Northampton Borough Council Exploring Plans for Unitary Status

Published: Monday, 07 March 2016

A proposal to investigate having a unitary Council for Northampton will be considered at a meeting at the Guildhall tonight (Monday 7 March).

The proposal would be part of a move to simplify local government in Northamptonshire, both to make financial savings and to provide services in a more efficient and effective way for local people.

If the proposal is accepted, Northampton Borough Council work with other councils in Northamptonshire to develop plans for a new, simpler model of local government, along the lines of those outlined recently by councils in Oxfordshire. In Oxfordshire, there are plans for eight districts and a county council to become four local unitary districts with the ability to better plan and manage housing, education and transport delivery, for example, in a more streamlined way.

Northampton Borough Council would also work with SEMLEP on plans for the devolution of powers over strategic investment and infrastructure from Central Government.

If the council agrees the proposal tonight, Northampton Borough Council will begin to work with other authorities to create more firm plans for consultation.

Cllr Mary Markham, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said:  “The current structure of local government in Northamptonshire is no longer fit for purpose; it is very confusing to local people who for a long time have been asking why such a large and ambitious council as Northampton is not a unitary council."

“I’m delighted that change for local government is now on the agenda of national government. District council leaders in Northamptonshire have been working together on this for several months now.  We are talking about what combined authorities could save, and what they could achieve for local people."

“I’m keen to be able to move forward quickly and develop a firm and costed plan to simplify local government that we can take out to consultation across Northamptonshire.”