Tory leader’s first 100 days a “shocking embarrassment” says Labour...but leader says opposition has no grasp of reality

Northampton Borough Council leader Mary Markham.
Northampton Borough Council leader Mary Markham.

The leader of Northampton Borough Council has hit back after Labour’s opposition leader said 10 “shocking embarrassments” typified the Tories first 100 days in office.

Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) issued a statement this week saying uncollected rubbish, a snitch hotline and uncertainty over the Sixfields development are how many will judge the Tories’ first century of days since winning the borough council election on May 8.

Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone.

Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone.

The opposition leader said: “We have seen an increase in uncollected rubbish due to their strict two green sacks policy.

“They have set up an unworkable snitch hotline for people to claim their neighbours are putting out rubbish incorrectly.

“There is now much confusion whether the contract is going to continue beyond 2018.”

Councillor Stone pointed to the how the Tories are now struggling to make up a funding shortfall for the Northampton Museum expansion, because of “being stripped of accreditation status by Arts Council England” following the sale of the Sekhemka.

She said the controlling party did not work with Travis Perkins and local residents in West Hunsbury to get a “mutually acceptable planning application,” which meant the planning application was turned down, “costing hundreds of jobs”.

And she also slammed Conservative councillors for walking out of a joint planning meeting last month, and losing their say on where 26,000 homes will be placed in the county.

Finally the Labour leader said the latest “embarrassment” has been a report by an external auditor criticising the consultation process the council carried out before moving to open Abington Street up to traffic.

But leader of the council, Councillor Mary Markham (Con, Park) has issued a scathing response, criticising the Labour leaders of lacking in experience of governance.

“This just shows how unrealistic Councillor Stone and her fellow Labour councillors are about local government,” she said.

“As Labour have not been in power here for the last 16 years, it is understandable they have no recollection of the challenges and realities of running a council.”

Councillor Markham said there is no “magic wand” for some issues and reiterated how the Tories won the May election by a convincing margin.

She said: “We have a vision of Northampton that is shared by the people of the town; this is why we were elected and why time and time again Labour have been rejected.

“We absolutely want to repay that faith and we are not complacent; there are, and always will be, issues that need to be tackled, but Northampton is on the right track and we are excited for the future of our town.”