Two new unitary councils will be established in Northamptonshire on 1 April 2021 (Vesting Day), the Government has confirmed.
The North Northamptonshire unitary will cover Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough and the West Northamptonshire unitary will cover Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire. The existing district and borough councils and Northamptonshire County Council will all be abolished.
The Secretary of State James Brokenshire has reviewed all the evidence and representations received, and has now decided that replacing the eight councils with two unitary authorities is in the best interests of the residents of Northamptonshire.
Parliamentary Orders will follow later this year and there will be elections to the Shadow Authorities in May 2020. Shadow Executives for the two unitaries will be selected from those elected and will determine the structure, budget and service delivery models for the new councils.
Services which complement one another but are currently divided between the district, borough and county councils, such as bin collections, waste disposal, planning and roads, will be brought together under each of the two unitary councils.
Leaders of the current authorities said that, now that a decision has been made, the preparations to build a better future for Northamptonshire’s residents and businesses, providing more responsive, innovative services, could continue with certainty.
In a joint comment, the council leaders of Corby Borough Council (Tom Beattie), Daventry District Council (Chris Millar), East Northamptonshire Council (Steven North), Kettering Borough Council (Russell Roberts), Northampton Borough Council (Jonathan Nunn), Northamptonshire County Council (Matt Golby), South Northamptonshire Council (Cllr Ian McCord) and Borough Council of Wellingborough (Martin Griffiths), said:
“We have been working hard towards an anticipated 2020 Vesting Day but that was always going to be a tight timetable to meet if we were going to transform services as well as ensuring that they were safe and legal on that date.
“We therefore welcome the announcement that Vesting Day will be 1st April 2021. That gives us more time to plan carefully and confidently for the future to ensure that we create two sustainable unitary councils that, while being very different in nature, will be exemplars of how to provide excellent services for our residents.”
There will be elections to the Shadow Authorities in May 2020, so those newly-elected councillors will be able to work with officers to design and implement the new councils for several months ahead of Vesting Day.
Leader of the Borough Council of Wellingborough, Cllr Martin Griffiths, added: “We are working closely with our neighbouring authorities Corby, East Northamptonshire and Kettering, in a number of different areas to ensure that we’re able to continually deliver high-quality and value for money services to our residents.
“Our borough is going through a significant period of growth with the delivery of housing, business and employment opportunities, and we will strive to continue to provide prospects for our residents and businesses.
“Now that we have received this decision, and as we move forward and prepare for the establishment of North Northamptonshire Council, we will do our upmost to ensure that residents and businesses are at the forefront of everything we do.”