Northampton's mayor 'concerned' for future of role

Tony Ansell is the current mayor of Northampton
Tony Ansell is the current mayor of Northampton

The mayor of Northampton has admitted he ‘has concerns’ that the tradition and pomp of the role dating back hundreds of years may soon be lost.

Councillor Tony Ansell, the 778th mayor of the town, was speaking at a borough council scrutiny meeting on Thursday evening assessing how the role of the mayor can be continued under the new unitary authority which will be formed in 2020.

He said: “I would hate for us to lose it and it does concern me what the future holds. I’m no Mystic Meg but I hope that it keeps as it is.”

Debate over the ceremonial role has already begun, as the unitary authority set to replace NBC in 2020 will also cover the Daventry and South Northamptonshire districts.

Potential options include transferring the role over to the unitary authority, or retaining it if a new town council is formed for Northampton.

In a report presented to the council, the mayor’s office states: “The borough council has already recognised the importance to continue and protect both the Guildhall and the civic traditions and activities.

“With that in mind council agreed in July 2018 for a community governance review to be undertaken with a view to the creation of a new town council for Northampton. One advantage of forming a Northampton Town Council is that it can retain a mayor, the historic and ceremonial regalia, artefacts and other items of interest that currently belong to the borough council.”

Speaking of how the town reacts to visits from the mayor, Councillor Ansell said: “I think it’s extremely important that you wear all the robes and dress as a mayor should be.

“People show a great respect towards it. It was a role I dreamed of when I was a child.”