Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Jeffrey Room, St. Giles Square, Northampton, NN1 1DE.

Contact: Partnerships and Communities Team  0300 330 700 e-mail:

No. Item


Welcomes, introductions and apologies pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Additional documents:


ATTENDANCE: Cllr Brian Oldham (BO, Co-Chair), Roger Rumsey (RR, Co-Chair), Geoff Simms (GS, Abington Residents Association), Jamie Wells (JW, NBC), Veronica Male (VM, Northants Dementia Action Alliance), James Averill (JA, Local Democracy Reporting), F Nelson (FN, Individual), D Nelson (DN, Individual), Alan Wright (AW, Eastfield), Brian Nichols (BN, Individual), Ann Timson (AT, Spring Borough Resident), Tony Mallard (TM, ERA and Veterans Club).


APOLOGIES: Jeanette Pidgen, John Rawlings, David Hewitt, Jaqueline Forrest-Smith.


Minutes and Matters Arising

Please use the link below to view the Minutes of the previous meeting.


JS appreciated the tea dance and praised the organisers.


Q: When are the next bin dates?

A: Not sure, continue what you are doing for now. Once Veolia provide residents with all new boxes and so on, there will be updates and notice for dates.


PL: Veolia want to move to 5 day collections instead of 6. Everything will carry on as is for three months and then there will be a revised collection chart given out around September.


AT:  There might be gates put in where there are currently fences to help individual’s access different parts of the ward. This could become unsafe at night.


ACTION: JW to ask someone from NPH to come to the Forum.


NS: What has been done in Northampton to regenerate? Everything is being built on the outskirts of the town and nothing has been done in the centre and now Marks and Spencer’s is going, that’s why the market is failing.


PL: Northampton is surrounded by Leicester, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Rushden Lakes etc. so it is in tough competition. Also, people’s shopping habits have changed massively and online shopping is now highly popular.


VM: Since the parking has gone up, there are so many spaces there now whereas it used to be really busy.


PL: This is there to raise revenue, but also, some people were taking advantage of the rules that were in place by leaving their car in the car park all week and then taking the car out on a Saturday.


NS: The bus station was knocked down and nothing has been done with that site.


TM read out the WASPRA letter about the scrutiny panel and the two planned park and ride bases at Sixfields. This will cause a lot of congestion around that side of town, WASPRA have recommended a park and ride base being on the east side of the town, somewhere near Crow Lane.


PL: Students do have cars so this will cause more traffic, if you live in the surrounding towns such as Wellingborough, Kettering, Bedford etc., students are going to have to drive past the University to then catch a bus back there.



Cllr Phil Larratt - Unitary Authority


PL: The county council had major finance and governance problems, this resulted in them being inspected. Because of this, the county will dissolve and it has been recommended that Northamptonshire will now be divided into 2 unitary councils (West and North). Various meetings took place between council members who wrote to the Minister asking for Northampton to be considered as its own unitary authority but this was rebuffed on numerous occasions. This was also not supported by the other Northamptonshire district leaders either. This is similar to what happened in Cheshire so there will be a meeting with civic leaders of Cheshire to talk about their experience. There will be a consultation throughout this process which George Candler is leading on. There will be focus groups, telephone calls etc.


BO: Agrees with PL on what the preferred option would have been, but we need to fight for what we want to get the best for Northampton.


Q: How many Councillors will be on the new authority against the population of Northampton?

A: We would be very similar to Cheshire which has 80 councillors, we’re looking at 80 minimum and 56% of those should be from Northampton. It has to be proportionately representative.


Q: When it is a unitary authority, what will happen to NBC properties?

A: NPH do good work, ideally this would continue.


Q: Would the council change location, more central in the new unitary? Would the Northampton council be moved away from the Guildhall?

A: It needs to be somewhere big enough and accessible for the numbers needed.


PL: Also if there was a Northampton unitary, there would be a £75m debt from day one which was another reason why it wouldn’t have been given the go ahead.


Forum members discussed how there needs to be a better strategy for adult social care.


Q: Did you look further back to places with split authorities such as Sussex, there is also County Durham.


A: If the options and boundaries were more flexible we would look at these other places.


Q: How will things like money for roads be split?

A: It will be based on how much mileage of road there is etc.


PL: We are pushing for a committee instead of a cabinet, this is how it used to be.


Q: Why was this changed?

A: It was to speed the process of decision making.


Q: If there was a change of parties, would all this change?

A: No, it would continue as planned.



Ken Macalindon and Megan Crowthers - Customer Services Team


KM: Calls received monthly is around 14,000 per month. Peak month is May with 17,000 and lowest is December with 9,000 calls.


Use trends to plan staffing levels to be able to cope with peak periods. Predicted increase in calls because of the new environmental service contract.


Looking to put a system in place where customers can leave a message and receive a call back.


Also, looking to put a system in place to stop people chasing up on things like housing applications. Repeat callers extend call queues often.


The average wait time was 3mins 14 seconds and the messaging service has now reduced this to under 2 minutes.


Q: If someone is on the phone for 5 mins they can leave a message, what if it is an emergency?

A: The caller can press 1 for emergency calls.


Q: What about abandoned calls.

A: We do collect that data but I do not have it with me.


Q: You are expecting a lot of calls with the environmental contract changes.

A: There has been some leaflets sent out and news in the paper and on the radio, but there shouldn’t be too many changes.


Q: Do you do the service calls of NPH? I often reach NPH when trying to call places like the Mayor’s Office.

A: If that does happen, we can investigate as that shouldn’t be happening.


TM: I once called for NPH and I had to wait for 40 minutes.


KM: That is not acceptable, if you come through the call centre you should not be waiting anywhere near that long.


AT: Sometimes people need to be questioned a bit more so you know how much of an emergency something is, especially with repairs.


NS: I have always had a positive experience.


Q: You said when someone rings from sheltered housing, it is flagged up as someone calling from sheltered housing?

A: If it is for a housing issued then yes, but if it was for something else which didn’t concern the property then no.


Q: If I say my e-mail is urgent will it get answered sooner than 3 days?

A: We monitor our inboxes and try to respond to all messages as soon as possible.


BO: Some lights aren’t urgent but in a wet room, the lights cannot be changed by the resident. Things like that cannot wait 7-10 days.


MC: There is a SLA with NPH and each problem will have different times, e.g. lightbulb could be 25 days but a slow leak could be 3 days. It is NPH who set these timelines.



Community News Exchange


VM: The Unity Dem project is up and running in the library for the Dementia Action Alliance.


TM: There is a new memorial garden at Eastfield park.


ACTION: MM to invite PCC again.



Any Other Business


Suggestions for Items for Future Meetings


Date of Next Meeting


26th July 2018