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Councillors agree next steps towards shadow authority preparations

Published Friday, 06 March 2020

The next steps towards creating a new shadow unitary authority for North Northamptonshire have been agreed by councillors.

At their meeting last night (Thursday, 5 March), Members of the North Northamptonshire Joint Committee endorsed arrangements towards meeting the requirements of the Structural Changes Order (SCO) – the legislation approved by Parliament last month to create two new unitary authorities in Northamptonshire on 1 April 2021.

Councillors agreed plans to appoint an Implementation Team, which is required under the SCO to progress the unitary preparations. They also agreed to use Kettering Conference Centre as an interim venue for the first North Northants Shadow Authority, which must legally meet within 14 days of the unitary elections taking place on 7 May.

On Polling Day, residents in Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough will be asked to elect 78 councillors to the North Northamptonshire Council, who will initially sit on the shadow authority then automatically transfer to the unitary council when it is created in April next year.

At its first meeting, the Shadow Authority must appoint a Leader and an Executive Committee, which must then legally meet within 7 days of the first council meeting. The Joint Committee has approved interim plans to rotate the Executive Committee meetings between civic offices at Swanspool House, Wellingborough, The Corby Cube, East Northamptonshire House in Thrapston and Kettering’s Municipal Offices.

Other accommodation issues, including designating headquarters for the new unitary council, have not been determined.

Chairman of the North Northamptonshire Joint Committee Councillor Martin Griffiths said: “Once the elections have taken place, the timescale for holding the first shadow authority meeting is incredibly tight, so we need to ensure we have everything ready to go, including a suitable venue.

“Having looked at a variety of different venues across the four areas and taking many considerations into account, Kettering Conference Centre is the preferred option as it is centrally located, easily accessible and has ample space to welcome North Northamptonshire residents to this inaugural meeting. Once the shadow authority is formed, they will ultimately determine the location for future council meetings.”

“By rotating the Executive Committee Corby, Thrapston, Kettering and Wellingborough we will be ensuring that key decision-makers have a regular presence across all local areas.”

To find out more about the progress towards unitary preparations in North Northamptonshire, visit futurenorthantsnorth.org