Need to 'protect' £250k mace and other civic prides in any new unitary authority

The mace is used in civic ceremonies
The mace is used in civic ceremonies

Civic ceremonies and artefacts forming part of Northampton’s history - such as its ceremonial mace - need to be protected when local government is reorganised.

That’s the verdict of a committee of councillors who have been set up to examine how the town will fare when it forms part of a new unitary authority which is likely to replace Northampton Borough Council in 2020.

The scrutiny panel is considering how the ‘pride and history’ of the Borough and the Guildhall can be preserved and enhanced as part of any new unitary authority.

At one of its first meetings on Wednesday evening, the committee discussed the history of the Mayors of Northampton, and how such traditions can be protected.

The first Mayor of Northampton was William Tilley back in 1215 and current Mayor Tony Ansell is the 778th person to fulfil the role.

The discussion included a debate on what could potentially happen to items such as the council’s ceremonial mace, which councillors heard dates back to the 17th century and is estimated to cost £250,000 as a minimum.

The mace is carried before the mayor at ceremonial events and full council meetings.

Councillor Jamie Lane, a former Mayor himself, said: “We need to make sure that the maces are retained in the borough museum, and we need to make sure that the museum trust is set up right. These are the things we risk losing if we become a unitary authority.”