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Cllr Julie Davenport, speaks for the Labour Group, on disability issues. She regular attends the Disability Forum at the Guildhall.

 

Cllr Davenport says,

 

“My experience, on a daily basis, is concerning the access issues for people with disabilities.

For example, Borough Council and Northamptonshire Partnership Homes pathways are in a very bad state, mainly due to the tree roots pushing pavements up and making the pavement difficult and a few impossible to manoeuvre along with walking aids, scooters, wheelchairs or even walking.

 

The Borough Council have allocated £100,000 extra funding per year for trees but when I mentioned at the last Council meeting that I believe that more than the 10% of that budget should go on dealing with these urgent cases the Cabinet Member refused and thought that 10% (£10,000) was enough!

 

I also raised this issue at the last Disability Forum again and someone said, ‘But it’s the law, they have to ensure access for people with disabilities, just tell them that!’ Obviously I have told them that but it hits deaf ears.

The other issue with trees is that they hang over sheltered housing bungalows, all the branches, deadwood, twigs fall into their gardens and the vulnerable residents cannot use their gardens because of these obstacles. No, £45 a week they get for PIP or whatever will not pay for someone to constantly pick up the tree debris, plus pay for carers and so on.

 

In addition, there are problems with all the leafs, especially in sheltered housing developments. The residents can slip on them in wet weather. I’m told things will be better in June once the environmental services contract starts - why are we waiting for this wondrous day in June for them to do so many things? Perhaps it is because of the summer and problems don’t look as bad.

 

Alleyways are also a problem. Residents, with scooters, in terraced houses with back access are condemned to be housebound because they cannot get through the alleyways with their scooters due to rubbish that is never cleared.

It’s all well and good for the Council to talk about the issues, people want action. There are quite a few issues that those with disabilities come up against and I know plenty who will speak on all of them.”

Disability

Cllr Julie Davenport, speaks for the Labour Group, on disability issues. She regular attends the Disability Forum at the Guildhall.   Cllr Davenport says,   “My experience, on a daily...

 

Cllr Russell (Lab) for Kingsley Ward, is calling a public meeting on 7 December 2017 at 2:30pm at the Pioneer Public House, Hazeldene Road, to discuss the withdrawal of a bus route which runs through Links View area of her ward in Kingsley. This meeting is in response to residents who have expressed their anxiety and anger at the withdrawal of route no 11 which serves the Links View in Kingsley.

 

Route 11, currently a Country Lion service, has been withdrawn from 22 December 2017 with little notice or consultation with residents who live around Fairway, Hazeldene Road, Fulford Drive, Hollingside Drive, Hoylake Drive, Rennishaw Way and Greenview Drive as well as residents who live in the vicinity of Bradlaugh Fields.  This means hundreds of residents some of whom are pensioners and other vulnerable people will not have access to public transport after 22 December 2017!

 

Cllr Cathrine Russell says "This outrageous situation is completely unacceptable! This is why I am called a public meeting and asking residents to come along to find out what we can do to ensure we get the public transport we need in this area. The only way Links View residents will have access to public transport is to walk through Bradlaugh Fields to either St Davids  or Kettering Road in the dark and through winter conditions.  Alternatively to they could walk the one and a half miles to Kenmuir Road, over a rather steep hill! I have invited the County Council, several bus companies and other interest parties to attend this meeting and hopefully we will be able to find a way forward. 

 

I would like to thank the residents who contacted me about this important issue and assure all residents of Kingsley that I will do everything I possibly can to have a bus service reinstated in my ward of Kingsley."

 

Withdrawal of Bus Route

  Cllr Russell (Lab) for Kingsley Ward, is calling a public meeting on 7 December 2017 at 2:30pm at the Pioneer Public House, Hazeldene Road, to discuss the withdrawal of...

Cllr Julie Davenport, who represents the community on both the Borough Council and County Council, is due to attend the Borough Council Cabinet meeting tonight with residents to argue against selling the green space at Lancaster Way.

 

Cllr Davenport says,

 

“Residents are not opposed to new development,  just the sale of their green space.  The whole story of this particular development proposal is a sorry tale. With the questions of who actually owns the development land and the arrogant way the nine acres of trees and shrubs were cut down.

 

This green space is a vital community resource particularly for young families. I regularly see games of football being played on there.  The residents know that the green space does not need to be sold, a T Junction could be installed instead and the green space kept for the children. This would mean that the development would need to go back to planning to make the necessary changes.

 

However, I have done my own research and I have been well informed that if this development went back to the Planning Committee the Highways Authority would object to it due to the impact it would have on an already highly congested Towcester Road.

 

There is another possible entrance to the development that the developers could use but, again, it will need to go back to Planning Committee to approve such a change. Having just the one access road will add to the very long queues on the roads in that area. Any recent traffic surveys and test results have not been shared with anyone. There has been no consultation with Councillors or residents before this Cabinet meeting.

 

The whole thing is just frustrating and the odds are always stacked in the developers favour.  We keep being told that the Council must approve housing schemes because otherwise ‘the developers will appeal against the decision costing NBC time and money’. However, that didn’t stop the Barn Owl/ Mary Markham fiasco or the Tory controlled Planning Committee rejecting the Hardingstone SUE.  We are told we can’t waste tax payers money on planning appeals but it is the tax payers themselves who tell me they actually want us to appeal.

 

There are examples of where the developer has no intention of building, just getting planning permission, selling it on to another developer and the new buyer can do what others have done, go back to planning stating that they didn’t make the agreement on building 35% affordable housing and an ‘independent’ firm will say it’s no longer viable. Planning will then allow the revision to s106 and allow them to build with NO affordable housing.

 

At the Cabinet meeting I will be there with my residents arguing the case against the selling of this green space - or ‘disposal’ as they choose to call it.”

Lancaster Way

Cllr Julie Davenport, who represents the community on both the Borough Council and County Council, is due to attend the Borough Council Cabinet meeting tonight with residents to argue against...

Council Tax reduction scheme

Northampton Borough Council is to freeze the Council Tax reduction Scheme for the first time. It is to stay at 35%.

Cllr. Ashraf (Labour, St James), says, “I am glad that the Council has at last recognised that we cannot go on bleeding the poor. The Labour group said last year when the 35 % was introduced that people would find it hard to pay. We have been proved right. The debt has gone up and debt recovery has gone down.

Corby Borough only charges 8% Council Tax. This is what we should be doing. Perhaps freezing the amount people on low incomes pay at 35% is the beginning of common sense. We need our families and our children to survive austerity and come out the other end. We need to support them not fleece them. This is a small step in the right direction”.

Council Tax Reducation Scheme

Council Tax reduction scheme Northampton Borough Council is to freeze the Council Tax reduction Scheme for the first time. It is to stay at 35%. Cllr. Ashraf (Labour, St James),...

BAME Women’s Democracy Event 12th October 2017

Guildhall

 

Aim:  

The aim of BAME Women’s Democracy event is to encourage BAME communities to participate in local policy decisions. Democracy is everyone’s right, their contribution can change lives.

 Quotes About Democracy.  Democracy is a form of government in which people have the say in choosing the government or leader of their choice.  In other words, in a democracy, power lies in the hand of people unlike autocracy or dictatorship, where a single person usurps all the power and the rules over the entire nation.

 Discussion:  Current issues facing BAME women

 This is the first time Labour has organised a BAME women’s event for Democracy Week 2017.  The purpose of this event is to find a way to reach out to women from BAME communities and get them involved at local level.

 We discussed how democracy changes lives that are influenced by government.

We all know decisions made nationally can affect local issues therefore, wider community engagement and input is required if they want to be heard.  We also said how they can have influence over decisions that can better the lives of many.

 We also discussed the representation on the day maybe low because of when the meeting is being held.  This is something we can look at.

 We agreed we should hold another similar event same time next year and possibly have it around a theme and speakers, visit full council session and attend forum meetings to get an understanding of how local council performs, scrutinise and see how their local councillors represent their constituents. 

 Activity:

The Women were set an exercise, to write down their experiences of accessing housing and health in Northampton.  They came up with good points and want their contribution to be followed up on.

Council Chamber debate:

We went to the Council Chamber for a debate and split the group in two and selected a Mayor. The debate was around flexibility for working mums to work from 9-2pm

 Group 1 – Employees want their employer to give them flexibility and allow them to work 9-2pm to allow them to drop and pick up their children from school.

Group 2 - Employer argued employee accepts the job with the set hours, they cannot offer flexibility because it would affect their productivity and need people to work full time.  There were really good arguments for and against.

Health notes:

Time awaited to see specialist

GP appointments

Answer is always pain killer

Not no thorough checks

No referrals

Medication to expensive

Cost of medication – Vitamin D

Mental health issues

Free and regular health checks

Elderly in could be checked at home and others in other locations

Health service – joined up approach

Translation service for medical appointment – language terminology

Unavailable appointments

GP – not enough time

Long waiting time A&E

Dentist term time appointment

Mental health – not enough service available (poor service)

Respecting patients

Poor medication

8am to make GP appointment clash to school runs

Phone line is always engaged

The online system does not work, hard to use

Dentists becoming increasingly privatised

Not enough dentist appointment outside school time

Lots of people coming to Northampton from London , esp due to high cost of living and low quality of living in London

Lot of people from Eastern Europe

Long wait at A&E and operations

 

Housing notes:

  • Over crowded
  • 2 bedroom tax
  • Poor quality – council housing/association
  • Need Teenage Housing  - 18yrs over
  • Living room turned into bedroom
  • Inadequate housing
  • Homeless – expectations not met
  • Facilities available for disabled people
  • Keeping families together not separating them
  • Rent increasing/council tax
  • Benefit cap – universal credit which will affect low income families
  • Private rented people also overcrowded and low income
  • Not all landlords will accept housing benefit.  Not everyone can afford deposit
  • Overcrowding
  • Homelessness
  • Because of capping and bureaucracy of housing benefit, council tax
  • Big gap in housing benefit due to delay in filling in paperwork
  • Lack of affordable social housing, but lot of private accommodation.
  • Need for safe hostels
  • Lack of temporary accommodation in npton close to work and school
  •  New homes needed for  more rooms for big family and accommodations for young single people to larger bedroom.
  • Rents increasing people moving into Northamptonshire
  • Quality of new housing needs to be long lasting not cheap or breakable
  • Bedroom tax – against
  • Social workers would be better if they help the homeless parent as well as child
  • Homeless shelter limited spaces
  • Long process – complicated language issues with forms – lack of clear guidance
  • Waiting
  • Empty properties
  • Facilities in certain areas – school/transport
  • Unfair housing – benefit fraud
  • Condition of housing eg damp etc
  • Pensioners – benefits when renting /owners
  • BAME housing – specialist support required
  • University students – rents high - conditions

 

 

Conclusion:

 

The women that attended found the event informative and important. They were pleased they attended.  There was much discussion why they have not until now they came along to such event. They would like to see follow up session next year.   The ladies are keen to make a contribution and want to learn more about democracy and want to come along to meetings which will be a huge step for them..

  • To come along to next full council meeting on Monday 11th December at the Guildhall.  Arrive by 6.15pm to get seated
  • Attend next Democracy event 2018
  • Visit to Parliament and meet with BAME MPs
  • Complete questionnaire

Thanked the Women for their contribution.

 

 

BAME women and Democracy

BAME Women’s Democracy Event 12th October 2017 Guildhall   Aim:   The aim of BAME Women’s Democracy event is to encourage BAME communities to participate in local policy decisions. Democracy is...

Monday, 19 June 2017 6:30 pm

Opposition business: Councillor Stone made a statement “Democracy and Good Governance”.

Motions:

i) Councillor Davenport proposed and Councillor Ashraf seconded:

“This Council welcomes the 30th Anniversary of the Call Care Service which was set up in 1987. The Call Care system is operated 365 days a year and 24 hours a day and responds to hundreds of daily alarm calls from sheltered housing tenants.  It allows vulnerable people to live life independently but can obtain assistance when needed.

This Council asks the Chief Executive to write to the Call Care staff to pass on our congratulations for their work and our acknowledgement of this important milestone. This Council hopes to see the Call Care System to be in place for another 30 years”. Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

ii) Councillor Birch proposed and Councillor Russell seconded:                                                                                                “This Council notes Refugee Week on 19 - 25 June 2017. Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.  This Council hopes refugee week is a great success across the UK.                                                                   This Council asks the relevant Cabinet Member to look at how Northampton can play a part in refugee week next year”.       Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

Monday, 10 July 2017 6:30 pm

From Cllr Haque to Cllr Hallam

Q1: We keep hearing that the market is to get a facelift. How much consultation has taken place, when will we know what is being planned, where is the money coming from?

Q2: Deep cleansing takes place, sometimes, in the town centre. When will we have deep cleansing in other shopping areas and in our wards? 

From Cllr Birch to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                          Q1: Please can we have an assurance that the deputy leader of the County Council fully supports this Council’s Cross Party call for unitary status for Northampton?

Q2: Please may we have an update on how we are progressing the Councils motion on unitary status for Northampton? When can we expect to see the consultation document that has been commissioned by the joint authorities?

From Cllr Duffy to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                          Q1: We have accident hot spots in our town, especially around junctions in residential areas and around school gates. What steps are being taken by this Council, working in partnership with the County and with the Police, to improve road safety around the town? How can we improve monitoring, reporting and the clearing up after non-fatal accidents?

Opposition Group Business: Councillor Ashraf made a statement “More and Better Housing”.

Motions:                                                                                                                                                                           Councillor Birch proposed and Councillor Duffy seconded:                                                                                                          “This Council notes there is a growing and serious problem with social overcrowding in council houses.

This Council believes that the national statutory overcrowding regulations are insufficient. Children in particular are affected as there is a lack of space to study, store their clothes and toys, play with siblings, and invite friends over.

This Council will therefore determine a local standard to include the right to a minimum floor space, storage for clothes and personal effects.

We further ask the Cabinet to investigate ways to help families living in socially overcrowded conditions to move on to appropriate accommodation as their family needs develop. Council debated the motion.                                                              Upon a vote the motion was lost.

Thursday, 17 August 2017 6:30pm

A special full Council meeting to appoint an interim chief executive.

Monday, 18 September 2017 6:30 pm

Cllr Smith to Cllr Hallam                                                                                                                                                      Commercial waste bins on pavements and roads are a problem. What can the council do about it?

Cllr Birch to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                                  How is the Public Space Protection Order working?

Cllr Stone to Cllr Hibbert                                                                                                                                                            How many NPH housing officers have been cut since May 2015?

Cllr Chunga to Cllr Eldred                                                                                                                                                               Will this LA follow the lead set by 20 other LAs including Liverpool and Tower Hamlets and abolish Council Tax for care leavers under 21 years?

Cllr McCutcheon to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                                How many Shisha bars are there in the town?

Cllr McCutcheon to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                             Please can we have an update in relation to the Greyfriars site?

Cllr Stone to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                                   Will Northampton join the Mutual being set up by the LGA to ensure we can take advantage of value for money insurances?

Cllr Stone to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                            Please can we have a breakdown of staff by pay grade showing gender, race, age?

Cllr Ashraf to Cllr Hibbert                                                                                                                                                            How many children do we have living in temporary and emergency accommodation?

Cllr Nazim Choudary to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                      Sol Central and VUE cinema are part of any success for the future of our town centre. It is understood VUE wants to commit to Northampton for the longer term but there is much uncertainty surrounding the Greyfriars site.  What is happening about progressing the proposed development of Greyfriars?

Cllr Nazim Choudary to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                Please confirm that it is not this the Council’s intention that the Greyfriars development proposals should blight investment in Northampton’s existing town centre cinemas?  Is Northampton Borough Council aware of the effect the proposed cinema development at Greyfriars is having on investment decisions of the existing cinemas in Northampton and preventing other leisure operators coming into Northampton?

Opposition Business: Councillor Duffy made a statement  “The Eastern District needs more attention and resources from both our local authorities”.

Motions:

i)  Councillor Smith accepted an alteration to the original motion as published on the agenda. The altered motion was seconded by Councillor Birch. Council agreed to the altered motion which was debated below:

“This council will mark the centenary of women gaining the right to vote by honouring Margaret Bondfield as the first ever Woman MP for Northampton. Afterwards she became the first female cabinet minister, and the first woman to be a privy Councillor in the UK, when she was appointed Minister of Labour. The women’s forum will be asked to consider a commemoration event in the Guildhall. The Council further commits to honouring Margaret Bondfield by commissioning a statue of her to be placed in the Courtyard of the Guildhall during the next financial year. This Council notes that 2018 is the centenary of the year in which women won the same voting rights as men. This gave propertied women aged 30 and over the right to vote for the very first time. Universal suffrage for both men and women followed 10 years later.”                              Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

ii) Councillor Stone accepted an alteration to the original motion as published on the agenda. The altered motion was seconded by Councillor Ashraf. Council agreed to the altered motion which was debated below:

“This Council notes the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government made a recent speech to the Local Government Association where he recognised ‘there is a serious shortage of decent affordable housing’ and went to talk about the stark inequalities in housing and said he was willing to listen to proposals from ambitions councils to try to address these issues.

In Northampton we have recognised for some time there is a desperate need for more social housing and have stated our aim to address this. We are an ambitious council and agree that members and officers will continue to work together to develop a proposal to finance and build new social housing locally. The proposal will be submitted to government for their support and approval.”     Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

Monday, 6 November 2017 6:30 pm

Cllr Anamul Haque to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                      How much money has been spent on the Market Square in the last five years, including staffing and is the amount considered value for money?

Cllr Anamul Haque to Cllr Mike Hallam                                                                                                                                        There is some research that shows in-house services are more responsive to changing need and better value for money. In light of this will the Administration reconsider going out to private tender for environmental services?

Cllr Rufia Ashraf to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                      Please can we have an update on the plans to link up St James Mill Road?

Cllr Rufia Ashraf to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                            When will the permanent car park at Castle Railway Station be built?

Cllr Arthur McCutcheon to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                The Conservative manifesto on page 12 says

“A re-elected Conservative administration will ensure all planning applications for Houses of Multiple Occupancy are automatically brought before the Planning Committee for decision to protect local residents and communities.”                    This is an excellent idea.  When will this be implemented so Councillors do not have to go through the bureaucratic process of doing a call-in?

Cllr Nazim Choudary to Cllr Tim Hadland                                                                                                                                       In a recent Chronicle and Echo article, http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/special-report-crazy-golf-bowling-alley-and-a-bigger-cinema-at-northampton-s-sol-central-all-on-hold-because-of-greyfriars-1-8187765

It was suggested that the report recommending a cinema on the Greyfriars site was “not impartial”.  How do you respond to that suggestion?

Cllr Danielle Stone to Cllr Phil Larratt                                                                                                                                           Your Conservative Manifesto on page 9 said “a re-elected Conservative administration will continue to publish the record of attendance for all Councillors and monitor attendance of Councillors”. When will this be done?

Cllr Danielle Stone to Cllr Brandon Eldred                                                                                                                                 How much money do we make on parking fees?

Opposition Business: Cllr Haque to make a statement  “The Market”.

Motions:

iii) Councillor Duffy accepted an altered motion and Councillor Culbard seconded:

“This Council notes that Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBT) are sometimes referred to the “crack cocaine of gambling”.

This Council further notes that due to a relaxation in gambling regulations introduced by the Labour Government in 1999, FOBT gamblers are currently able to bet up to £100 per go on the machines, allowing players to make substantial losses very quickly.  People can place £100 every 20 seconds on FOBTs.

Council welcomes the outcome of the current Government’s consultation on stake reduction and that it will be taking action to reduce maximum stakes on FOBT to between £50 and £2.

This Council, therefore, asks the Chief Executive to write to our local MPs urging them to persuade the Government to reduce the stakes on FOBT to the lower end of the proposed spectrum, preferably £2.”  Council debated the motion.                       Upon a vote, the motion was carried.

iv) Councillor Smith proposed and Councillor Davenport seconded:

“This Council notes that at the last meeting a motion was passed calling for a review of our HMO policies.This Council asks the review to look at Oxford City Council as a case study and the benefits of adopting their approach. In Oxford the whole of the local authority area is covered by an Article 4 directive and  any proposal to create a new HMO, including the change of use of any dwelling to an HMO, will only be permitted where the proportion of properties within 100 metres of street length either side of the property does not exceed 20%. This Council looks forward to the review being completed in the near future.”  Upon a vote the motion was carried.

Monday, 11 December 2017 6:30 pm

Cllr Stone to Cllr Eldred                                                                                                                                                                    Will the administration write to Government asking for the roll out of Universal Credit to be halted?

Cllr Ashraf to Cllr Hibbert                                                                                                                                                            Please can we have the up to date figures for people in temporary and emergency accommodation? How many are families with children? How many children?

Cllr Duffy to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                                    Can we have the latest crime figures by category? Domestic abuse as a separate category.

Cllr Duffy to Cllr King                                                                                                                                                                      How many children in the Borough are living in poverty?

Cllr Birch to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                           

Who made the decision about which design to go forward with the town centre museum and why wasn’t there public consultation as promised? When will the museum expansion be completed?

Cllr McCutcheon to Cllr Hadland                                                                                                                                                     What difference has One Angel Square had on town centre footfall?

Cllr Smith to Cllr Nunn                                                                                                                                                                        In this colder weather has the Council implemented the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) yet?

Motions:                                                                                                                                                                                                       i) This Council notes the new contractor for Environmental Services will be announced in January 2018. A new contractor will take over the running of Environmental Services from June 2018.

This Council believes that Residents, Resident Associations and Parish Councils understand best the environmental challenges in their area such as fly tipping hot spots and overgrown grass verges. They should be able to fully engage with both the Contractor and Borough Council so that information can be acted on promptly and effectively.

This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet and the future Contractor to commit to positive and productive collaboration with Residents, Resident Associations and Parish Councils so they can input into its work in keeping Northampton clean and tidy. Cabinet will explain how this engagement will work in practice after the announcement of the Contractor but before June 2018.                            

Proposed by: Cllr Anamul Haque                                                                                                                                          Seconded by: Cllr Zoe Smith

ii)  This Council notes the Greyfriars site remains undeveloped and it looks likely to remain a wasteland in the centre of town. This Council therefore resolves to develop the site, to reconfigure the Highway to bring the site into the town centre by removing the road between the site and the Grosvenor centre and creating a new dual carriageway on Lady’s Lane.  This Council further resolves to build a mix of family housing on the site including 50% social housing. The development will also include retail, amenities and leisure facilitates. The development will be cost neutral after 5 years.

Proposed by: Cllr Arthur McCutcheon                                                                                                                                      Seconded by: Cllr Jane Birch

6 monthly report of theLabour Group

Monday, 19 June 2017 6:30 pm Opposition business: Councillor Stone made a statement “Democracy and Good Governance”. Motions: i) Councillor Davenport proposed and Councillor Ashraf seconded: “This Council welcomes the...

Thank You Mayor,

Since we wrote this motion I note that things I have moved on slightly in the last few days when the Department for Culture, Media and Sport finally announced a range of options for the new maximum stake in fixed odds betting terminals. The headline in the announcement has been to cut the maximum stake from £100 to between £50 and £2.

However, this is just ultimately another consultation and we need action now.  This disappointing as Government have lost a real opportunity to curb highly addictive Fixed Odds Betting Terminals which can cause real harm to people and local communities.  We need action now. This latest consultation ends on January 23 on we shouldn’t have to wait that long.

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are often referred to as the Crack Cocaine of Gambling.  This is because of their highly addictive nature and the severe problems they cause.

Nationally gambling yields over £1.8 billion which is lost in Britain because of FOBTS.  We cannot ignore the correlation between problem gambling and these machines.  Programmes such as Panorama and the drama Broken have illustrated the strong effect FOBTS have on producing addiction in the brain and how this can destroy a person’s life leading to suicide.  A ex-gambling addict ran up debts of £250,000

Two of the factors of becoming a problem gambler are being young and being poor.  The Gambling Commission in 2016 showed the proportion of 11 to 15 year olds is twice the size of those who drink alcohol.  Landman Economics’ report shows that betting offices do target areas with high proportion of poverty.

 We all enjoy fun gambling and a lot of people enjoy a flutter but to those predisposed to addiction in one form or another, a loosely controlled industry such as gambling can be so destructive.  An explosion of gambling addiction has been created which nobody foresaw when it was made legal.  The costs of addiction, both in human suffering and financially is costing so much to put right which outweighs the amount of revenue of £450 billion to the Treasury in tax. 

The gambling industry is a huge profit making industry and is growing and should have tighter controls to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and pay its share in putting right what it causes.

So as I said at the beginning we now have a 12 week consultation so let’s ask our MPs to lobby for beneficial changes during this time. We need the maximum stake amount reduced from £100 to £20 and we also would like local authorities being the given powers to stop proliferation and clustering of betting shops to help prevent the costs associated with gambling addiction.

I hope you can support the motion.

Cllr Duffy Speech on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Thank You Mayor, Since we wrote this motion I note that things I have moved on slightly in the last few days when the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...

We all want the Market to succeed.  We can only do this if we work in partnership with the traders.  The market is often referred to as the “jewel in the crown”. It is something people in Northampton have been traditionally very proud off.  However, our open market has been let down very badly by the Borough Council recently.  We should remember Northampton is envied in many parts of the United Kingdom because of the size and central location of our Market in the town. 

Our Market has been in the same position since 1235. Prior to that trading took place in the precincts of All Saints Church.  The names of   streets around the Town Centre bear testament to our Market history. When standing in the Market Square you are in a place where goods have been bought and sold for nearly 800 years.  Very few other places in   the   Country   can boast such a history.

Councillors regardless of what political party are just ships in the night of the history of our town. They have a public duty to look after the Market.  It is part of our common heritage. 

I know that over recent years shopping habits have changed. Internet shopping is increasing as are home deliveries from supermarkets. But these are challenges we need to rise to and not shrink from.

Some changes in recent years I have welcomed. Despite the cost I do think on balance the fountain is a good thing as it increases the attractiveness of the Square.  Car Parking fees have been cut back and that also is a good thing. The traders have told us that the current parking fees are not working. The problem is that after two free hours’ shoppers face a big hike of £2.40. What they want is cheap parking instead of about a 30p an hour.

We have some good events on the Market Square like the Beech and St Crispin Street Fair. There is a discussion to be had in how to take this forward. Rents for Market Stalls have been frozen recently and again this is something I welcome. 

Back in 2012 the Market Advisory Group was set up, with an independent Chair, to liaise between this Borough Council and the Market Traders. At first the Market Advisory Group seemed to be working. Your 2015 Manifesto said you wanted to involve the market traders in decision making.     

The appearance of the gateways into the market needs to be improved. For instance, the paving slabs need to be replaced.   Weeds need to be removed. What about a more attractive clock? It needs investment on there so the traders can flourish.

The proposed reconfiguration of the market layout is causing much controversy and anxiety with the traders. We should be working with them and not against them. They do not like this proposed layout and surely they are the experts in this.

We could experiment with Sunday markets, bank holiday markets and evening markets. We need festive markets that cater for different faiths. Also why can smaller towns in the county have successful farmer markets but we can’t do it here in Northampton?  Evening Markets could prove successful. Home made products, Charity stalls and Arts & Crafts could be a feature.  Old Boot & Shoe skills could be demonstrated, for example. 

There should be an annual promotional Budget to promote on social media, traditional media and flyers. There needs to be more information online about stalls currently on the market. What is being sold?

Do we have a loyalty scheme for Traders? If not then we can introduce one? Regular Traders would receive a rent reduction of 1% for every 5 years they have stood on the Market, for example.

We could discuss with the job Centre and the local Chamber of Commerce how they can assist in finding new traders by presenting this as a job or business opportunity.  We should   introduce a ‘Become a Market Trader’ pack giving advice and relevant information on how to become a market trader.

Just some ideas. Let’s work with traders and have a strong Market.

Thank You Mayor.

 

Cllr Haque Market Speech

We all want the Market to succeed.  We can only do this if we work in partnership with the traders.  The market is often referred to as the “jewel in...

Thank you for inviting me here this evening to speak about the dire situation in Bangladesh.

Ever since I have been become a local cllr have been advocate and campaigner on human rights.

Like you I have seen and heard of the various reports of violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar on the UK television and radio. In addition, I have also heard of reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that hundreds of thousands Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State have been indiscriminately targeted in a recent increase of human rights abuses.

A couple of days ago thousands of refugees from Myanmar have been admitted to Bangladesh after spending up to four days stranded near the border.

By last night Bangladesh border guards reported that over 6,800 refugees had passed through Anjuman Para border village in Cox’s Bazar district. Thousands more are said to be on their way from Myanmar. Many of the refugees are women and children. The state military of Burma is driving them out of the country.

What do we know?

1) The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) claims that people are fleeing their homes, whole villages are being burnt, indiscriminate killings, tortures, rape and sexual assault of Rohingya Muslims and the destruction of mosques and homes.

2) Amnesty International’s “litany of human rights violations” against Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar Army. These sadly include reports of military firing on villagers from helicopter gunships, burning countless homes, arbitrary arrests, and raping women and girls.

3) A recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report showing high-definition satellite imagery of the burnt and destroyed Rohingya villages.

4) The number of people displaced internally and taking refuge elsewhere, particularly Bangladesh.  

 We need to ask the British Government to

1)         Utterly condemn any reprisal attacks for the border incident.

2)         Call for an immediate ending of violence against an already persecuted religious minority.

3)         Prevent further violations of the Rohingya’s human rights.

4)         Intensify pressure on the Myanmar government to allow full humanitarian access to the Rohingya.

5)         Set up an international commission to investigate the claims of atrocities and genocide for possible crimes against humanity.

6)         Set up with the international community a process to monitor and look into the citizenship system in Myanmar.

I am gravely concerned that our inaction may lead to the making of another so-called ISIS in Asia and we seem to be silent. We seem to have learnt few lessons from conflicts elsewhere of appeasement which led to the Second World War, Rwanda, and elsewhere. The Myanmar government continue to claim this is fake news and appeasing them is no longer acceptable. An immediate International Commission investigating the truth would provide much-needed evidence and options for resolving the situation and preventing further loss of life.      

It is an awful situation at the moment. Let’s hope the situation drastically improves in the near future.

 

Iam very proud that Bangladesh has opened its boarders for the rohinga.

Bangaldesh is a very poor country and needs our support to help look after the refusgees.

 

Thank you for your support with fundraising for this very important cause.

Thank you for listening.

 

Cllr Haque

Bangladesh

Thank you for inviting me here this evening to speak about the dire situation in Bangladesh. Ever since I have been become a local cllr have been advocate and campaigner...

As people are well aware the Borough Council contract with Enterprise/Amey ends on the 3rd June 2018. Seven years ago Northampton Borough Council entered into this contract along with Daventry District Council. It was a very poorly designed contract and has resulted us being a very dirty town with fly tipping, litter and weeds everywhere.

Daventry District Council also had problems with Enterprise/Amey and have been negotiating a new contract. They have a new contract in place ready to start in June 2018. They have gone for the 1-2-3 schedule. A weekly food waste collection, a fortnightly recycle bin collection and a three weekly collection for non-recyclable waste. I also understand they will be charging £35 per year to empty the Green Garden Waste bin. I do not want this for Northampton.

One thing the Labour Group has welcomed from the Tory Administration at the Guildhall is that recyclable waste will now be co-mingled. One bin for ALL recycling rather than putting them into various boxes. Whilst having various boxes for paper, glass, etc the reality is that in bad weather the waste got thrown about all over the place. Labour once suggested lids for them but this suggestion was rejected by the Tories.

The Labour Group have always been very clear that the service should be brought back in house. That is our first preference. We also suggested to the Tory Administration that they consider an Arms Length Company (a company owned by the Borough Council) to run Environmental Services. Again, this was rejected by the Tories.  We keep insisting that the Borough Council put together a small team of officers to work on an in house bid. Again, an idea rejected by the Tories.

When the Tories took the Cabinet decision to look for a new contractor the Labour Group did a “Call-In” and  referred the decision to Overview and Scrutiny. An Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard evidence from all sides including from the Tories and the Labour Group. I am pleased to say that our arguments won the day and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed with us.

After the evidence was heard the Overview and Scrutiny Committee accepted the Call-In on the grounds that -

(i) there is the need for wider consultation;

(ii) the recommendations were ill-informed, based on assumptions regarding costs, before quality;

(iii) the areas of methodology used were flawed;

(iv) the contracting out option had been based on a failing contract.

(2) That there is Overview and Scrutiny involvement in the relevant stages of the process.

However the Cabinet did not accept the recommendations from the Call In.

They set up a Scrutiny working group to look at the process only. Labour Councillors sit on this.   

Initially there were five expressions of interest form private contractors. This has now been whittled down to two. I can confirm that whilst Enterprise/Amey expressed an initial interest they have not been shortlisted to the final two. I understand that the “winner” will be announced in January. The new contract will be for 10 years with an option for a further 10 years. It is very likely that the new contractor will be based at West bridge depot.   

It goes without saying that they next contract must be better than the present one. There needs to be more flexibility in the contract to work with resident associations and parish councils. We have argued that NPH take on looking after their communal areas and  we have won that particular suggestion.

 

Cllr Enam Haque

Shadow Environment Cabinet Member

Update on Environmental Contract

As people are well aware the Borough Council contract with Enterprise/Amey ends on the 3rd June 2018. Seven years ago Northampton Borough Council entered into this contract along with Daventry...

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