'Back on the agenda': Borough council leader teases next step for Northamptonshire Unitary Authority

A workshop on how a unitary authority could work in Northamptonshire will be held on January 23.
A workshop on how a unitary authority could work in Northamptonshire will be held on January 23.
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Plans to scrap Northamptonshire’s eight local councils and create a “super” authority could be back on the table after a year-long hiatus.

Progress on the possibility of a unitary authority in Northamptonshire had fallen quiet for much of 2017.

But leader of the borough council Jonathan Nunn stoked the coals for the next stage of the plan in a statement published ahead of a full council meeting last Monday (December 11).

He wrote: “Whilst over the past year the possibility of Unitary Local Government in Northamptonshire has appeared at times to be unlikely, I can report that the subject now seems to be very much back on the agenda.

He announced a workshop with consultancy firm Deloitte has been scheduled for January 23 to hear how the new council could be implemented, and asked all councillors to attend.

It comes after the county council denied that the appointment of Councillor Bill Parker to investigate "local government reform" is to explore the possibility of a unitary authority.

Councillor Nunn said: “Unitary status is progressing in other parts of the country and we know it is something the Government is keen to see progress in more areas.

“We have no intention of taking a leap in the dark, so have had respected consultants Deloitte carry out some research into what models might work for Northamptonshire.”

A unitary authority would mean all government services in Northamptonshire, from bin collections to schools to housing tax, would be operated by a single council.

Talks on creating a unitary authority for Northamptonshire have been circulating since 2015, but has been shelved by Northamptonshire County Council leader Heather Smith in the past as "not a priority".