Government says yes to two unitary councils for Northamptonshire

Published: Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Two brand new unitary councils will be established in Northamptonshire on 1 April 2021, the Government confirmed today.

The West Northamptonshire unitary will cover Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire, and the North Northamptonshire unitary will cover Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough. The existing district and borough councils and Northamptonshire County Council will all be abolished.

The Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has reviewed all the evidence and representations received, and has now decided that replacing the eight councils with two unitary authorities is in the best interests of the residents of Northamptonshire.

Parliamentary Orders will follow later this year and there will be elections to the Shadow Authorities in May 2020.  Shadow Executives for the two unitaries will be selected from those elected and will determine the structure, budget and service delivery models for the new councils.

Services which complement one another but are currently divided between the district, borough and county councils, such as bin collections, waste disposal, planning and roads, will be brought together under each of the two unitary councils.

Leaders of the current authorities said that, now that a decision has been made, the preparations to build a better future for Northamptonshire’s residents and businesses, providing more responsive, innovative services, could continue with certainty.

In a joint statement, the council leaders of Corby Borough Council (Tom Beattie), Daventry District Council (Chris Millar), East Northamptonshire Council (Steven North), Kettering Borough Council (Russell Roberts), Northampton Borough Council (Jonathan Nunn), Northamptonshire County Council (Matt Golby), South Northamptonshire Council (Ian McCord) and the Borough Council of Wellingborough (Martin Griffiths), said:

“Now we’ve received the decision to progress with unitary, we will focus our efforts on creating two brand new councils that put the interests of residents at the heart of all decision making.

“This re-organisation needs to be about transforming how we deliver services so that they are more joined-up and make sense for residents across the county. We have a strong track record of collaborative working with each other and with partners and we will build on this to deliver services that make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“These new councils will also be major players in delivering the housing and jobs growth that Northamptonshire and the Cambridge to Oxford arc so badly need.” 

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “We have already made significant progress toward local government reorganisation in the county.

“Despite this, we have always felt that delivery by April next year was going to be challenging, so we welcome the Government’s announcement that our new target is April 2021.

“Our primary concern is to ensure residents see an improvement in the services they receive from their councils, but the new unitary councils do need to be able to deliver services that are both better and good value for money, so that the new councils are financially sustainable.

“I and my colleagues in West Northamptonshire will continue to work tirelessly to provide an organisation which delivers tangible results for Northampton and the county.”