NCC Labour Group Statement
The issuing of a section 114 notice clearly shows that the current conservative administration is not fit to govern this County of ours. We have a failed Conservative administration and a Government that does not seem to care about the effect their decisions are having on our communities. 70% of our financial problems are down to the Government austerity cuts, but the NCC Cabinet have to take responsibility for the other 30% which is down to mismanagement and costly decisions.
This has not happened over night- the Labour Group has been warning about our poor financial state for the last 5 years and moved a vote of no confidence in the cabinet only 3 months ago. Today we are told that this current year’s budget is looking at an overspend of £21.1 million.
We have yet to see the results of the Inspectors report, but it is clear that we cannot go on as we are. The Cabinet should resign and let those with the ability take over. In doing so the primary task should be to make sure we are able to carry out our statutory and safeguarding responsibilities towards children and vulnerable adults and then to put together a sustainable financial plan to bring about financial stability for our County.
In contrast to the County, Labour has shown that we can work in partnership on a win win basis and Corby Borough Council is an excellent example of this, building resilience and serving its community.
Councillor Bob Scott
NCC Labour Group Leader
NCC Labour Group Statement The issuing of a section 114 notice clearly shows that the current conservative administration is not fit to govern this County of ours. We have a...
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.”
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."
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.”
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...
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.
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.
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.
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
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...
More and Better Homes
We cannot deny there is a housing crisis in Northampton. But who is stopping the builds? There is a need for more and better homes in this town and above all we need more better social housing. And it is Labour who will continue to argue for more affordable homes.
This council currently has plans to build only 100 council homes in the town however, Labour Group believes this Council should work towards building 200 Council houses a year in the next 10years to meet demands. The town is growing rapidly and the dwellings should be a combination of single, family and sheltered homes. If we don’t build soon I am worried we will be looking at private landlords to provide all the answers.
Don’t get me wrong there are some excellent landlords but there are also bad ones. We have 4500 families waiting list is on the increase. Lots of people are living in overcrowded situation. Since 2012 NBC have sold close to 500 (490) council homes, in 2017/18 the number sold was 33.
We cannot keep putting people up in emergency accommodation and B&Bs. In May and April 2017, Northampton Borough Council paid £269,095 to house homeless people in bed & breakfasts - compared to £20,000 for the same period in 2013. The answer is build more housing but no one seems to be in a hurry to build, so who is benefiting from the delays?
Who can forget the horrific fire that swept through Glenfell tower block which took more than 80 lives. What worries me is why are those people responsible pointing fingers at one another other, when they all should accept responsibility. This also highlights that Kensington council’s inaction for delaying housing those left homeless. It just goes to show that councils maybe inadequately prepared for such catastrophe.
Then we need to ask the questions, in the 671 Npton blocks how safe do our tenants feel? Do we have our own emergency plan? Have we used the correct materials on our blocks? I am impressed with the quick action of NPH and local fire service for contacting tenants whether by letter or door knocking to provide those assurances. But we must not stop there as lessons must be learned.
Moving on I would like to see this council start the next big major project, by acquiring land and start building Council houses. I would like to see affordable homes, no more overcrowding, and housing register numbers reduced. Our new homes should be affordable and energy efficient homes. I would like to see diversity in those communities and we can achieve this if we all work together to overcome any obstacles and start building.
Conclusion. We need more housing. We need more houses to rent and more affordable homes for home ownership. We need a housing market that meets the needs of a diverse population and that meets needs as they change. We need homes for single people. For young families. For growing families, For older people so they can live independently. We need homes for the learning disabled and for young people leaving care.
We need better homes. Ones that are energy efficient and low cost to run. We need homes that are future proof so we don’t need masses of costly adaptions. We need homes that are near work places and near services so we can cut down on car use and pollution.
More and Better Homes We cannot deny there is a housing crisis in Northampton. But who is stopping the builds? There is a need for more and better homes in...