UNITARY COUNCIL UPDATE

The Federation of Small Businesses hosted a meeting today at Kettering Park Hotel with 30 local businesses and representatives from the FSB in attendance to discuss the proposed changes with the Unitary councils of North and West Northants councils and included a lengthy presentation by the ORS (Opinion Research Services).

There are currently eight local authorities across Northamptonshire providing council services including housing, planning, social care and protecting the vulnerable; and they also collect rubbish, maintain roads and run libraries. Councils are currently organised in a two-tier structure, with some services provided by the County Council and some provided by seven borough or district councils. The councils have been invited by the Government to submit proposals to restructure local government in Northamptonshire. It is proposed that local government in Northamptonshire should change.

The proposed changes, planned for introduction in 2020, would see two authorities introduced in Northamptonshire with Kettering combined with Corby, Wellingborough and East Northants forming North Northants and Northampton, Daventry and South Northants forming West Northants. 

KBN leader Simon Cox was present at the meeting and said “We should thank the Federation of Small Businesses for bringing local businesses together to discuss the proposed changes with the ORS however I’m surprised that the level of consultation with local businesses and the public has been very low especially with just under one week to go before the consultation period ends.

Only 14 members of the public have been consulted and with 30 people in attendance today, I personally feel there hasn’t been enough consultation regarding the proposed changes especially when reported debt of over 1 billion has been accrued by Northants County Council and this is likely to be inherited by the two unitary authorities.

Although the main outcome of the introduction of the two unitary authorities can be read on the Future Northants website, I feel there are many people, especially the public, who will be unaware of the consultation and whether there is enough information available to make a decision as to whether the proposed changes would be a success or cause further complications with regards to how the local authorities are run.

Unfortunately with time running out due to the consultation period deadline and lack of resources provided to ensure the public and local businesses have been able to understand the proposals fully, we will probably be seeing these changes implemented without further question.”

For further information on how you can take part in the consultation, visit www.futurenorthants.co.uk

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