A bid to expand the Northampton borough boundary to retain development money was voted down at the Guildhall last night, despite claims the council was being “stitched up” by neighbouring authorities.
At last night’s full council meeting Councillor Arthur McCutcheon (Lab, Headlands) proposed the borough’s boundaries be widened.
He argued that in recent years bordering housing developments, such as Grange Park south of the town, have seen council tax and section 106 money head towards Daventry and South Northants Council. However its is argued that many of the problems associated with such builds impacted on Northampton.
Speaking on the Labour group’s motion, Councillor McCutcheon said: “We all know the problems that having these large estates on our boundaries give us.
“But we don’t have money to resolve them.
“We have overcrowded schools and we have traffic problems.
“We need planning control of the areas around our town.”
Councillor McCutcheon proposed the council could expand its boundary by “one parish” in the shorter term and in the longer term it could incorporate the large Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUE) of up to 2,000 homes near Collingtree and Hardingstone.
Supporting the motion Councillor Jane Birch (Lab, Trinity) said the council boundaries had not been changed since the 1970s and did not reflect “what we would call Northampton proper.”
But the controlling Conservative group did not support the motion, even though some supported the idea in principle.
Any changes to the boundary of Northampton borough would need to be made by central government, which some felt made the proposal too unrealistic.
Councillor Phil Larratt, (Con, East Hunsbury) said: “If it was deliverable I would vote in support of it, I just don’t feel we are in the political climate to deliver it.”
But he added: “We are being stitched up by Daventry and South Northants every move we make.”
And Councillor Michael Hill, (Con, Nene Valley) said; “There are three things we would all agree with. One is world peace, one is to see the Cobblers winning the premiership and one is to have greater control of our boundaries in Northampton.
“But politics is about the realm of the possible and I don’t feel this is possible.
“I don’t think the opposition can come up with a single time that a council has been allowed to change its boundaries in this way.”
Finally leader of the council, Councillor Mary Markham, (Con, Park) said a simple border change was not the way forward.
“This simply is not on the agenda in Government at the moment.
“Things have moved on, it’s about devolution, it’s about combined authorities and giving planing control and infrastructure to those combined authorities.”