Northampton agrees to work with neighbouring councils to form West Northamptonshire unitary authority

Council leader Councillor Jonathan Nunn.
Council leader Councillor Jonathan Nunn.

Northampton Borough Council has agreed to work together with other district councils in the county to help shape a new unitary authority.

The Government has called on the county to form two new unitary authorities, North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire, by 2020.

The borough council had initially tried to form its own unitary authority for the town only, but was knocked back four times by the government as it was not considered ‘big enough’ and needed a population of 300,000.

But the borough council has now voted to accept recommendations in backing the current proposals, and work with other councils to ‘help shape’ the new authority – which comes off the back of the failing performance of Northamptonshire County Council.

It also agreed on Monday evening to set up a working budget of up to £100,000 to fund any necessary work required in relation to local government reorganisation. This could include the possible formation of a new town council for Northampton to work alongside the new unitary authority.

Council leader, Councillor Jonathan Nunn said: “The answer is not to get out of this or sit on our hands. Let’s get the job started.”

But Labour leader Councillor Danielle Stone said that a ‘huge amount of pressure’ from the county’s seven Conservative MPs had been behind the decision not to go against the government and further pursue the town having its own unitary authority.

Councillor James Hill, cabinet member for planning, retorted: “We have a simple choice. We are either a passenger on this journey, or we are in the car helping to drive these changes.”