Lib Dems call for 'People's Plan' where public determine future regeneration of Northampton

The regeneration of Northampton should help be determined by the public according to Councillor Sally Beardsworth
The regeneration of Northampton should help be determined by the public according to Councillor Sally Beardsworth

Northampton’s Liberal Democrats are calling for a ‘People’s Plan’ so that the public can determine how the town should be regenerated once a new unitary authority is formed.

Leader Sally Beardsworth believes that a cross-party working group should be set up at Northampton Borough Council that would work with a ‘wide range of stakeholders from civil society’ to produce a ‘People’s Plan for Northampton’.

She will ask opposition Conservative councillors to agree to the motion at next Monday’s full council meeting at The Guildhall (November 5) and said that the administration could ‘no longer keep ducking and diving’ when it came to regeneration.

She said: “The town centre is dying, everyone can agree with that and we need to find out why.

“The Business Improvement District (BID) and the Chronicle & Echo have done surveys, and we have talked to the University and children and parents groups and they want to get together and get behind this.

“We want a team of people looking at the future of the town so it’s not us councillors deciding what we want, it’s the people.”

Northampton Borough Council is likely to be replaced by a new unitary authority that will join Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire under one new supersize council in 2020.

Councillor Beardsworth’s motion states that ‘delays implementing regeneration projects in Northampton may occur if the new authority does not have a clear understanding of the stakeholders’ vision for Northampton’.

It then calls on the council to set up the working group to produce the ‘Peoples’ Plan’, which she says would enable the new council to prioritise projects in its first year. It also requests a report to be produced by July 2019.

Councillor Beardsworth added: “There’s so much we could do and at the moment nothing is being done because the government is too involved with Brexit, and locally we are too involved in becoming a unitary authority. We have got to make sure that we have a plan and we can put it forward.

“I want people to be involved and understand what we can do, and what we can’t do. The University is well up for it - we’ve also talked about it with children and parents groups and the BID and we want to get more people involved. We can’t keep ducking and diving issues, we have to do something.”