Seminars for Northamptonshire councillors about unitary

Pixaby image.
Pixaby image.

Hundreds of councillors from across Northamptonshire will be gathering next week to find out how the proposed reorganisation of local government will work.

Every elected councillor from all of the eight Northamptonshire councils has had an invitation to the two seminars being held at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton next Tuesday (nov 29) and on December 3.

The event will give an insight into the process of dismantling the current two tier borough and county system and replacing it with a unitary system.

Councillors from other authorities who have been through the unitary transition will also be sharing their wisdom.

The meetings are taking place despite the secretary of state for local government James Brokenshire not starting his consultation as yet.

Labour councillor Mick Scrimshaw, who sits on both Kettering Council and the county council, said the seminars were welcome.

He said: “It is a very complex process and there are a lot of things that will need to be sorted. A number of councillors are questioning the timescale of having everything ready for May 2020 and it would be useful to hear from people from other places who have been through something similar.”

The event is being co-ordinated by the Local Government Association, which supports the interests of local authorities.

If Northamptonshire does reset its councils to the unitary model it will have to be one of the quickest transitions ever achieved.

After the financial collapse of the county council this spring central government requested that all Northants councils join together to put in a joint unitary bid.

At a series of meetings across the councils in August a bid for two councils, one for the north of the county and one in the west, was by and large voted for.

The suggested timetable was for the new councils to be up and running for May 2020.

But as time ticks on some council leaders have raised concerns about the timescale.
The elections planned for May 2019 would also have to be postponed which would require approval by Parliament.