Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Councillor Sargeant declared a personal non pecuniary interest in Item 4 – as a Freeman of Northampton.




Apologies were received from Councillors Bottwood, Cali and Caswell.



To give directions on public comments and petitions relating only to the Motion on the agenda


Mr Steve Miller spoke as resident of Kingsthorpe and a member of the Green Party and commented that is was ludicrous that whilst the Borough Council were responsible for Air Quality, the County Council were liable for Highways which he considered should be delivered under one umbrella. He commented that the consultation would be the last opportunity for Northampton to stand up for itself and proposed the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system be piloted to enhance the democratic process.


Mr Scott Mabbutt spoke as a resident of St Crispin’s and a member of the Green Party and commented that he broadly supported the motion and noted the disparity between the urban population of Northampton and those in more rural areas and stated that a one size fits all approach was not viable. He emphasised the need for robust public engagement and argued that STV would provide a more proportional voting system.


Father Oliver Coss (All Saints Church, Northampton) explained that he had some sympathy with the notion of having 2 unitary Councils, proposed by Government, and urged engagement with neighbouring authorities to ensure a joined up Northamptonshire.


Mr Martin Sawyer stated that he considered the motion to be one of the most important decisions that the Council would have to make as it would ultimately decide the shape and future of the Town and surrounding areas. He commented that it should have cross party support and any progress or options considered should have the full support of the residents. He urged the Council to fight for a stronger Northampton to ensure that it would be fair to all.


Alderman John Dickie questioned why the Administration had originally supported and signed the motion and then conducted a political U-turn and were proposing to vote against it. He asked whether this was due to pressures from Government and urged any proposal to government be supported by residents and urged more emphasis on localism.


Mr Brian Hoare commented that the criteria set by the Government was not credible and ignored what it was intended to achieve. He stated that the Council needed to listen to the views and concerns of the residents and not the requests of the Government; this would be a decision that would affect the residents of the Town and it was necessary to do what was right by them.


Mr Arthur Newbury commented that he considered it to be necessary for the Borough Boundaries to be extended and stated that the Town was a strong place and that there was no desire for the Town to be ruled from a village 30 miles away. He reported that Northamptonians needed to vote on this and that there was a need for engagement with the public as he believed Northampton needed to be independent from the two other areas.


Ms Morcea Walker commented that she did not envy the Council with having to make a decision on the motion as it would have a significant impact on the future of Northampton.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


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Councillor Stone proposed the motion as set out on the agenda and reported that the Government wanted to abolish the County and Borough Council and introduce 2 unitary authorities; one option proposed being the West Northamptonshire Council which would incorporate Northampton. She questioned whether it would be a sustainable Council and suggested it would not succeed and there were few cultural or shared values and commented that the people of Northampton were lacking in clear information and there had been no mandate from the Administration. She reported that the Government was starving the County of funds and this would impact on the most vulnerable residents.


Councillor Beardsworth seconded the motion and noted that there was a need to listen and represent people and emphasised the need for consultation on the proposals. She commented that the Government should not be urging Civil Servants to decide the future of Northampton but the people of the Town.

She noted the lack of local MPs present at the meeting and commented that the people of Northampton deserve to have a choice and a voice as to the future of their Council.


It was agreed that there be a suspension of standing orders under Rule 25 of the Constitution that limited the length of each speaker. Members were given a maximum of five minutes each to address Council.


Councillor Birch commented that if Northampton joined South Northants and Daventry, Northampton would comprise of 60% of the population and currently had the biggest income and expenditure and stated that the needs of the aforementioned Councils in rural areas would differ greatly from those in an urban area, such as Northampton.


Councillor Goby commented that there was a need to shape and share a vision for the future of Northampton. He reported that Adult Social Care and Social Services would be massive issues for the new unitary Councils and noted the need to protect and preserve the heritage and history of Northampton. He stated that there was a need for joined up working with other authorities and commented that the proposals should be perceived as an opportunity for change and the necessity to look outwards.


Councillor Haque commented that the general consensus in the chamber was pride and value of the Town and stated by voting against the motion, the Administration would be letting people down.


Councillor B Markham stated that he was disappointed with the motion but that there was a real need to make a case for Northampton based on evidence. He questions what the roles of the Parish Councils would be and whether there would eventually be a Northampton Town Council.


Councillor Hill reported that Unitary Councils was an emotive issue with cross boundary implications and noted that any proposal submitted would have to have county support but emphasised the need to retain a proportionate number of Councillors to represent the majority of residents and therefore be the most dominant of Councils.


Councillor T Eales questioned why there had been a sudden U-turn by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.