West Northamptonshire Council is the new organisation that will take over the running of all local services in our area. It will legally come into existence on the 1st April 2021. For the period between 1st April and the elections, councillors who were elected to the previous councils will represent local people. The maiden elections for this council take place on the 6th May 2021.
There will be two new councils created to replace the existing Northamptonshire County Council as well as all existing District & Borough Councils. They will be known as West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire (the map below indicates which existing District Councils will form each of the new Councils).
What will this mean for me?
In the previous three tier system, services were split between County, District and Parish Councils. In the new two tier system, the District councils are abolished leaving one overarching Council for all services with Parish Councils dealing with local issues. Daventry District Council, Northampton Borough Council and South Northamptonshire Council will be dissolved into the new West Northamptonshire Council.
Services covered will include:
- strategic planning
- health and social care/social services, including Adult and Children’s services
- leisure and recreation
- environmental health
- road maintenance
- revenue collection
Some of these services will be shared between West and North Northamptonshire Councils
The new structure means that there will no longer be District Councillors in smaller wards, but Ward Councillors covering larger geographical territories. There are 31 Wards in West Northamptonshire and each ward will have three elected Representatives meaning that there will be 93 elected councillors overall. You can information on your local wards in the “What Are We Doing For You” section of this website.
In most cases, existing Parish Councils will continue as before with some additional ones being created in some areas as well as a new Northampton Town Council.
Why has this happened?
The Conservative led Northamptonshire County Council (since 2005) has been called "the worst run" local authority in the country and accused of weak budgetary control. Money problems saw it ban all but essential spending twice in the past few years. The authority has overspent its budget by millions of pounds, forcing it to twice stop all non-essential spending in 2018.
in 2015 the council's former finance director Matt Bowmer warned the authority had a "culture and behaviour where overspending is acceptable”. Put simply, the Conservative led council has been mis-managed. He wrote to the council's ex-chief executive Dr Paul Blantern, council leader Jim Harker and cabinet member for finance Bill Parker after the authority overspent by £43m in the first seven months of that year. He called for the authority to halt all non-essential spending - known as a section 114 notice - but his request was ignored. The government has also given the county council permission to spend £70m in so-called capital receipts; funds raised by selling off council-owned buildings or assets. It's hoped that money can pay off existing debt and restore the council's depleted reserve funds. It will also mean that Council Tax will rise well ahead of inflation to an expected 4.99% (the maximum allowed without the need for a referendum) simply to pay to stand still.