Embattled Northampton Borough councillor faces more questions on go-ahead for funfairs

Councillor David Mackintosh and Councillor Brandon Eldred raising a glass to mark the start of the beer festival.
Councillor David Mackintosh and Councillor Brandon Eldred raising a glass to mark the start of the beer festival.

Pressure is mounting on the Conservative borough councillor accused of giving the go-ahead to funfairs in Northampton without public consultation.

Investigations by the Chronicle & Echo revealed Councillor Brandon Eldred, the cabinet member for community engagement, gave the green light for funfair operator Albert Evans to run an event in Eastfield Park last month while another one, reportedly earmarked for Far Cotton Rec in late July has since been cancelled.

To compound matters, Councillor Eldred (Con, East Hunsbury) was seen as the driving force behind aborted plans to let Far Cotton Rec be used by 500 cars for the Alive@Delapre festival starting on July 19.

In a further development last night, the Labour Opposition said it would call for an inquiry at next week’s full council meeting, demanding a scrutiny panel be set up to ask questions about Eastfield, Far Cotton Rec and the forthcoming “Beach Party” on the Market Square in August, which will also be run by Albert Evans.

It will ask if the cabinet member for community engagement followed “a transparent process” appointing the showmen and caterers for Eastfield, Far Cotton and the “Beach Party” and if contractors hired for the events were done “in accordance with established & transparent NBC agreements with the Showmens Guild”.

Councillor Gareth Eales (Lab, Spencer) said: “The Labour group is very concerned about the lack of democratic accountability here, about how these events and contractors were appointed. We have a duty to call the administration to account and get answers and that’s what we intend to do.”

He also voiced concern that a Conservative, Jamie Lane, was now chairman of the council’s key watchdog, the overview and scrunity committee – a post traditionally held by an Opposition councillor – and urged for a scrutiny panel to be chaired by someone from outside the Tory administration.

But council leader David Mackintosh said his administration had nothing to hide: “If Labour want to call this in, I’ve no objection to that. There are conspiracy theories here and some people are running away with them. If I’d any hint something improper was going on I’d have sacked Councillor Eldred in a heartbeat.”