In recent days there has been increasing talk of unitary authorities in Northamptonshire replacing the current two tier structure.
The current structure has been in place since 1st April 1974 but with cuts and financial pressures the time has come for unitary authorities.
Northampton Labour Party has clearly stated it’s aspiration for unitary status in every borough council election manifesto since 1995. Our manifesto last year stated we wanted unitary status for the town. We also want to see the borough boundary expanded slightly to take up housing developments that have been placed immediately on our border like Grange Park and Buckton Fields. All Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) that are on the doorstep of the town should be within the borough boundary.
Cllr Danielle Stone, Leader of the Labour Group, said:
“I fully support unitary status for Northampton with an expansion of the boundary to take up immediate developments like Grange Park and Buckton Fields. This is not a party political point as I’m genuinely pleased see to some Conservatives are pushing for this to happen.
I am in favour of unitary status for Northampton for three main reasons.
First, it gives better accountability, as most people are unclear what local authority provides which particular service. A classic example is Abington Street, which as a public highway comes under the remit of Northamptonshire County Council but yet its street furniture is the domain of Northampton Borough Council.
Second, it would allow for more genuine ‘joined up’ services centred on the resident rather than various partnership boards between the two authorities. I am confident that delivery of big regeneration projects and renewal of local infrastructure would certainly improve being under a single chain of command. Social Services and Housing should be under the same roof.
Third, a Northampton unitary authority would have a bigger budget and therefore have more scope to allocate money to priority areas. I believe the desperate financial situation in local government makes a unitary council more imperative than ever. The County Council is not fit for purpose”