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Published Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Parks, heritage, town traditions, libraries and the market square are top five in a list of things that Northampton residents consider important.

Northampton Borough Council asked residents to give their views in the Northampton Life survey, which ran alongside the consultation for local government reform in Northamptonshire, ordered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Following this consultation, a proposal has been made to the Secretary of State for two new unitary councils to replace the current two-tier system of district and borough councils and a county council.

Within the Northampton Life Survey, Christmas activities, civic events, the annual fireworks display and public art trails were also considered to be significant, alongside independent events such as the Umbrella Fair and the Balloon Festival.

If the local government reform proposal is accepted, Northampton borough will join South Northamptonshire district and Daventry district to form one of the two new unitary councils, which will be responsible for the delivery of all council services in this area.

This potential transformation into a larger, unitary council has prompted borough councillors to consider forming a Northampton Town Council, which could manage local assets like parks and historic buildings, and ensure the preservation of town traditions. 

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “Now that Northampton is likely to become part of a much larger council, it’s vital that we consider what matters to residents in terms of events, assets and wider traditions, so we ran this survey to help us inform the possible development of a town council.

 “56% of survey respondents felt that the local assets currently owned by the borough council should be managed by Town and Parish Councils. This gives us a good indication that a Northampton Town Council would be well supported, and that we should consider how it might manage certain key assets. 

“Parish and Town councils often excel at providing further local amenities for residents, and as all areas in Daventry and South Northamptonshire are already served by such councils, we need to give our communities the option to choose if they want the same model and ensure that it is cost effective.

 “We absolutely want the things that are special about Northampton to be retained and managed at a local level, and it’s also important that we continue to provide targeted support to our community groups and the voluntary sector in the future.”

In terms of how the new unitary council should be led, almost 79% of respondents said they would prefer for all councillors to have the opportunity to feed into decisions through a Committee system, as opposed a small executive board or cabinet system.

Other important factors highlighted for the operation of a new unitary council were the retention of a town centre based office providing face-to-face support, having local councillors responsible for and accountable to a manageable number of residents, and area planning decisions being made at a local level.

West Northamptonshire Council was the most popular suggested for the name of the new council, while Northamptonshire West Council and Northampton and West Northamptonshire Council were second and third respectively.

 

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