether two new unitaries will replace the existing eight councils in Northants. Councillors have mixed feelings on the cancelled elections.
Wellingborough opposition councillor Tim Maguire said he could understand the reasoning for the minister’s decision.
He said: “I don’t think the elections should be going ahead as there is such uncertainty around what is happening with the unitary reorganisation.
“An election costs the parish council about £1,000 and that is money that could be better spent elsewhere.”
Corby councillor Julie Riley said she feels that Northamptonshire residents have not been consulted properly on the unitary consultation but she was glad to have another year to represent Corby residents.
She said: “At Corby Council we were the only council to ask all of our people their opinion and the resounding majority wanted to keep the council as it is. I don’t like the thought of a unitary swallowing up our council against our will and not in our timeframe.”
The proposal is to have a unitary council in the north – covering Corby, Kettering, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough – and another in the west – replacing the existing councils in Northampton, South Northants and Daventry.
The original proposed timescale was to have the new council up and running for April 2020, but that is now looking increasingly unlikely.