AT LAST! Northamptonshire’s new unitary councils are made law by parliament

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 7th to elect new councillors.

By Sarah Ward
Friday, 14th February 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 4:41 pm
Kettering council (pictured) will cease to exist in April 2021 when the new unitaries are created.
Kettering council (pictured) will cease to exist in April 2021 when the new unitaries are created.

Legislation has finally been passed to replace Northamptonshire’s eight existing councils with two new unitary authorities.

After months of delays caused by Brexit and then the General Election, the reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire has been legally approved as the two Houses of Parliament approved the structural change order today.

It means residents will now go to the polls on Thursday, May 7, to elect the new councillors who will first of all sit on shadow councils before the new unitaries come to life on April 1, 2021. Local political parties have been selecting their candidates over recent months with nominations expected to open in March.

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Preparations for the unitaries have been ongoing since autumn 2018 when all of the county’s eight councils – apart from Corby – voted to end themselves and replace the current two-tier system with a unitary council that will provide all services. There has been a joint committee for each new council, made up of nominated councillors, who have been doing early preparations.

Chairman of the North Northamptonshire Joint Committee Cllr Martin Griffiths said: “We welcome the certainty that the approval of this legislation brings as we focus our efforts on creating two new councils to deliver more efficient and joined-up services for the people of Northamptonshire. We are working hard to create two sustainable unitary councils that, while being very different in nature, will be exemplars of how to provide excellent services for our residents.”

Chairman of the West Northamptonshire Joint Committee Cllr Jonathan Nunn said: “Our councils have a strong track record of working together and we have already made encouraging progress towards shaping the new unitaries whilst we awaited this formal confirmation of the government’s reorganisation plans. There is still much to do between now and next April but we are confident these new unitary councils will deliver improved services that will make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

The west and north shadow councils will run alongside the county, district and boroughs until the existing councils are abolished. A total of 78 councillors will be elected in the north and 93 in the west. Those elected will serve a five-year term as there will not be another election until 2025.

Residents can keep up to date with the unitary plans by visiting