Mark Conrad 15 May 2018

Northampton unitary plan falls

Northampton unitary plan falls image

The tight timeframe for reorganising local government across Northamptonshire claimed its first victim this week despite ministers’ decision to extend the consultation period.

Senior figures at Northampton BC abandoned hopes for a unitary authority covering the town.

Northampton’s ruling Tory group withdrew its plans after leader, Cllr Jon Nunn, met with senior Conservatives across Northamptonshire and failed to get their backing.

Cllr Danielle Stone, Labour group leader who supported Northampton BC’s unitary bid, warned that the town and its neighbouring, largely rural, councils made ‘uneasy bedfellows’.

Local government secretary James Brokenshire invited reorganisation proposals after a damning independent report into the finances and governance of Northamptonshire CC.

Last week Mr Brokenshire announced the two commissioners he had appointed to turn around the county council.

Former Lincolnshire CC chief executive Tony McArdle is the lead commissioner.

Brian Roberts, former deputy chief executive at Leicestershire CC, is the finance commissioner.

Both men will work alongside an internal improvement board.

Mr Brokenshire also extended the timetable for local unitary submissions, from July to August.

He said: ‘I am happy to do this, to enable further opportunity for local community engagement and consultation.’

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