I have growing concerns over the proposal for the creation of two unitary authorities in place of the existing arrangements.
While the proposal may be beneficial in terms of savings in the cost of administration and the spreading of the debts of the county council, It is surely a very unbalanced arrangement in terms of weight of populations, economic power, community identities and aspirations.
As a citizen of Daventry, I have a sense of belonging to both its town and district, but the thought of the districts of Daventry and Towcester being yoked with Northampton town on the very edge of its area is disturbing. How much more disturbed I would be if I were a Northamptonian!
For those with a sense of history, how unjust this proposal must seem.
With a population of a quarter of a million, Northampton is a city in all but name.
In medieval times it was a centre of national government with a university to rival Oxford and Cambridge, a fine castle, defensive walls and rich in churches and monastic communities. Yet, in time, all this potential was stripped from its people by barons and kings.
A break came in 1968 with the New Towns Act, unleashing its potential for development, yet its applications for unitary status in 1996 and city status in 2000 were rejected.
And what of the county itself – this ancient shire? As a civil engineer, I was impressed by the drive and excellence of its engineering staff, but much of that kind of pride has melted away – just as the county’s entity itself must seemingly fade.
How sad. Can we not come up with a better solution?