Leader of Northampton Borough Council to resign

Mary Markham, leader of Northampton Borough Council is set to resign from the post after disagreements with colleagues over the future of a pub.

Saturday, 15th October 2016, 9:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:55 pm
Cllr Mary Markham

Councillor Markham (Con, Park) is understood to have clashed with cabinet colleagues over the future of the Barn Owl pub on Rectory Farm.

The pub's owner has submitted an application to convert the site into a convenience store, but it was discovered that a covenant on the site would prevent that unless a payment was made to the borough council.

The authority has not yet made a decision on whether to accept the buy-out of the covenant, but resident from Rectory Farm have campaigned against the convenience store plan.

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Officers at the borough council had recommended to councillors they allow the buy-out, and it is understood that this was the position taken by Cllr Markham who had been told not doing so could lead to a legal challenge and therefore high costs to the council.

At a meeting of the council's Conservative cabinet on Friday night it became clear a majority of the other members backed the residents' views and Cllr Markham indicated she would step down as leader following the disagreement on how to proceed.

It is understood that Cllr Markham will formally resign as leader on Monday. She will continue to sit as a councillor for the Park ward. A process will then start among the Conservative group to elect a new leader for them and the council. Cllr Jonathan Nunn (Con, Nene Valley), deputy leader, will be acting leader until then.