A new ‘People’s Plan’ is set to be drafted for Northampton to help a likely new unitary authority prioritise regeneration projects.
The responsibility for regeneration of the town will become the responsibility of the new supersize council for West Northamptonshire that will succeed Northampton Borough Council.
The new authority will also have responsibility for the regeneration of the Daventry and South Northamptonshire districts when it is formed, which is likely to be in 2020.
And councillors in Northampton want to make sure that when the new authority is up and running, it has a clear blueprint of how the town wants to evolve.
Members of all parties backed the motion from Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Sally Beardsworth on Monday evening (November 5) at The Guildhall.
She said: “We need to talk to the people about what the problems in the town are, and how we can rectify them. We have not got years, we have got months to do, so we have got to do something now. There are people out there who are ready to bring forward good ideas.”
The motion recognises 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 adds: “Building on the good work of the Business Improvement District (BID) and its recent consultation, as well as the work of others, this council agrees to set up a cross-party working group, working with a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties to produce a People’s Plan for Northampton to enable the new unitary council to prioritise projects in its first year.”
The working group is expected to produce its report by September 2019 and will work with a number of stakeholders. Councillor Beardsworth told the chamber that the University of Northampton was ‘really enthusiastic’ about the idea.
Alastair Thomson, a grassroots member of the Liberal Democrats who worked with Councillor Beardsworth on the motion, told councillors: “Northamptonshire is often in the news for the wrong reasons, and it often underachieves its potential.
“This is an attempt to unite people from different political spectrums. Trust in politicians isn’t particularly high at the moment, and this would be a good way to show the residents that councillors are there to listen to them and do things with them.”