Alive @ Delapre will not return to Northampton in 2016, budget briefing hears

Alive @ Delapre will not be returning to Northampton in 2016
Alive @ Delapre will not be returning to Northampton in 2016

Alive @ Delapre will not to be returning to Northampton next year Northampton Borough Council leaders have confirmed after announcing its 2016/17 budget proposals.

This evening the authority has announced plans to save around £687,000 after a 40 percent cut - around £6 million - in the grant money it receives from Central government since 2010.

However the authority also announced around £355,000 worth of “growth” and large capital investments, as well as announcing plans to put £2.7 million into savings and plans to earmark almost £4 million for the Vulcan Works project, which will see the former industrial building in Guildhall Road brought back into use for creative industries.

More than £2 million is to be spent on improvements to St Giles Street and £1.3 million on increased parking at either Midsummer Meadow or Commercial Street, by creating an extra deck.

But leader of the authority, Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Park) said Alive @ Delapre, which has seen acts such as Jessie J, McBusted, Simple Minds and Boyzone perform in the grounds of the ancient abbey, will not be returning to the town.

She said: “We always said we would do this event for three years and we have done that.

“There is such thing as an event ‘catching a cold’. Concerts at Knebworth used to be really popular until one year no one turned up.

“So we aren’t looking at bringing Alive @ Delapre back this year though in future years we may come back to it again.”

Cabinet member for finance, Councillor Mike Hallam (Con, Parklands) said that all events have a “natural lifespan” and the council would be looking to “reinvent every few years.”

In a budget press conference this evening Councillor Markham claimed the council’s decision to take on the debts of Northampton Football Club and the liability of the £10.25 million loan to it would not have an affect on services.

She said the authority will be seeking to recover that money through developing the land around the stadium and through pursuing the money through legal action.

Even thought the council will have to spend around £275,000 on interest payments on that loan - which was drawn down from the national Public Works Loans Board - every year, she said: “We have had two other loans come into maturity and we were able to offset the club at a better interest rates there is no impact to the people of Northampton.”

However, despite freezing council tax, the borough is also proposing to cut the amount of support people can receive on their council tax bill from 79 per cent to 71 per cent.

Leader of the Labour group on the borough council, Councillor Danielle Stone has reacted by saying: “Yet again the Tories are increasing council tax on the poorest people in the town with more cuts to the council tax reduction scheme.

“The main council tax has been frozen again. This is now the sixth year in a row it has been frozen and this is having a serious detrimental impact on the base budget. More services will have to be cut as a result.”

On the loss of Alive @ Delapre the opposition leader said: “It’s is disappointing they are no longer continuing with Delapre Alive as it starting to become more popular with people. They have cancelled it just as it was getting well know nationally.”