Northampton Borough Council has updated a policy to make it easier to transfer land and open spaces to local parish councils.
The updated policy, agreed by the borough’s cabinet on Wednesday evening (October 17) means that future transfers to parish councils will now normally be on a freehold rather than a long lease.
It means parish councils could come to own more of Northampton’s public assets ahead of the expected formation of a unitary authority for the west of the county replacing Northampton Borough Council.
Where assets to be transferred are of a commercial in nature, a commercial sale price would be appropriate, and when non-commercial a ‘nominal consideration’ will be charged.
Deputy leader of the borough, Councillor Phil Larratt, said: “It’s up to the parishes to come forward. We’ve already had some come forward such as Billing. If they have a desire to take something forward it’s up them to take it forward, and we will discuss and negotiate with them.
But Labour councillor Janice Duffy asked whether this showed ‘a lack of confidence’ in the new West Northamptonshire council that is due to be established in 2020, and if this was a case of ‘getting rid’ of assets before they transfer to the new supersize council.
Councillor Larratt responded: “I believe that the assets of Northampton are best kept in Northampton, and if we can ensure that these assets remain in the town by transferring them to parish councils then that’s in the best interests of the public. This is about looking after them and protecting them.”