Northants unitary decision: Leaders say residents’ interests will be priority

Proposed unitary authority boundaries for Northamptonshire
Proposed unitary authority boundaries for Northamptonshire

The leaders of the eight councils being scrapped to make way for two new unitary councils say they will focus their efforts on creating new authorities that will put the interests of residents at the heart of all decision-making.

In a joint comment released this afternoon (March 14) after Secretary of State James Brokenshire made his long-awaited announcement , the leaders of Corby Council, Daventry District Council,  East Northamptonshire Council, Kettering Borough Council, Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council, South Northamptonshire Council and Wellingborough Council, said: “Now we’ve received the decision to progress with unitary, we will focus our efforts on creating two brand new councils that put the interests of residents at the heart of all decision making. This re-organisation needs to be about transforming how we deliver services so that they are more joined-up and make sense for residents across the county. We have a strong track record of collaborative working with each other and with partners and we will build on this to deliver services that make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“These new councils will also be major players in delivering the housing and jobs growth that Northamptonshire and the Cambridge to Oxford arc so badly need.

“We have been working hard towards an anticipated 2020 Vesting Day but that was always going to be a tight timetable to meet if we were going to transform services as well as ensuring that they were safe and legal on that date.

“We therefore welcome the announcement that Vesting Day will be April 1, 2021.  That gives us more time to plan carefully and confidently for the future to ensure that we create two sustainable unitary councils that, while being very different in nature, will be exemplars of how to provide excellent services for our residents.”

Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, added: ‘Although this decision has been widely anticipated we are pleased that it has now been confirmed and we have clarity in what the future holds for Northamptonshire. We are also pleased that the vesting day has been moved to 2021, something that elected members in Corby made clear was needed through our response to the Secretary of State’s consultation.

‘We will now continue the work that has already been started with our partners around the county to ensure that the people of Corby are represented throughout the process.’

Sarah Ward, Local Democracy Reporter