Lack of parish support for two-council model for Northants

The new offices of Northants County Council
The new offices of Northants County Council

Plans to replace eight councils in Northants with two unitary authorities has met with opposition from some parish councils.

An inspector’s report into the financial woes at Northants County Council found the problems faced by the authority were ‘so deep and ingrained’ that it was not possible to make the council stable again in time.

The report advocated creating two unitary authorities: West Northants, which would cover the Daventry District Council, Northampton Borough Council and South Northants Council areas; and a North Northants Unitary Council, comprising the councils currently serving East Northamptonshire, Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough.

Public consultation into the proposals is due to close this Sunday, July 22.

King’s Sutton Parish Council disagrees with the proposals, claiming the model put forward would fail to achieve the objectives set for it, reduce democratic control, distance the village further from those making decisions, and would cost £22million to implement, but only save £12million.

Instead the parish council favours a three-unitary model, which is also the preferred option of an independent enquiry carried out by Deloitte.

Parish council chairman, Bob Burrell, said: “The way King’s Sutton would be included in the two unitary authority model we felt we would actually be less well represented than we are currently.”

He added other parish councils in the county had similar concerns.

On Monday, Brackley Town Council agreed its position in line with other parishes in the area, calling for the three-unitary option instead, with the existing Northampton Borough forming one of them.

The council has also criticised government criteria that a unitary authority must have a population size of at least 300,000 as ‘spurious’ as only 11 of the currently existing 55 unitary authorities have populations in excess of that number with the remaining 44 being successful.

Brackley mayor, Mark Morrell, said he personally favoured the three-authority model, but was concerned about the amount of debt financially stable councils could be saddled with if they had to join forces with local authorities that were less solvent.

To have your say on the proposals, visit https://www.futurenorthants.co.uk/