Looking back and looking forward

Opposition Business June 2016

Mr Mayor

I recently had a meeting with the leader of the council. We covered 4 items and agreed on all of them! I am sure the people of the town like to see us all working together where we can.

 And indeed over this last year there are a number of areas of development that we are all agreed on. The first and maybe the biggest is Unitary status for Northampton. This is an idea whose time has come. We need to fight for that together, cross party. We are also agreed that we will become an accredited Living Wage town.  Work still needs to be done to achieve this. We are all agreed that we need a social lettings agency for the town. We look forward to that being operational soon. It’s absolutely great that work on St Edmunds is proceeding and I would like to thank the residents for all their efforts on that one, and thank the officers who have been working so hard behind the scenes to achieve the right result here.

We agreed that NTFC needed to be supported and they were. We are all delighted with their achievements. We have seen this year a closer collaboration between housing and planning. That is very welcome. And we have seen a growing emphasis on enforcement both in social housing and the private sector.

 But there have been other issues. The most difficult is the missing £10.25 million of course. There are still lots of unanswered questions and we want our money back.

The Greyfriars Site still empty

The Chronicle and Echo site still empty.

We wait in vain for the new 100 houses in Dallington.

We lost the Hardingstone SUE appeal and that cost a lot of money.

We are still losing retail from our town centre.

 In this second year  it is our view that the following 8 areas need to be addressed.

  • With Milton Keynes, Leicester and Rushden Lakes having expanding retail centres, Northampton has been squeezed. We must find a distinctive and unique offer.  
  • Get a plan together so we can fully end our unsuccessful venture with LGSS.
  • Start to seriously think about how to address air pollution, land pollution and our own waste management as the Enterprise strategy comes to an end.
  • We need to consider the failings of the County Council and the impact that is having on our residents-on vulnerable families, children and adults. We need to consider the impact on public health and the well-being of people in our town.
  • We need to ensure the success of the Local Plan. I would like to see in the plan strategies that support our planners so they can say no to overdevelopment and inappropriate development. We need to have regard to sufficiency, saturation, cumulative impact, public health and well- being.
  • We need to have a plan to meet the £8 million funding gap that lies ahead of us. We know the administration is planning a council tax increase for next year. This will help us build our base budget- but this is not sufficient.
  • And of course we need to face up to our contribution to the refugees crisis
  • Our biggest issue is housing. We need to build more social housing and affordable housing. We need more adapted homes. We need a better allocations policy.  We need more protections for private tenants. We need to have a more robust strategy for protecting residents from the pressure of too many HIMOS, too many flats, too many cars, too much waste.

 

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