Last week plans were announced and approved to create a leatherworking centre of excellence in the former Vulcan Works on Guildhall Road.
Whilst Labour support the plan it is important to highlight three main areas of concern.
Cllr Danielle Stone said:
“We have always supported this at the Vulcan works and we welcome good partnership working with the University of Northampton.
This will in part be paid or by the Borough Council either borrowing the money or dipping into reserves. Like some other Northampton Alive projects it seems to be paid for by using the credit card or raiding the savings. At the last cabinet meeting there was a request for money for the restoration of Delapre Abbey and yet again we have another report asking for the authorisation of more money. If the money is borrowed then the interest we would be £175,000K per annum. The report says ‘the council has recently undertaken extensive due diligence on the university of Northampton’s financial position’ – where have we heard that before? There is no limit to how much money the Borough Council will spend on Northampton Alive.
The use of the Vulcan Works of this kind first went to Cabinet in mid 2014, which was two years ago. The small print in the decision to allow this to go forward acknowledges there will be a further nine month delay. I suspect it will be longer than this as the Borough Council finds it hard to keep to timescales.
Having the Leather working Centre in the town centre, next to residential buildings, we have to ask whether safety can be guaranteed as many flammable chemicals are used to make leather and they need to be stored safely and correctly”.