09 May 2018

​The leader of Northamptonshire County Council says he is committed to working with borough and district council colleagues on a proposal for unitary governance in Northamptonshire.

Cllr Matthew Golby says he hopes that the eight councils in the county will be able to reach a consensus in order to submit one collaborative proposal to the Secretary of State for consideration.

The Secretary of State instructed the county, borough and district councils to submit proposals for a single tier of local government in Northamptonshire following the publication of the Government’s Best Value Inspection report.

Cllr Golby said: “Unitary governance is one of the most divisive subjects in local government, but I am committed to working closely with my borough and district council colleagues towards developing a proposal that we all support.

“There is a clear commitment from everyone involved that one joint submission, which also has the support of the county’s MPs, is the best approach. This is also the best way to ensure the new councils – however they may look – have the strongest chance of starting on a solid footing with the support of the public.”

Combined proposal

At a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), the county council’s Cabinet agreed for Cllr Golby, cabinet member for local government reform, performance and transformation Cllr Andrew Mercer and acting chief executive Andrew Quincey to begin discussions with all tiers of local government to develop a combined proposal for a new system in Northamptonshire.

The Secretary of State has already advised that a proposal for a single unitary authority covering the whole of Northamptonshire would not be considered, and that the new unitary authorities should have a population of at least 300,000. Northamptonshire’s population is currently over 750,000.

Initial submissions for unitary proposals must be made by Friday 27 July 2018, and the new unitary councils are expected to be created by Parliament in April 2020.