Northampton residents should get letters through the door informing them about proposals to form a new town council, a Liberal Democrat councillor has said.
Opposition councillors called on the authority to carry out a ‘meaningful’ consultation with residents about the Community Governance Review, which has two final proposals on the potential new town council.
The final two options will see either a town council cover the whole of Northampton where no parish councils currently exist, or a new town council formed for the centre of Northampton.
But councillors want to see the proposals plugged more than is usual for council consultations.
Liberal Democrat councillor Dennis Meredith said: “This consultation has to go out widely, especially around the eastern estates. It can’t just be done online, every household should be getting a letter explaining what an important decision this is.”
Debating approving the next consultation at full council on Monday (June 3), Labour councillor Gareth Eales called on the council to ‘get the consultation right for once’.
He said: “There is nothing in this report that tells me what the consultation will be, and I’m being asked to take a vote on this.”
He was backed up by Labour leader Danielle Stone, who questioned officers as to whether there was a minimum requirement for an ‘acceptable return’ on which to base the decision.
Responding, Laurie Gould, lead solicitor for the community governance review, said: “After the detailed consultation it will come back to this chamber to make a final decision. A majority is a majority.”
Also among the proposals are plans to form a new parish council for Kingsthorpe, submitted by the Whitehills and Spring Park Residents’ Association, and a submission to extend Duston Parish Council.
The different proposals sparked a lengthy and passionate debate between councillors from all parties.
Conservative councillor Christopher Malpas voted against his party, saying: “I can’t support this. We wanted a unitary Northampton. If we fragment this town further then we will have no chance of going for unitary or city status. I’m sorry that I have to go against my own party. I don’t take it lightly.”
But council leader Jonathan Nunn said: “I’m not prepared to allow people to be the ‘have-nots’ in Northampton because of their own agenda. Let’s get down to it and see what the people have to say.”
And deputy leader Phil Larratt, summing up at the end of the debate, said: “I’m sure we will continue to have debates as this goes forward. But I hope we get a picture from the public as to what they want.”