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31.08.18

Council refuses to sign Northamptonshire unitary reform proposals

A defiant council has refused to sign the local government reform proposals that have been green-lit by a Northamptonshire meeting this week.

Corby Borough Council has clarified that plans to create two unitary councils in the region, which were accepted by Northamptonshire councillors on Tuesday, will be submitted to central government without its signature.

The statement came after the borough’s Special Full Council meeting last night, where members voted against the single tier authority proposal.

But despite their resistance, given that more than one other authority within the region has signed the document, it will still be submitted to communities secretary James Brokenshire for consideration.

Corby’s leader, Cllr Tom Beattie, argued it was clear from the council’s consultation that a unitary authority was not an option that the public or the authority itself “willingly wanted to be part of.”

However, accepting that plans would be submitted regardless, he said: “It is now vital that Corby contributes to how these new authorities will form and that we ensure we get the best services, outcome and future for the people of our borough.

“In order for us to be at the table and part of the conversations that will shape Northamptonshire’s future we have agreed to deploy resources required to progress work on the next step.”

The criteria set out by Brokenshire dictate that each new proposed authority must have a population substantially in excess of 300,000; that a single county-wide unitary is explicitly excluded as an option; and that the proposal is based on existing council boundaries.

Only one proposal will be accepted rather than a range of options, and the winning bid must demonstrate a clear path for savings and command “a good deal” of local support.

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