After 47 years, East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) met for the final time on Monday, 22 March before ENC ceases to exist on 31 March and is replaced by the new North Northamptonshire Council.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was held virtually and alongside the usual council business, there were tributes to the work that has been undertaken by ENC across its history as well as speeches from the final Council Chairman, Cllr Helen Howell and Leader of ENC, Cllr Steven North.
The Chairman thanked staff, councillors and all those who have worked with the council. She also remembered those who have died in service and spoke of the tremendous contribution they all made to the district.
The Chairman went on to thank all those who had supported her chosen local charity, First Responders, and announced that over £13,000 has been raised despite not being able to host any of the usual fundraising events due to the health pandemic.
Chief Executive, David Oliver retires from ENC on 31 March and was specially thanked by the Chairman and the leader for his hard work and support during his past 15 years of service.
Cllr North then went on to speak about some of the key successes of East Northamptonshire Council, particularly during his 10 years as leader:
“This council has delivered a huge amount over the past 47 years. In 2012, we gave permission for work to start on the development we now know as Rushden Lakes. It opened in 2017 to deliver local jobs and grow the local economy with a first class retail, leisure and restaurant offer. Thank you to all those involved in our greatest achievement.
“Through our Community Facilities Fund and Member Empowerment Fund, we have used New Homes Bonus funding as intended and have delivered £3m of projects that have improved lives across the district. I have had the joy of visiting most of these community schemes to see for myself the difference this support makes to our towns and villages.
“The East Northants Enterprise Centre is one of our more recent accomplishments with a great business support offer and I hope its success will continue as part of North Northamptonshire. Equally, we have shown tremendous support of our town centres with £2m of improvements and have worked to connect these towns, and some of our villages, with the development of the Greenway footpath and cycle route which now boasts 16 miles of traffic-free travel along the Nene Valley corridor.
“Continuing our encouragement of healthy activity, we have also rolled out a district-wide active lifestyles programme which has seen more people enjoying sport and leisure opportunities on top of the offer from our gyms, swimming pools and sports centres.
“There are many more successes of which we are all very proud and I would like to thank all of our hardworking staff and my fellow councillors, including those who are no longer with us, for their commitment and their support of all that has been achieved. It has been my pleasure to serve as leader and to work with you all."
Members of ENC were then given the opportunity to share their memories and thoughts and a video was played to celebrate ENC’s history.
From 1 April North Northamptonshire Council (NNC), covering the geographical areas previously overseen by ENC, Corby Borough Council, Kettering Borough Council, Borough Council of Wellingborough and some of the services which were managed by Northamptonshire County Council, will come into existence.
For more information, please visit https://beta.northnorthants.gov.uk/