Plan for single 'unitary' Northampton council rejected

Northampton Borough Council.
Image caption Northampton Borough Council had previously said the town should be run by its own "unitary" authority

Northampton Borough Council has voted against its own plan for the town to be run by a single "unitary" authority.

Currently, local services are split between it and the county council, which faces being scrapped after severe financial problems.

A government-appointed inspector recommended the county's eight councils should be replaced by just two.

Northampton Borough Council had insisted the town should go it alone, but its councillors rejected the idea.

It passed a motion in January, which said: "We strongly believe that the best solution for the town is a Northampton unitary authority."

This would have meant one organisation being responsible for all services currently looked after by the borough council, such as bin collections and council houses, and those run by the county council, which includes school admissions and libraries.

A special meeting on Monday night had been called to discuss how to raise awareness of the idea and to sell it to local residents and businesses.

But the plan was defeated by 22 votes against to 18 supporting it.

Image caption A report recommended the county council should be scrapped

Council leader Jonathan Nunn, Conservative, said: "What we weren't sure about was whether the boundary should stay as it is or whether a bigger council could deliver better services, more cost-effectively and we could still protect Northampton."

Danielle Stone, who leads the opposition Labour group, said: "I think we should have been determined to show the other districts and boroughs, MPs and the government how determined Northampton is to preserve its own history, traditions and culture and become its own unitary authority."

The government believes two new unitary authorities should run Northamptonshire's services by 2020 - one covering Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire, and the other covering Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough.

District and borough council leaders have until 27 July to submit a proposal about local government in the county.

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