Conservative cabinet switch lands Northampton councillor key job tackling town centre regeneration

"We have to look at new ways of doing things and I'm keen to tackle issues head on," says Lizzy Bowen

Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:37 am
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 8:40 am

Councillor Lizzy Bowen says she will tackle Northampton s problems "head-on" after landing the key West Northamptonshire Council cabinet role tackling the revitalisation the town centre.

The former deputy leader of Northamptonshire County Council was slated to take the HR and corporate services in the ruling Conservative group following last month's elections.

But she will now fill the vacant post of cabinet member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth left vacant when the roles were first announced.

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Cllr Lizzy Bowen
Cllr Lizzy Bowen

Cllr Bowen topped the polls in the Nene Valley ward in last month's elections, securing one of three seats alongside Council leader Jonathan Nunn and fellow cabinet member Phil Larratt.

She held the role as cabinet member for Housing, Leisure, Culture and Tourism in the West Northants shadow authority cabinet in the run-up to this year's local government reorganisation.

This year's Chronicle & Echo High Street Healthcheck showed up to 26 retailers closed in Northampton during 2020 and have been joined by major names Sainsbury's in the Grosvenor Centre and also Debenhams, which shut it's doors in the Drapery for the last time in March.

Cllr Bowen said: “I’m conscious that my new portfolio is key to ensuring we have fantastic opportunities for everyone.

Northampton town centre saw 26 retailers close last year — and more have followed already in 2021

“Town centres are evolving rapidly as a result of people’s changing shopping habits, so we have to look at new ways of doing things.

“At the same time, we have a shortage of housing options, particularly for young people, so I’m keen to ensure we tackle those issues head-on.”

Fellow Northampton councillor Mike Hallam will complete the nine-strong cabinet on the new unitary authority.

Cllr Hallam was a county councillor for 12 years and now represents Boothville and Parklands on West Northants. He has nearly 20 years’ experience working in digital transformation, which will be a big part of his remit alongside other key commitments like customer service and human resources.

He said: “I’m really honoured to have been chosen for this role, which will allow me to ensure we effectively transform the way we support our customers.”

“Everyone who lives in West Northamptonshire deserves excellent services and, with the clean slate that we’ve been given, that’s something we have the chance to provide.”

Other Cabinet posts confirmed last month are as follows:

■ Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader

■ Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing, Culture and Leisure

■ Cllr Fiona Baker, Children, Families and Education

■ Cllr Rebecca Breese, Strategic Planning, Built Environment and Rural Affairs

■ Cllr Matt Golby, Adult Care, Wellbeing and Health Integration

■ Cllr Phil Larratt, Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste

■ Cllr Malcolm Longley, Finance

■ Clr David Smith, Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services