04 April 2022

A heritage bus parked outside the Guildhall, Northampton

Historic buildings, churches and venues across West Northamptonshire will be open to the public for free from Friday 9 to Sunday 18 September, as part of the national Heritage Open Days event, including exciting events and new campaigns.

The initiative is a once-a-year opportunity to explore some of the area’s unique historic buildings and sites, many of which are usually restricted access or charge for entry, finding out about West Northamptonshire’s vibrant culture and heritage like never before.

Register your site for the Heritage Open Days Brochure

If you want to register your historic site or event for Heritage Open Days and feature in West Northamptonshire Council's promotional printed brochure for free, please email [email protected] for more information.

The deadline for registrations is 6 May 2022.

We will circulate copies far and wide to promote all that is taking place in the area for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Attending attractions and events

Look out for the brochure which will be available this summer - among the sites that have taken part in the past are Northampton's Guildhall and Holy Sepulchre Church, Blisworth's Canal Museum and Daventry Museum.

Many participating venues will be linked up by the much-loved Heritage Bus Service, so visitors can enjoy a free ride on a classic bus, with buses departing from George Row in the town centre. Watch this space for more information as we plan this exciting campaign.

Find out what's happening nationwide on the Heritage Open Days website.


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Local News
75 years of Indian Independence to be marked in West Northamptonshire
August 12, 2022
75 years of Indian Independence to be marked in West Northamptonshire
Culture and tourism 12 August 2022 The 75th anniversary of Indian Independence Day will be celebrated with a flag raising ceremony on Monday, 15th August at 9am, outside the Guildhall on St Giles’ Square in Northampton. The Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, the Mayor of Northampton and representatives of the Northampton Indian-Hindu Welfare Organisation, will be joined by Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, Professor Simon Gregory and Neelam Aggarwal-Singh MBE to raise the Indian flag and commemorate the proclamation of Indian independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947. Councillor André González De Savage, the Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “West Northamptonshire Council is proud to mark this important anniversary in Indian history and all are welcome to join us in observing the flag raising ceremony and celebrating the country’s heritage.” Independence Day is celebrated on 15 August each year as a national holiday in India, to commemorate the nation's independence with flag raising ceremonies, parades and cultural events. Mrs Aggarwal-Singh, who is also the Chair of the Northampton Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, said: “On behalf of the IHWO, I am delighted that this flag raising is taking place in West Northamptonshire. “This will be the first time that the Indian flag is raised in Northampton to mark the country’s Independence Day. It is a moment of great significance for us to be able to do this for our community and a time to celebrate.”
West Northamptonshire parks retain international mark of quality
August 12, 2022
West Northamptonshire parks retain international mark of quality
12 August 2022 Green Flags have been raised above four parks managed by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) this month after they retained the international mark of quality. Daventry Country Park , Abington Park , Bradlaugh Fields and Delapre Park have all retained their Green Flag Awards - recognised as the benchmark for the management of recreational outdoor spaces around the world. Cllr Phil Larratt Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste, said: “The connection between good open spaces and wellbeing is clear and we state the desire for high-quality parks plainly in our corporate priorities. “On behalf of residents I’d like to thank all the people working hard to maintain our parks including council officers, park rangers, contractors, the Community Payback team and the many community volunteers who show real passion and love for their cherished green spaces.” Bradlaugh Fields in Northampton was first given the award in 2006 and again in 2020 and 2021, following a community effort to introduce measures to improve biodiversity and conservation practices at the former golf course. Abington and Delapre parks, also in Northampton, have retained their awards for the ninth and tenth years in a row respectively, recognition of their consistently high standards of upkeep and community involvement. Daventry Country Park has seen extensive improvements to its paths, pier, play area and visitor centre in recent years.
Joint plea to the public as deliberate fire setting increases in the county
August 13, 2022
Joint plea to the public as deliberate fire setting increases in the county
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) and Northamptonshire Police are urging people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to help curb the spate of deliberate fires after a spike in the number of incidents in Northamptonshire over the last few days. Deliberate fires are dangerous at the best of times, but the county’s Fire Service is warning that in the current conditions, and when firefighters are stretched to the limit, it is “potentially putting lives at risk”. NFRS attended 18 deliberate fires over the weekend (August 5-7) and that total has now increased to 51. This anti-social behaviour is reckless, potentially life threatening and is causing widespread damage to land across the county. In this extremely dry, hot weather, what may start as a small fire could rapidly spread causing acres of damage and the potential to affect homes and people’s lives. [embedded content] Andy Evans, Arson Reduction Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are seeing multiple fires being set across the county and we are spending hours attending these reckless incidents. Many of the fires we have already attended have been lit in open spaces, but there is a real risk that these could spread to urban areas and this could have horrific consequences. “Eight fire engines were required at one single incident yesterday which meant we had to move appliances and resources around the county to keep other people safe. Resources are being stretched unnecessarily and these deliberate fires are potentially putting lives at risk. “We are working with police colleagues to prevent deliberate fires being lit and to identify those people responsible. Arson is a crime, and the penalties can be severe for those involved.” If an incident requires an emergency response, please call 999. FireStoppers provides an anonymous way to report anything you know about deliberate firesetting. It’s managed by the independent charity CrimeStoppers. Reports of arson passed to FireStoppers will be investigated. Call 0800 169 5558 or complete the online form at www.firestoppersreport.co.uk if you have any information about deliberate fire setting.
Vulcan Works Walkaround: West Northamptonshire Councillors explore 55,000 square feet of office and workshop space
August 12, 2022
Vulcan Works Walkaround: West Northamptonshire Councillors explore 55,000 square feet of office and workshop space
12 August 2022 Northampton’s revamped Vulcan Works played host to a select group of visitors on Tuesday (09 August). Privy to a tour of the newly refurbished site were Andrew Lewer MP, West Northamptonshire’s councillors, members of the council’s regeneration team, funding partners and operators. They were all were given a guided walkaround of the transformed building, alongside a visionary explanation of what the site will offer local businesses. Originally a Grade II listed ironworks factory, Vulcan Works was built in 1875 for engineering company Mobbs & Co and was later turned into a leather warehouse. It is considered one of the best surviving engineering works for production of boot and shoe industry machinery. The building has been transformed into a mixture of renovation and new build and is located in the area between Guildhall Road, Angel Street, Fetter Street and St John's Street within Northampton's Cultural Quarter. Over the past few years it has undergone a £14 million regeneration project which has involved the refurbishment of the old iron stonework factories along Guildhall Road, the refurbishment of the former museum store and the creation of a new three-storey building on the corner of St John's Street and Fetter Street as well as constructing a new block on Angel Street. The development has created 68 lettable units, including office, studio and managed workshop space specifically aimed at start-ups and growing businesses within the creative industry. Units range from 10m2 to 100m2. South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) facilitated a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6.3 million together with £3.06 million from the European Regional Development Fund. West Northamptonshire Council covered the remaining costs. It is hope that during its first ten years of operation, Vulcan Works will support up to 150 businesses across the county, creating around 500 jobs. A company called Oxford Innovations has been contracted to manage the space, deliver business expertise and raise the finance that entrepreneurs need for their businesses to thrive. Cllr Daniel Lister Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration & Growth, said: “The transformation of the building is remarkable and the design and spec of exceptionally high quality. I am very hopeful for its future in enabling small businesses and start-ups to take that next step along the ladder of success. We have digital and creative arts businesses who are already interested and I have no doubt that the units will fill up very quickly, “We have high level of growth businesses and start-ups in Northamptonshire but unfortunately we also have a really high failure rate, higher than in some areas of the rest of England. This building and the practical support on offer under its roof with will help to address this problem. Not only are we offering high quality office space but it will come with business a support programme including workshops, seminars, 1:1 coaching, networking and facilitation. With proper support, start-ups, scale ups and small businesses will be enabled to maximise and accelerate their growth and fully contribute to Northampton’s business community.” Hilary Chipping, SEMLEP’s Chief Executive added: “We’re delighted to formally open the Vulcan Iron works having watched this project develop over the years. The transformation of the former ironworks adds much more than new, quality business units to the town. This is about nurturing the vibrant entrepreneurial culture so prevalent in Northampton. It has created the space dedicated to helping businesses to share ideas, collaborate and grow. We very much hope that it brings a lot of pride to the town.”
West Northants Council to provide further financial support to pensioners and vulnerable people
August 12, 2022
West Northants Council to provide further financial support to pensioners and vulnerable people
12 August 2022 West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will be providing further financial support to pensioners and vulnerable residents as part of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) extended Household Support Fund . Eligible pensioners will receive a one-off payment of £100.00 in the form of a Post Office Payout voucher (similar to a store voucher) which may be cashed, paid directly into a bank account, or used to pay a utility bill. Pensioners who receive the Pension Credit payment and also are already in receipt of disability payments from the DWP will be able to apply for a top up payment £50 food voucher. Those pensioners eligible for the voucher will receive a letter enabling them to claim the payment from any Post Office branch. To receive the funds all they will need to do is take their letter to their local Post Office, along with official form of identification (further details will be provided in their letter). Councillor Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “We understand how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting people’s lives so it’s really important this second round of government funding goes to those who need it most and it’s great to see these arrangements are in full swing. “Partnering up with the Post Office also enables us to provide pensioners with a flexible form of payment which they can either use towards paying their bills or spending on essentials to help support them this summer. We are working closely with local community and voluntary organisations to ensure we reach households suffering severe financial hardship who may otherwise slip through the net. “Residents do not need to contact the council to apply for this funding unless they are claiming their disability top up payment – all eligible households will instead be contacted and offered support. Residents facing financial difficulties should visit our Cost of Living Support webpage for details of the other support available.”
West Northants joint health partnership shortlisted for award
August 12, 2022
West Northants joint health partnership shortlisted for award
12 August 2022 A major new programme of transformation work driven by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and its Northamptonshire health and care partners has been shortlisted for a prestigious award at this year’s Health Services Journal (HSJ) Awards. Integrated Care Across Northamptonshire (ICAN), which is about supporting more people to live well and stay well at home and brings together the support they need across the NHS, local councils, voluntary and community organisations, has been named as a finalist for Provider Collaboration of the Year. The ICAN Programme’s purpose is to deliver a person focused set of services that help people manage long term health conditions and risks associated with becoming frail or elderly. We are doing this by working with residents and their GPs to help people age well and improve the quality of care in the community as well as ensuring more people return home in a timely way after a stay in hospital. We believe working together we can help people achieve the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes and help them to maintain their independence and resilience for as long as possible. Cllr Matt Golby, WNC’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Wellbeing, and Health Integration, said: “We are delighted that ICAN has been shortlisted for the Provider Collaboration of the Year award. This is an outstanding achievement, and one that truly reflects the ethos of collaborative working across health, social care and voluntary sector partners in Northamptonshire. “As recognised in this shortlisting, the outputs of the ICAN programme to date have already made a huge difference in reducing the likelihood of people being admitted to hospital, as well as helping those with long term conditions or needing crisis support to access the right care at home. “The work of ICAN is a fantastic example of joined-up working to better improve residents’ experience of care they receive and I am thrilled to see such positive improvements already being made. This shortlisting recognises everyone’s hard work and commitment across our health and social care system and we are looking forward to empowering residents further and delivering more positive changes through this programme.” More than 1,000 entries were received for the HSJ Awards 2022, with 219 projects and individuals making it to the final shortlist (from across 162 organisations). Further to this, a key partner organisation of ICAN, Northamptonshire Carers, has been shortlisted for the System Led Support for Carers Award. The full list of nominees for the 2022 HSJ awards can be found at https://awards.hsj.co.uk/ alongside details of the Awards partners; https://awards.hsj.co.uk/partners The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at the Battersea Evolution Centre, London on 17 November 2022.
Consultation events over A5 improvement works
August 09, 2022
Consultation events over A5 improvement works
Roadworks and major highways projects 09 August 2022 Residents across West Northamptonshire are invited to join National Highways public consultation events throughout August and September to find out more about the proposed improvement works along the A5 in Towcester. They are an opportunity to find out more about their proposals and share your views. During the events the project team will outline the proposed options to improve Towcester town centre and answer any questions you may have. The proposed work will include improving: Road safety Parking Traffic volumes Public spaces Signage Consultation events Drop-in events will be held on the following dates. Please just turn up: Wednesday 31 August , from 10am to 7pm at the Sawpits Centre, Towcester (NN12 6FT) Monday 5 September, midday until 7pm at Waitrose Car Park, Richmond Rd, Towcester (NN12 6HZ) Tuesday 6 September , 9am to 2pm at Aldi car park, Old Greens Norton Rd, Towcester (NN12 8AX) National Highways will also be holding online events on Wednesday 17 August and Wednesday 24 August from 7pm to 8.30pm via Microsoft Teams. If you’d like to attend an online session please email: [email protected] and you will be provided with details of how to attend
Advice on staying safe in the heat
August 09, 2022
Advice on staying safe in the heat
Health and safety 09 August 2022 Northamptonshire's Public Health Directors Sally Burns and John Ashton are offering advice to help people stay safe in the heat: Yet again we’re experiencing hot weather in Northamptonshire, in common with much of the country. You may already have noticed the temperature creeping up, which is great news for those of us who love being outdoors and enjoying the warmer weather. This is likely to continue until the weekend so a Heat-Health alert has been put into place as even overnight temperatures are predicted to be very warm. Normally in hot weather temperatures tend to drop overnight giving the body sufficient chance to rest and repair, however this normal process can become a struggle when temperatures don’t drop. It can be unpleasant for any of us, but is a particular issue for those whose underlying health conditions are made worse by heat. There is no denying that high temperatures overnight and in the daytime unfortunately come with health consequences for some people. So we’re asking you please keep an eye on those most vulnerable, particularly those who are older or have lung or heart conditions, as well as children. And to take care of yourself too! Top tips for staying safe in the heat Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated Stay hydrated, take water with you if you are out and about Avoid travelling at peak times if you can, particularly if transporting children, babies, or the elderly. If you have to travel ensure you have enough water with you to allow for any delays due to accidents or breakdowns Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm as this is when UV rays are the strongest - avoid physical exertion at this time If you have to go out in the heat stay in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat Close curtains in rooms that the sun faces - this will help rooms remain cooler - remember it could be cooler outdoors than indoors Never leave anyone in a parked closed vehicle – especially not animals, children or babies Avoid alcohol as it will further dehydrate you, this is because it causes you to both urinate and perspire more than normal Look out for signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and follow some common sense behaviours to make the most of what should be a glorious time for most. Water safety Sadly accidents, often fatal, happen in water at this time of year particularly involving youngsters. That’s why we’re asking parents to supervise their children in and around water. Although it can be fun to cool off in water structures such as bridges, locks and flood channels, and reservoirs and quarries should be avoided. Make sure you know the RNLI’s Float to Live advice Unexpectedly cold water or strong currents can catch even experienced swimmers off guard. Better to swim safely at one of the county’s organised events where support is provided
Northamptonshire councils march forward with commitment to armed forces
August 09, 2022
Northamptonshire councils march forward with commitment to armed forces
09 August 2022 Less than a year after achieving bronze status in the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) have both been awarded silver status. The ERS silver award is the second step in a constant improvement programme which makes it easier for reservists to find flexible employers and improves employment pathways between the forces and the private and public sectors. After the initial bronze award in December 2021 which recognised both councils’ openness to employing reservists, veterans and anyone connected to the forces, both have since put in place policies which allow reservists to carry out their military commitments. Cllr Matt Binley, NNC’s AFC Member Champion and Executive Member for Housing, Communities and Levelling Up, said: “I am so pleased that after less than a year both councils have been awarded silver status, which clearly demonstrates the work we have been doing across the county to help and support those in the Armed Forces, as well as veterans. “A career in the military provides a wide range of skills and experience which can easily be transferred to the roles here at the council and we are committed to continuing to support and work alongside more members of the Armed Forces family in the future.” Cllr David Smith, WNC’s AFC Member Champion and Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement, said: “As a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, this council is committed to supporting members of the armed forces community – those currently serving, reservists, veterans and family members. “I believe our rapid progression to the next stage of the ERS shows that this council is leading it’s community and I would urge all employers in West Northants to join us in the scheme and help deliver on the shared duty of care to members of the armed forces community.” 2022 marks the ninth year of the Awards scheme. In addition to these 44 Silver winners, the East Midlands region also had a record 18 Gold Awards this year. To achieve gold status in the ERS the council must show it has committed to taking on those leaving the services via the Careers Transitions Programme and have registered for the Forces Family Portal. Both councils offer a range of support for serving personnel, veterans and their families which could include support with finance , housing and employment and education . For more information, visit - www.afcnorthamptonshire.co.uk .
Visitors with special needs and disabilities set to gain sporting access with help from Council grant
August 08, 2022
Visitors with special needs and disabilities set to gain sporting access with help from Council grant
08 August 2022 Up to 1,600 adults and children with special educational needs and disabilities will have proper access to join in sports and activities thanks to a funding award from West Northamptonshire Council. The council has announced it is awarding a £40,000 Changing Places Grant to Sport4Fitness at Fernie Fields in Northampton which will go towards a new bespoke changing places facility. Sport4Fitness is a Community Interest Company providing multi-sport activities to children and young people with disabilities and special needs as well as supporting their parents, carers and siblings. Their ethos is their activities can be ‘achieved by everyone and affordable to all.’ The tailored facility i s for those with multiple and complex disabilities and specially designed to meet the needs of people for whom ‘standard’ accessible toilets are insufficient. It will be built to the recognised standards of what is known as a Changing Place Toilet (CPT). These include a ceiling hoist capable of moving a large adult, shower, disability toilet, sink, changing table and sufficient space for up to three adult carers to be able to assist and where necessary. The Fernie Fields site is widely used and open seven days a week. Providing further funding can be raised, the facility will hopefully be ready by March 2023. The full cost of the building work and installation of the toilet is estimated to be to be £90,000. Sport4Fitness has raised a total of £18,000 towards the work so far and are looking to raise the remaining £32,000 through continued fundraising activities. The cost of the wider project including landscaping, storage, access paths, parking and fit out will be £120,000. Sport4Fitness currently has additional pledges of support and are continuing their fundraising efforts. Cllr Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Wellbeing, and Health Integration , said: “Sport4Fitness a makes a valuable contribution to disability sport in West Northamptonshire. They work with many organisations and charities who now use the facilities on a regular basis, these include Action for Children, Northamptonshire Children’s’ Trust, MENCAP, Autism East Midlands, ACE, Young Carers and Northampton’s own Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists; Born to Perform. “The current lack of accessible toilet of this kind on the site certainly prevents some of those in the community, needing the use these facilities from attending. Clear example of this is some of the SEND schools and those who teach life skills to young adults. They sometimes choose not to bring a class rather than further isolate those with a profound disability, this is solely due to the lack of this type of facility. They are working towards becoming a centre of excellence for disability, and for this to happen it is essential for this work to happen.” Mark Flaxman, Director and sports coach at Sports4 Fitness, said: “We are very excited about the whole project and looking to commence this project in September. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all contributors to the project so far. However, we are still not quite there and urge businesses and individuals in the community to pledge their support with any remaining funding.”
West Northants Council & DWP to hold Refugee Employment Support event
August 08, 2022
West Northants Council & DWP to hold Refugee Employment Support event
08 August 2022 West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will be delivering a Refugee Employment Support event in partnership with DWP on Monday, 15 August at Northampton Central Library. The event will take place between 2.30pm and 5pm, and be attended by local employers and support providers including Futures For You and Travis Perkins. A variety of free help and support will be provided, as well as live vacancies together with English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) support. Other services available on the day include: Professional translators to support customers with interviews One to one career support Help with employability skills A childcare expert to discuss childcare options Vacancies from local employers A chance to discuss education and study options Cllr Daniel Lister, WNC Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Town Centre Regeneration, said: “A job is about more than simply making a living and gaining financial independence, it’s a chance to make friends, be a part of the community and fully contribute to UK society – all with a new sense of purpose and identity. “We want to help everyone in our community to secure local, sustainable employment. Refugees have a positive and direct impact on the community, and we are dedicated to supporting them while navigating through prospective employment and training so they can find a job that is right for them. “I am pleased that we are able to work collaboratively to combine our efforts to be as supportive as possible to those looking to seek employment in West Northants from other countries. The WNC Economy Team deliver our West Northamptonshire Employment Support Service to help every resident access free, quality support to secure local employment and enable local employers to fill their vacancies with the skilled local workforce.” The event follows ongoing work and support available to refugees in West Northamptonshire, whose communities have welcomed hundreds of individuals and families fleeing persecution from places including the Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria. Paul Gisbey, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) District Manager for Leicester and Northants said “In working with Afghanistan and Ukrainian customers we have seen the generosity and kindness the people of Northamptonshire have shown them. Within DWP we are committed to supporting them, when they are seeking financial assistance, and also in providing them employment opportunities. This event is the latest example of that support with West Northants Council, local employers and providers working closely with us to make it a great success. We are immensely grateful to them all” Recent data from the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) shows that West Northants has accepted 727 UK visa applications so far, and is the 34th largest recipient of 150 Council areas. If you are a local employer who would like to be involved in supporting refugees to access employment, or would like the support of the WNC Economy Team, please contact [email protected] . Recruitment event DWP Northampton are hosting a separate Recruitment Event to support their customers and local employers on Wednesday 17 August, from 10am to midday . For more information, please speak to your Work Coach. All residents in West Northamptonshire can benefit from the WNC free Employment Support Service . Businesses can also access WNC’s free business support
West Northamptonshire celebrates 60 years of Jamaican Independence
August 04, 2022
West Northamptonshire celebrates 60 years of Jamaican Independence
Culture and tourism 04 August 2022 The 60th anniversary of Jamaican Independence Day will be celebrated with a flag raising ceremony on Saturday, 6th August at 11am, outside the Sessions House on George Row in Northampton. Representatives from West Northamptonshire Council, Northampton Town Council, the Northampton Black History Association and Windrush Association will be joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, Mrs. Morcea Walker MBE, to raise the Jamaican Cross and commemorate the proclamation of Jamaican independence from the United Kingdom on August 6, 1962. Councillor André Gonzalez De Savage, the Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “West Northamptonshire Council is proud to mark this important anniversary in Jamaican history and culture and all are welcome to observe the flag raising ceremony. “Community groups and organisations can apply to raise their flags at the councils’ offices to mark official anniversaries and events and our flag protocol provides more information about this.” Jamaican Independence Day is a public holiday widely celebrated throughout the Caribbean island. It is marked with official ceremonies, parades, folk music, dances, and festivals. Councillor Dennis Meredith, the Mayor of Northampton, said: “We are incredibly excited to participate in this year’s festivities for Jamaican Independence Day – recognising 60 years of Jamaican Independence and joining Jamaicans here in Northampton and all over the world in celebrating their heritage.” Further details about the West Northamptonshire Council Flag Protocol can be found on the council’s website.
Join free emergency services fun day in Daventry
August 04, 2022
Join free emergency services fun day in Daventry
Community, safety and emergencies 04 August 2022 Visitors of all ages can enjoy a day of entertainment and demonstrations at an emergency services day in Daventry next week. The Emergency Services Fun Day takes place at Danetre and Southbrook Learning Village in Hawke Road (NN11 4LJ) between 10am and 2pm on Wednesday 10 August. Visitors can enjoy a range of fun activities, from battling in sumo suits, to having a go at hockey, or viewing demonstrations by emergency services. There will be stalls and games, free refreshments, and a chance to see police and fire vehicles up-close. The event has been organised by West Northants Community Safety Partnership under the Daventry Operation Unite banner, which includes Northamptonshire Police, West Northamptonshire Council, Daventry Town Council, Cummins, DSLV and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. There will be stands offering information on Northamptonshire Police's Blue Butterfly project and bike marking scheme, as well as from a range of other organisations, including RE-Solve, the Emergency Service Cadets, GYM (Guiding Young Minds), Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service, Mind, Daventry Leisure Centre, Community First Responders, local housing associations and many more. Councillor David Smith, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services on West Northamptonshire Council, said: “The aim of the event is to provide members of the community with an opportunity to find out more about the work of our Community Safety Partnership and chat to members of our emergency services. “There are lots of fun, free activities for people to get involved in, so it's great for families who are looking for an affordable way to keep children entertained during the school summer holidays, but of course it's also an excellent opportunity for us to meet and engage with local residents, and showcase the range of support that is on offer from organisations across West Northants.”
New electric vehicle charge points installed
August 05, 2022
New electric vehicle charge points installed
05 August 2022 New electric vehicle charge points have been installed as part of West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) ongoing work to support more sustainable modes of transport. Developed in partnership with Connected Kerb with help from a grant from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), the scheme has seen new charge points provided at Newlands Car Park in Daventry, and in West Street in Welford. The two new chargers in Daventry can cater for up to four vehicles at a time, while the new unit in Welford offers two charging bays. They are Connected Kerb’s Gecko 7kW Fast Chargers, which can fully charge a car from empty to 80% in 3-4 hours. Both locations were chosen after receiving support during a public consultation. Connected Kerb is entirely responsible for the charging infrastructure’s operation and maintenance, leaving WNC with no liabilities associated with infrastructure, power or maintenance. The charge points help the Council support the UK Government target to ensure a transition from fossil fuels to electric power by 2030, when the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned. They also support the Council’s Sustainable West Northants initiative, as part of which it has pledged to net zero its own emissions by 2030 and those of residents and businesses by 2045. The ORCS grant is a scheme available to local authorities to provide EV charging infrastructure to areas lacking off-street parking, a key barrier to preventing people transitioning to an EV. The grant has provided £17,310 towards the project with Connected Kerb providing a further contribution, meaning the project has been delivered at minimal expense to the Council. Councillor Dr Martin Gorrod, Chairman of Welford Parish Council, said: “We are pleased to support village environmental groups, parishioners’ and WNC’s Sustainable West Northants initiative in addressing environmental issues and encouraging the move to lower emission vehicles by enabling EV owners to be able to charge their vehicles in rural and remote areas of the county. “This charging point will also encourage and enable parishioners who are unable to charge an EV at their home address to use this public facility. We also look forward to welcoming visitors to the village to use the charge points while they enjoy the village and its amenities and also take in the countryside walks.” This scheme follows the launch in February this year of 56 new electric vehicle charging bays across the county, as part of a partnership between WNC, North Northamptonshire Council, and Liberty Charge. Councillor Phil Larratt, WNC’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Highways, Transport and Waste, said: “Electric vehicle technology is improving all the time, but the infrastructure must be in place in order to persuade people to make the switch from petrol or diesel engines. That’s why we’re keen to work with communities and EV infrastructure providers to install more charge points in towns and villages across West Northamptonshire. “Of course there is still work to do, but we are making pleasing progress in our vision to be carbon neutral by 2030, and on our commitment to make the transition to a sustainable West Northamptonshire a reality.”
Northampton part of bid to host FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup
August 03, 2022
Northampton part of bid to host FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup
Health, leisure and parks 03 August 2022 The national bid to host the 2026 FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup promises a third of matches will take place at venues outside London including the cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens. England Hockey and Hockey Wales confirmed details of their bid this week and hope 2026 will be the biggest Men’s Hockey World Cup so far, with 300,000 tickets available and a final set to take place at the iconic Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The hockey community and sports fans across the UK (and beyond) are being invited to show their support and excitement for the event and can Back The Bid on the England Hockey website Cllr Greg Lunn, West Northamptonshire Council’s assistant Cabinet Member for sport and leisure, said: “Franklins Gardens is well known for rugby, but with five lady’s teams, seven men’s teams, a mixed team and a host of junior teams, the Northampton Saints hockey club is also the biggest hockey club in the county and one of the biggest in the Midlands. We also have a wealth of other top hockey clubs in and around the county. “Just look at the massive success of the ladies' euros venues such as Wigan & Leigh, and Rotherham showing the bigger stadiums and the world how to engage with communities and opening the possibility for everyone to play ladies' football. This is something Northampton is keen to emulate with hockey. We know with our great stadium and help from our hockey clubs we can show our communities that hockey is for everyone, at any age, from any background. “The council’s corporate priority for improving life chances includes providing healthy opportunities for all and to increase the aspirations for our young people to follow any path no matter where they’re from. “I hope bringing the world’s top-flight hockey players to Northampton will not only be an inspiration to the next generation but will also put the town on the map for a new group of international visitors, giving short- and long-term economic boosts.” Inclusivity and accessibility will be at the heart of the event and will include a social impact programme which will benefit the breadth of the hockey community and host communities alike. England Hockey Chief Executive Nick Pink and Hockey Wales Chief Executive Ria Burgage Male said: “All of us within the sport know how amazing hockey is, and by hosting a world cup on home soil, at Cardiff Arms Park, cinch Stadium Franklin’s Gardens, Twickenham Stoop and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, we would create the opportunity to take hockey to new fans and new cities. “The event showcases the best the sport has to offer on the pitch, and also creates a platform to build a lasting social impact through the sport across the UK.” “With the Commonwealth Games currently taking place in Birmingham we’ve seen great support for international hockey. “We’d like to encourage the hockey community to Back The Bid; your support is absolutely essential to our bid and how we can deliver the most impactful hockey event ever seen on these shores.” Zach Wallace, captain of England men’s hockey team, and Rupert Shipperley, captain of Wales men’s hockey team said: “The prospect of playing in a men’s World Cup on home soil is incredible and all of us in our squads are hugely excited about what may lie ahead. “The four stadia that are being proposed are truly inspirational, and on top of that the event can leave a lasting legacy for the entire sport, helping boys and girls from all backgrounds to see hockey for the amazing, welcoming game it is.” The initial bid submission was made in May and the FIH are scheduled to make a final decision in November of this year. The last men’s Hockey World Cup in England took place in 1986, while in 2018 London hosted the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, at the time the biggest standalone female sporting event the country had ever seen.
New “Explore West Northants” app to boost local economy and tourism
August 03, 2022
New “Explore West Northants” app to boost local economy and tourism
Culture and tourism 03 August 2022 We are introducing a new mobile app encouraging people to explore West Northamptonshire and find out what’s on offer. The app will showcase everything that makes West Northants such a quality place, right in the palms of people’s hands, enabling them to: Gain access to a huge variety of local deals, offers and discounts Explore what’s going on in the area with a live events calendar and easy-to-access information about local attractions Find hidden gems and purchase their favourite products Fuel their spirit to explore the market towns and rich heritage right on their doorstep Grow the local economy by supporting independent businesses and attractions, benefiting everyone in the community. Councillor Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and growth, said: “Keeping people connected to the places they live, work and visit is a fantastic way to ensure that local businesses and attractions grow and thrive. “West Northants has the perfect combination of rural and urban offers and ExploreWN is going to showcase the many reasons to visit. “We are dedicated to supporting local employers and growing our economy, and ExploreWN is going to be a strong tool to deliver this.” Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure said “ExploreWN is the perfect platform to showcase our area’s rich cultural heritage, along with the many, many things to enjoy and discover. “It will allow people to plan family days out and explore the wealth of attractions from museums, art galleries and theatres to grand stately homes.” Find out more and download the app on our website If you represent a business or attractions you can also sign up to promote yourself
Summer programme of surface dressing set to get underway
August 01, 2022
Summer programme of surface dressing set to get underway
01 August 2022 An extensive programme of ‘surface dressing’ road repairs are set to get underway across West Northamptonshire. The work - which runs from today (Monday 1 August) through to Friday 9 September, weather dependant – is being carried out on behalf of West Northamptonshire Council and provides a cost-effective way of preserving and extending the life of highways in the area. Surface dressing involves bitumen being sprayed on to the road surface and overlaid by chippings which are rolled on to the surface. When the bitumen cools it sets and holds the chippings to the surface of the road. The carriageway is safe to drive on following application of the chippings. A mandatory speed limit of 20mph is put in place for the first few days, whilst the chippings bed in and to, reduce the risk of damage from loose chippings and for the safety of the public. People are advised to drive slowly, keeping their distance, and to avoid turning or braking sharply. Motorists should also not overtake at any time. Loose chippings are swept away within 24 hours of the initial dressing, and again within five days. A heavy roller is used after initial treatment and the surface is usually fully embedded after around a week, due to the action of traffic moving across it. Although the programme runs through into September the surface dressing treatment will take please in August. Following the treatment roads will be swept twice and road studs and markings will be reinstated. Where surface dressing is scheduled in residential areas, people will receive a letter through their door notifying them of when the work will take place at least two days in advance and asking them to move their vehicles off roads and paths. Advisory signs will also be placed in the streets giving times and dates of the work. Vehicles whose presence is preventing or hindering the works taking place may be relocated to a nearby street. This will be carried out by an approved contractor and vehicles will be moved within the vicinity, with signs located on the street providing information. Weather can impact the programme and dates may change, with people advised to check the on-site signs for the latest information and also go online at kierwsp.co.uk/news where updates will be published. The latest information about highway works on the network can also be found at the One Network website. More information about the surface dressing programme, the process and who to contact see the Kier website . Updates will also be posted on Twitter @nnhighways
International Youth Day celebrations held at Northampton’s Racecourse this month
August 01, 2022
International Youth Day celebrations held at Northampton’s Racecourse this month
01 August 2022 Northampton’s Youth Forum is inviting local young people to a free event at Northampton Racecourse on Friday 12 August in celebration of International Youth Day. A range of information and advice, entertainment and activities will be available throughout the day, as the Youth Forum promotes this year’s theme of Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages. Activities and discussions will take place between midday and 4pm, giving attendees the chance to get involved in a range of events including three by three basketball, outdoor games and a ‘Lemon Pop,' or creative self-development, workshop. The Youth Forum will also take over West Northants’ Council’s social media channels on the day so they will be putting out content and key messages throughout proceedings. The event will also offer the opportunity for discussions around creating a Youth Parliament for West Northamptonshire with proposals explored as to how exactly young people across the area can have a voice in deciding what they want to see and happen in the town. Further Youth Parliament engagement sessions with take place at Daventry Council Chamber on Monday 15 August and at Towcester Council Chamber on Tuesday 16 August between 10 and 2pm. Local organisations such as Free 2 Talk, Northants Police, Northampton Association of Youth Clubs, Lowdown, CIRV and the Northampton Basketball Association will also be on hand to provide information and advice about education, careers, health, drugs and alcohol and personal safety. “International Youth Days are held across the globe and are designed to empower young people to participate in public life so that they are prepared and equipped to contribute to society. “This year’s theme is ‘Intergenerational solidarity’ so we will be trying to provide opportunities for young people to have conversations/skill swap with people from older generations during the event with a human library courtesy of ‘The Northamptonshire Black History Association’. “This year we have also focused on working with partners to provide a safe space for our local young people to come together and engage in a range of activities related to their diverse needs and interests. And we encourage everyone to come along and take part in the day.” Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Engagement, and Regulatory Services Endorsed by the United Nations in 1999 after a recommendation was made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, the first International Youth Day took place in the summer of 2000.
Message from the Directors of Public Health in North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire
July 29, 2022
Message from the Directors of Public Health in North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire
29 July 2022 Last week’s messaging focused on young people getting out and about and active so we thought that this week we would focus on supporting our young people to have a safe summer break. As well as physical health and activity it’s really important to talk about mental health. Our young people have dealt with a series of changes for over two years - to their education, leisure time, to their ability to socialise with their peers or see extended family. Many have shown amazing resilience, but others have understandably struggled and may need additional support over the summer holidays. For youngsters aged 11-18 needing support with their mental health drop-in services are available across Northamptonshire through the Espresso Yourself Cafes. They provide a listening ear for young people who find themselves needing support with services including support and advice, wellbeing activities and peer support. Young people can book an appointment by calling the numbers provided or just drop in during the opening times. For those who cannot attend remote options are available too. Monday & Friday 4pm - 8pm the lowdown, 3 Kingswell Street, Northampton, NN1 1PP - 01604 634385 Tuesday 4pm - 8pm Youth Works at Corby Mind, 18 Argyll St, Corby, NN17 1RU - 01536 518339 Wednesday 4pm - 8pm CHAT Youth Counselling, Souster Youth Building, 30 Market Road, Thrapston, NN14 4JU - 01832 274422 Thursday 4pm - 8pm Youth Works, 97 Rockingham Rd, Kettering, NN16 9HX - 01536 518339 Saturday 10am - 2pm Service Six, 15 Sassoon Mews, Wellingborough NN8 3LT - 01933 277520 Saturday 12pm - 4pm Time 2 Talk, The Abbey, Market Square, Daventry, NN11 4XG - 01327 706706 There is also a drop in for 19–25-year-olds offering a confidential, non-judgemental space for young people to gain mental health advice, coping strategies and support. This support is either face-to-face at the lowdown, 3 Kingswell Street, Northampton NN1 1PP or young people in Northamptonshire can connect remotely via video call or phone. Drop in between 4-8pm on Mondays or call 01604 634385 to book an appointment. We also support our young Northamptonshire residents who are going out with friends this summer, heading to festivals with their mates, or on holiday with them. Aquarius, who run our drug and alcohol services for children and young people in Northamptonshire (from 10-18 years) is running a special summer campaign where they’re sharing advice and guidance about staying safe, so young people can find out information about different types of drugs, what their influence is on the body, and about who to go to for support. The campaign, running on their social media channels Aquarius Young People Instagram , Aquarius Twitter and Aquarius Facebook is aimed at providing advice so that young people know what to do if they find themselves in a situation this Summer, so they know who to call for help calling 999 in an emergency and how to support mates if they’re in danger . There are also Aquarius Summer Guides on Getting Help , Staying Safe and Taking Drugs as well as a Summer Top Tips Guide . Their Young People Services in Northamptonshire – NGAGE also provides a free and confidential space to talk if youngsters have questions about the impact of alcohol or drugs, or if they’re worried about a family member or carers substance use. NGAGE covers the whole county, and has dedicated workers for Northampton, Kettering, Corby, Daventry, Wellingborough, South Northamptonshire and East Northamptonshire. As well as ensuring our young people have access to information and support around drugs and alcohol we must also talk about water safety. We know that young people in Northamptonshire have been out and about having fun in water, particularly during the recent heatwave. Sadly accidents, often fatal, happen in water at this time of year and they often involve young people. That’s why we’re asking parents to please supervise their children in and around water and to make sure they know the risks. It can be great fun to cool off in water, however structures such as bridges, locks and flood channels, as well as reservoirs and quarries, should be avoided. Unexpectedly cold water or strong currents can catch even experienced swimmers off guard so we’re asking again that parents and guardians m ake sure that their youngsters are aware of the RNLI’s Float to Live so they know what to do if they get into difficulty in the water. Watching the video has already saved lives.
Message from the Directors of Public Health in North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire
July 27, 2022
Message from the Directors of Public Health in North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire
Coronavirus (COVID-19) 27 July 2022 COVID-19 rates are rising both in North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire and we are particularly concerned about rates in the over 60s population and pressures on our health services. As it’s the Summer holidays there is likely to be increased mixing which unfortunately translates to additional COVID-19 cases when it is in high circulation in the local population. This means that when outbreaks occur now, and they are increasing, they are generally driven by cases originally in the community. We call this community transmission driven rather than being location based such as hospitals, care homes, or workplaces as was frequently seen earlier in the pandemic. So we need you all to be extra careful around others, particularly those who are vulnerable. Although we are in period of the Government’s Living Safely with Covid we do need to take sensible precautions to ensure that rates can be controlled. We have a duty to advise Northamptonshire residents of these measures, including a strong recommendation as directors of public health to return to mask wearing for those who have stopped doing so. In Northamptonshire we are seeing a system wide return to mask wearing within all NHS hospitals, GP practices, dentists and other health settings. Staff, outpatients and visitors are requested to wear masks in response to the high levels in the county, to protect inpatients and help control staff sickness rates while COVID-19 is in such wide community circulation. This is a decision which has been taken by many healthcare systems elsewhere in the UK. Our advice is that face coverings be worn by care home visitors as we need to particularly protect this vulnerable part of our population. Care home staff have been wearing masks throughout the pandemic so far and will continue to do so. We are also strongly recommending face coverings are worn in all crowded places where distance cannot be easily kept. This is because in times where there is a high case rate, such as the present, mutations to COVID-19 are more likely to occur with the potential of even more variants in circulation. Although not likely to be popular we believe that this is sensible and proportionate behaviour to strongly recommend and hope that Northamptonshire residents can understand and support this stance. Other important measures include ventilation of spaces or meeting up outdoors, staying at home if unwell, and regular handwashing. It’s vitally important to remember the basics of good hygiene. Following these rules will help protect you and others too from COVID-19 as well as many other common infections. Coughing and sneezing increase the number of particles released by a person as well as the distance those particles travel and the time they stay in the air. An infected person who coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth or nose significantly increases the risk of infecting others around them. Covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing reduces the spread of particles carrying a virus. So cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough using a disposable tissue Dispose of the used tissue in a bin as soon as you can and wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitiser. If you don’t have a tissue sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow not into your hand. Sanitising your hands is a good temporary measure after coughing or sneezing but should only be used as a short-term alternative to thoroughly washing your hands. Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds kills most germs, including those responsible for sickness bugs like norovirus which aren’t killed by sanitiser. How to wash your hands - NHS (www.nhs.uk) .
Work on Northampton’s Market Square to start in new year
July 27, 2022
Work on Northampton’s Market Square to start in new year
Delivering growth 27 July 2022 Traders will have an undisturbed Christmas after the decision was taken not to start work on the redevelopment of Northampton’s Market Square until the new year. Once complete, the work will deliver a major new water feature, additional trees, new paving and public seating, redesigned market stalls and a new lighting scheme. Relocation of the market to Commercial Street is necessary as construction work, additional traffic, noise, dust and disturbance make it impractical to keep it on the square during the redevelopment. Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration, and Growth said: “We’ve listened to what a range of traders – both from the market and surrounding businesses – have told us and we’ve decided that work should start after Christmas. "This will give everyone some stability at one of their busiest times of year, before we commence work on the extensive redevelopment of Market Square. "The improvements we have planned will undoubtedly cause disruption, but we’ll continue working with traders to minimise the impact on their businesses. "Once the work is complete, I know people will be extremely impressed with the new space we’re going to deliver for them. "Alongside the enhancements we’re also providing in Abington Street and Fish Street, and all of the other projects we have in the pipeline, Northampton town centre is set for a renaissance." The new-look Market Square will be available for use for a variety of events, as well as being a catalyst in attracting new businesses and opportunities to the town. A number of potential options for moving the market were considered, including a variety of locations in Abington Street, Wood Hill, the Grosvenor Shopping centre. Commercial Street was the only option which allowed the entire market to remain together as splitting it up would have resulted in lower footfall to the separate sites, which the council believes would impact on its long-term sustainability. The council will continue to help promote the market in the lead-up to and after its move to Commercial Street next year.
Artist Jim Moir, AKA Vic Reeves, opens his own exhibition at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery
July 26, 2022
Artist Jim Moir, AKA Vic Reeves, opens his own exhibition at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery
26 July 2022 Artist and comedian Jim Moir was in Northampton on Friday to open his exclusive new art exhibition entitled ‘Daisies, Romans, Ones and Twos.’ Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, the home of the largest collection of shoes in the world, hosted Jim, AKA Vic Reeves, and his wife Nancy Sorrell as they welcomed guests to experience a unique preview. As well as the works created specifically for Northampton, focusing on shoes, the exhibition also features his well-regarded bird artworks as well as more surreal and humorous pieces. The free exhibition, ‘Daisies, Romans, Ones and Twos’, is named as such because Jim, loves cockney rhyming slang. He explained that his wife and in laws are from the East end of London and they often talk in the dialect. He said: “Daisies is for ‘Daisy roots or boots, Romans for Roman candles or sandals and ones and twos for shoes.” At the newly refurbished Central Hall, the accomplished artist and well-known comedian, who has loved shoes since he was a boy and whose favourite shoe is a working man’s boot or a brothel creeper, talked through various pieces, including a number of different types of shoes in watercolours. He explained how he and his agent approached the museum to host his collection because of his love of shoes and his fascination with the large collection housed there. The gallery welcomed the suggestion and turned around the idea to exhibition in a matter of weeks. Jim Moir said: “It’s absolutely magnificent that the museum has set up and hung the art so brilliantly and quickly. It’s a dream come true. I have always wanted to come to the shoe museum. I was talking to my agent and said I have been painting shoes and I fancy going to the shoe museum to have a look for some more ideas. “We then said why don’t we do a show or put up a few paintings there, and bingo! As quick as you like here we are in! It’s fantastic and it’s a great place.” His message to potential visitors to the museum was: “Come and have a look at this fantastic shoe collection here and when you have done that, have a look at some of the shoes I have painted. Everyone wears shoes. Most people have a car and there is not a lot of difference between a car and a pair of shoes. You get in it and you travel and then look good. If it’s a good looking car or a bad looking car you can reinterpret it as a shoe.” "We are absolutely delighted that Jim Moir chose the museum to exhibit his work and we would encourage other artists to come forward with ideas if they have an exhibition in mind. We want to put Northampton on the map; in the minds of artists and art lovers alike.” Councillor Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Cabinet Member for housing, culture and leisure All of the works in the exhibition are for sale.
Significant progress in how Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service keeps the county safe
July 27, 2022
Significant progress in how Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service keeps the county safe
Ratings for efficiency and effectiveness move to good from requires improvement More work to do on ‘People’ area, which requires improvement Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has been commended for the improvements that it has made in keeping the county safe, in its second inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services. A full inspection of the service was carried out earlier this year. In a report published today (Wednesday 27 July), the Inspectors say that they are “pleased to see the service has made significant progress since the 2018 inspection in how effectively and efficiently it keeps people safe and secure from fires and other risks.” The inspection looks in detail at work across three categories – effectiveness, efficiency, and people. The inspection found that there had been major improvements in the Service’s effectiveness at responding to and preventing fires and protecting the public through regulation. These areas of work were individually graded as ‘Good’, and the Service received a ‘Good’ grading across the board for its operational effectiveness. Efficiency, making the best use of resources and having a robust plan to manage its finances well into the future, also received a ‘Good’ rating overall from the Inspectors. These areas had been graded as requires improvement in the previous inspection in late 2018. Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey and Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold praised the work of firefighters and staff, which they said has clearly resulted in an improved service to the people of Northamptonshire. They also acknowledged that there is more work to do in the ‘People’ area, however, where the HMICFRS graded Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service as ‘requires improvement’. The ‘People’ area looks at work such as promoting the right values, ensuring fairness, and encouraging diversity. HMICFRS found that improvement is needed in each of these areas. They noted, however, that the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service leadership team is showing “strong strategic intent” to push forward in this area of work. HMICFRS praised the Service’s improvement and overall direction, saying that they “commend the service on the changes it has made and expect it to continue to resolve the further areas for improvement we have identified.” Darren Dovey, Chief Fire Officer of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “I am pleased that the fantastic efforts of our firefighters and staff have had an impact and resulted in such a significant improvement. It’s testament to how hard we have worked that this Service is now judged as good across the board in the services that keep the public safe. “The last three years have not been easy but now we can see that our hard work is showing results. I want to thank the firefighters and staff of this service, who have taken us from strength to strength, working to make improvements against a challenging financial background and at the same time as dealing with and supporting other services through the pandemic. “Moving to the governance of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has been central to our improvement, giving us stability and independence and the support of his office, including fighting for increased funding, has allowed us to reach a stable financial position and to make the investments we need to modernise. “Our performance has come a long way, but now I will be challenging everyone to put the same energy into improving the culture of our organisation to make Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service the most supportive place to work, where everyone can be themselves and give their best.” Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I am very pleased that the independent assessment from HMICFRS confirms what I believed was the case – that Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is providing a much-improved service in the way they keep the county safe. “During the extraordinary heatwave last week, we saw our firefighters and staff working hard in very challenging situations and I know that people join me in thanking them. They should be proud of how much they have improved, and I always believed that moving under my governance, with increased opportunities for joint working, would enable Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service to deliver the best possible service to the people of this county. “But I am disappointed by what HMICFRS had to say about values and inclusion and there is clearly much work that needs to be done in that area. I know the Chief Fire Officer and his team will be as disappointed as I am in the report’s findings, and I know they will be working just as hard to create a better culture as they have done to improve efficiency and effectiveness. “I expect to see plans in place to improve the culture as soon as possible. I will also be looking for opportunities for further collaboration with Northamptonshire Police as both organisations work to build trust and confidence across the board.” The full report can be viewed or downloaded from the HMICFRS website
Two areas of Northampton to benefit from safer streets funding
July 26, 2022
Two areas of Northampton to benefit from safer streets funding
26 July 2022 Blackthorn and Bellinge in Northampton will see safety and security improvements thanks to £99,000 from the Government’s Safer Streets fund. The two areas have disproportionately high crime levels and part of this is due to the prevalence of alleyways, underpasses and deprivation. West Northamptonshire Council applied for the funding to improve lighting in the area, introduce more CCTV and to create activities to engage young people and divert them from criminal activity. Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services, said: “This funding is vital, and we will be teaming up with the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner which has also won funding to improve safety on our streets. “The money we’ve been awarded will go toward tackling specific issues in Bellinge and Blackthorn, on the eastern side of Northampton, where there are high levels of antisocial behaviour and violent crime. “In particular, we want to do what we can to begin diverting young people from this kind of activity into something more positive, and we’ll be using team sports as the catalyst.” There is also a plan to gate alleyways to prevent them from being used as areas for antisocial behaviour, drug dealing and violent crime.
Neglected natural habitats set to flourish with fresh funding
July 21, 2022
Neglected natural habitats set to flourish with fresh funding
21 July 2022 West Northamptonshire Council is taking the lead on fresh plans to halt the decline of local habitats, joining up with local partners to produce a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS). At their recent meeting, members of the Council’s Cabinet agreed to progress proposals for the new strategy which will set out plans to restore local natural habitats. It will be evidence-based, locally led and collaborative. The idea is to bring together a plan that public, private, and voluntary sectors can all help to inform and deliver. This will provide a locally owned foundation to developing and underpinning a national Nature Recovery Network . The longer term restoration of earmarked natural habitats across West Northants will enable species to thrive; as trees are planted and peatlands restored. This will ultimately mitigate flood and fire risks, and create green spaces for local people to enjoy. The Council has received £16,000 towards the preparation of its strategy, with more on its way to cover what is estimated to be two years’ work leading up to publication. “The UK has suffered long-term decline in nature and various steps have been taken locally and nationally to address this, but undoubtedly more is needed. We have reached a critical juncture and no longer is it sufficient to protect the remnants that we have left - but must now step up to the huge task of securing recovery. “If we wish to have rich and abundant wildlife, more carbon captured in trees, soil and hedges, better protection from extreme weather and enough places for people to gain the wellbeing benefits of good quality green spaces, then we must invest in nature’s recovery, and at scale. “West Northamptonshire Council being appointed as responsible authority for preparing our own local nature recovery strategy (LNRS) is a great opportunity for us. The work will help bring a broad range of groups together; from farmers to businesses to local communities, – to deliver priorities for nature recovery at a local level. We look forward to working with our partners to create bigger, better, and more connected natural places to halt and then reverse the decline in our environment.” Phil Larratt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste The strategy is part of a national vision which informed the Environment Act 2021. On a local level WNC will continue to participate in all-Northamptonshire nature arrangements, especially the Local Nature Partnership, giving stakeholders efficient means of engagement. Notes to editors: In 2018 the UK Government adopted a 25-year Environment Plan which seeks “to leave that environment in a better state than we found it and pass on to the next generation a natural environment protected and enhanced for the future.” This included proposals to develop a Nature Recovery Network. The LNRSs will underpin the new Nature Recovery Network (NRN) – a flagship element of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan . The long-term vision is to benefit people and wildlife by increasing, improving and joining-up wildlife-rich places across England. It will create or restore hectares of wildlife habitat outside protected sites, more effectively linking existing protected sites and landscapes, as well as urban green infrastructure (such as trees, hedgerows, parks, fields, forests) and urban blue infrastructure (such as rainwater tanks, bioswales, rivers, canals, ponds, wetlands, and floodplains).
Round-up following busy day as temperatures hit 40 degrees in Northamptonshire
July 20, 2022
Round-up following busy day as temperatures hit 40 degrees in Northamptonshire
(NFRS STOCK IMAGE) The hot and dry weather yesterday (July 19) meant it was a very busy day for both our control room operators and our crews across the county. On an average day Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service attends 12 incidents, and from 6am yesterday until 6am this morning (July 20) we had 71 incidents logged on our summary of incidents. Yesterday was only the second time in more than a decade that we have mobilised all our on-call firefighters, which is around 190 people. This was successfully implemented thanks to pre-planning that took place as soon as the forecasts predicted the current heatwave, and enabled NFRS to scale up and meet any demand. The incidents we attended yesterday included a large number of fires, including field fires in Church Brampton, Lowick and Islip. We also attended a large house fire at Hawkstone Close in Northampton. Sadly, we also had eight fires that after preliminary investigations indicate they were started deliberately. Even in normal times, deliberately starting a fire is reckless but this is especially the case when the ground is as dry as it currently is. This needlessly puts lives in danger, not only members of the public and our firefighters, but also the person setting the fire. We would urge Northamptonshire residents to remain vigilant today. Although temperatures have cooled, the dry conditions still mean that the risk of fire can be incredibly high. We would also again urge people not to light floating sky lanterns (also known as Chinese Lanterns). We received reports of these devices being set alight in Earls Barton yesterday evening and strongly advise that people do not use them. Tonight we've unbelievably had reports of 'Floating sky lanterns' (also referred to as Chinese Lanterns) in the Earls Barton area. These pose a HUGE fire risk all year round but tonight, it is quite frankly reckless and endangering life, wildlife, crops & property. PLEASE STOP! pic.twitter.com/PycedFTSJ9 — Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue (@northantsfire) July 19, 2022 Please ensure that any cigarettes or BBQs are safely disposed of, and we would encourage people to steer clear of going into unguarded open water to swim. If people do find themselves in trouble in the water, please adopt a star shape on your back and float to live. You can find more summer safety advice on our #Safe4Summer campaign page here: https://www.northantsfire.gov.uk/outdoor-safety/safe4summer-campaign/ Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “I would like to pay tribute to the incredible work undertaken yesterday by both our Control Room operators and our fire crews across the county in what were extremely challenging conditions. “We received many more calls than we would on a regular day, and although we were very busy, we were able to sufficiently cover all parts of the county safely throughout the day. We were also able to assist neighbouring services that had declared major incidents, and Operation Willow Beck meant our control room helped to field calls that were overspilling from London. “We would also like to thank members of the public who have heeded all the safety messages that have been going out this week and have played their part, it really does make a difference.” Hits: 1
West Northamptonshire agrees aspirations for future rail services
July 19, 2022
West Northamptonshire agrees aspirations for future rail services
Parking, roads and transport 19 July 2022 Councillors have set out aspirations for faster and more frequent local trains for West Northamptonshire residents as they embark upon discussions with rail operators to shape future services ahead of HS2. West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet recently agreed a ‘shopping list’ for how they want to see rail services improved at Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby and Milton Keynes stations, to help guide ongoing talks with the West Coast Partnership (WCP) which operates the West Coast Mainline. Phase one of HS2, now under construction and scheduled to open in stages between 2029 and 2034, will take long distance city-to-city traffic away from the southern end of the West Coast Main line and free up capacity for services to stations serving West Northants. The Government’s Department for Transport (DfT), which is responsible for future consultation on rail services, has sanctioned a move by WNC to hold ongoing discussions directly with WCP, to influence the shaping of future proposals for the rail line once HS2 is completed. Moving forward these talks for West Northamptonshire is Cllr William Barter, WNC’s Assistant Cabinet Member for environment, transport, highways, and waste, who said: “It may seem a long way off, but the decisions we make now will have far reaching implications and it is important the people of West Northants have their needs heard. "Currently, rail services for our local area take second place to the long-distance trains, which means our local services are less frequent and have longer journey times than we would like. "With HS2 on its way to divert city-to-city travel and the West Coast Partnership already beginning its work to advise the DfT on future local service patterns, it’s crucial our Council is also around the table and able to influence these future proposals. "This is a real opportunity to influence emerging proposals in favour of West Northamptonshire and our aspirations agreed by Cabinet will underpin all our efforts in doing so." You can view the rail aspirations set by WNC and further information within the recent Cabinet report .
Adult home care companies asked to share operational delivery costs
July 18, 2022
Adult home care companies asked to share operational delivery costs
Adult social services 18 July 2022 Companies which supply care to adults in their homes across West Northamptonshire are being encouraged to complete a survey on the fair cost of care. The survey follows publication of the Department of Health and Social Care’s White Paper, ‘People at the Heart of Care’ in December 2021 which seeks to change how social care is arranged and funded. To guide that reform the Paper requires local authorities to consult with home care companies in their local authority area to find out what it costs to deliver home care services. West Northants Council (WNC) has circulated a survey to more than 100 home care providers in the area. Cllr Matt Golby, WNC’s Cabinet Member for adult care, wellbeing, and health integration, said: “We have to look at a new way of doing things so that the care sector is more sustainable, workers have a job that is fulfilling and most importantly to provide the best possible care to adults who need it. "I hope as many providers as possible complete the survey and the Government is given an accurate picture to support the changes required to how services are commissioned and delivered in a way that also grows the sector." The survey is open to all providers working across the domiciliary care field in West Northants and closes on Wednesday, 27 July 2022. Understanding home care operating costs will enable to the Council to meet Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund requirements to report on fair and sustainable cost for purchasing care. The Council must report on local care costs by Friday, 14 October 2022 in order to receive Government financial support in 2023-24 and 2024-25 and changes as a result of the social care reforms. To take part, email [email protected] to request a survey.
People encouraged to stay safe in coming heatwave
July 17, 2022
People encouraged to stay safe in coming heatwave
Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey is the chairman of the Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum People are being urged to take care of themselves and avoid putting additional pressure on health and emergency services in next week’s heatwave. Hospitals are already experiencing unprecedented numbers of attendances to their Emergency Departments. This is partly due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and they are expecting an increase in heat-related health issues over the coming days. East Midlands Ambulance Service is also stretched and will struggle to cope with potentially avoidable strain. Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is dealing with an increase in field fires caused by the heat and is urging people to do everything possible to ensure accidental or intentional fires are prevented. The service is also asking people not to go swimming in open water during periods of extremely hot weather as this often leads to the need for rescue and can potentially cause drowning or serious injury. And Northamptonshire Police is urging people to avoid excess alcohol as this can lead to dehydration and have a knock-on effect on their health and behaviour, causing additional pressure on policing resources. Darren Dovey, Chief Fire Officer and Chair of the Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) said: “Information from the Met Office suggests temperatures could reach the high 30s Celsius in the shade at the start of next week, and we’re really concerned about the impact that’s going to have. “I think we can guarantee there will be pressures on emergency and health services, so we’re asking people to be sensible, take some simple precautions, and minimise the risks. “It’s important to remember that our staff are people too, and many of them will need to be on the front line irrespective of the weather. “Please make sure you don’t do anything that puts yourselves or each other in harm’s way, and if you’re a parent, I would urge you to make sure you know where your children are and what they’re doing. “We would also encourage people to ensure they drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and be careful when they dispose of items such as disposable BBQs or cigarettes as they can very easily lead to fires being started in dry temperatures.” Very high temperatures can also affect the operation of vehicles, and can cause the deterioration of road surfaces, potentially putting additional pressure on recovery services. “I think the simple message is, if you don’t have to travel during this extreme weather, it’s probably best not to as you might put yourself and others at risk,” added Mr Dovey. Anyone who does need to travel should take some simple precautions such as ensuring they have sufficient water, and an emergency kit should they break down. Also, please remember never to leave anyone in a hot car for any length of time, particularly children or pets. People are asked to use 111.nhs.uk if illnesses or injuries are not life threatening. They will receive advice straight away and if required, a clinician (health professional) will contact them back. You can find more top fire safety tips by visiting our #Safe4Summer campaign page here. Hits: 130
Council’s first year on budget despite financial challenges
July 15, 2022
Council’s first year on budget despite financial challenges
Finance 15 July 2022 West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) completed its first year as a new unitary authority on budget, despite ongoing financial challenges and increased demand for services. At this week’s Cabinet meeting, members heard how the Council, which was set up on 1 April last year, had managed to deliver upon its budget for 2021/22 with an underspend of just over £100,000 and without touching the £5m of contingency funds it had set aside from its general reserves. The report to Cabinet, which presented provisional year-end figures for the Council’s first year as an authority, also highlighted how finances must continue to be managed as robustly as possible in the year ahead, with continuing challenges such as Covid, the cost of living crisis and rising operational costs set to cause financial pressures and increased demand for services such as social care. Councillor Malcolm Longley, WNC’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Budget forecasting for a brand new council can never be as reliable as forecasting for a well-established authority, so there was always going to be an element of the unknown until we started operating. Managing to deliver our first 12 months of services so closely to our initial budget figure and avoiding using our contingencies is therefore a remarkable achievement and a great start for our new council. "We’ve taken a prudent approach and it’s important we continue to be strong and robust in managing our finances in our second year, whilst also enabling new investment in services and increasing the support we provide to our local communities. "We know there are challenging times ahead. We’re seeing major growth at a time of a national cost of living crisis, with significant demand for social care services from a rising population of both the elderly and the very young and with some pressures of Covid-19 continuing but without the additional funding support of previous years. So we cannot rest on our laurels as we move forward."
Farmers urged to remain vigilant of crop fire risks in warm weather
July 15, 2022
Farmers urged to remain vigilant of crop fire risks in warm weather
Farmers are being urged to remain vigilant this weekend as hot weather increases the risk of field fires. It comes after Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a crop fire in Glassthorpe Lane, Harpole, at 12.10pm yesterday (July 14). Crews from The Mounts, Moulton, Mereway and Towcester tackled two fires in two fields that were involving standing crops. They used a hose reel jet and beaters to bring the fire under control – but crucially the use of a farmer’s plough was used to create fire breaks and stop it from spreading further. The cause of the fire is believed to be due to the hot weather, and with temperatures set to be above 30 degrees in the coming days the risk of further incidents is possible. Station Manager Scott Hirons said: “We know that farmers will be working this weekend due to the weather forecast, and we would urge them to be on guard as the hot weather does increase the risk of crop fires starting, and they can quickly become out of control. “We would urge all farmers to be prepared by ensuring they have a plough attached to their tractor as this will help to create a fire break, and as we saw yesterday, this greatly helped us in tackling the blaze and preventing it from escalating.” Hits: 27
Community backs £1.1million special needs expansion in Hunsbury
July 13, 2022
Community backs £1.1million special needs expansion in Hunsbury
Children and families 13 July 2022 Hunsbury Park Primary School will be remodelled over the summer holidays ready for a new cohort of special needs pupils in September after parents, teachers and governors backed plans by West Northamptonshire Council (WNC). There were 50 responses to a consultation on the proposals, which also included responses from nearby schools, academy trusts, politicians, and church organisations, and 45 of them were in favour of the proposals. 30 children will now start in September, with a further 20 places to be created by September 2023. The expansion of special needs provision at Hunsbury Primary is just phase one of WNC’s longer term plan to create 500 new special needs places in West Northants. This will ensure that most children with high levels of need are able to be placed in a school close to where they live, with much shorter journey times for most. This will not only be of great benefit to these children and their families, but everyone else living in our area as vehicle use will be hugely reduced. Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC’s Cabinet Member for children, families and education, said: "We have worked hard to find this opportunity and while we were confident this was the best way forward, it is very pleasing to see those in the special needs education community are behind us. I thank them for taking their time to digest the proposals and for making their voices heard. "But ultimately the real winners here are the young people and families who will now have access to the education they need and deserve." During its meeting on Tuesday, 12 July the WNC Cabinet approved the creation of the special education need spaces at Hunsbury Park Primary, noted the consultation results and delegated authority to officers to deliver the project. Hunsbury Park Primary already successfully operates a smaller special needs unit and its senior leadership has significant experience in working within specialist settings. The greatest amount of current and future demand for special need places in West Northants arises from Northampton town, in which the school is located. Being located to the south of the town also means it will be more accessible to residents of South Northants and will reduce home to school travel times.
Prosecution after bags of household rubbish found dumped
July 12, 2022
Prosecution after bags of household rubbish found dumped
Environmental health 12 July 2022 A woman has been ordered to pay more than £1,600 in fines and court costs after sacks of rotting rubbish belonging to her were twice found dumped on grass verges near her home. At Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (5 July) was Adele Batchelor (33) of Campion Court, Bellinge, Northampton, who admitted two offences under Section 34 of the Environmental Health Act following a successful prosecution brought by West Northamptonshire Council. The court heard how Neighbourhood Wardens on patrol in the Bellinge area in December 2019 found a large sack containing 9 black bins full of rubbish dumped on a grass verge. After tracing the rubbish to Batchelor, they issued her with a £400 fixed penalty notice. When Batchelor ignored the notice a case was prepared for prosecution. However the legal action was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. And when a large number of sacks and carrier bags containing rotting and decomposing household waste were also traced back to Batchelor after being discovered in Bellinge in March 2021, the cases were combined in a single prosecution. Appearing before Magistrates on Tuesday, Batchelor pleaded guilty to two counts of failing in her duty of care for her household waste, stating she had left the rubbish there after paying someone to clear it for her, but that they had failed to collect it. Magistrates fined her £270 for each offence and ordered her to pay court costs amounting to £1,000, plus victim surcharges totalling £66. A collection order for £1,606 was issued, with Batchelor ordered to pay £50 per month until the fines are paid. We are determined to tackle environmental crime across West Northamptonshire. It spoils our towns and countryside and has a negative effect on the people living here, which is why we will not hesitate to take enforcement action against the perpetrators. I hope the results of court cases like this sends out a strong message that environmental crime such as this will not be tolerated in West Northamptonshire. Councillor David Smith, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services
Annual canvass gets underway across West Northamptonshire
July 12, 2022
Annual canvass gets underway across West Northamptonshire
Electoral services 12 July 2022 Canvass forms are being emailed to more than 80,000 people across West Northamptonshire so that residents can check their voter details are up-to-date. The annual canvass, which must be carried out by law, allows West Northamptonshire Council to ensure that information on the electoral register is current and accurate. Adults must be on the register in order to vote in elections and referendums, while it is also used for jury service selection and to provide credit checks, such as when applying for a mortgage. Branded emails from West Northamptonshire Council are now being sent out to residents who have provided their email addresses to us for this purpose. The emails, which come from [email protected] contain step-by-step instructions on how to check, confirm and/or change their details online. Anyone who is not on the council’s email database will receive a letter in the post in early August. Anna Earnshaw, Electoral Registration Officer for West Northamptonshire Council, said: “It’s really important that people keep an eye out for their email and follow the instructions it contains. This is to check the details we hold for them are correct. "This is the quickest and easiest way for people to update their details and means that we do not have to post out a form to them. "It only takes a couple of minutes to respond, and saves you being contacted by our team who will be in touch by text, email or in person if you don’t reply. "If you’re not currently registered to vote you can easily register online or you can call 0300 126 7000." Residents are also reminded to stay alert when it comes to phishing, scam or spam emails. The council will never ask for your bank or other personal details via email. If in doubt, contact the helpline on 0300 126 7000 . While you must be on the Electoral Register to be able to vote, the canvass communication is not a registration form to vote. To register to vote, go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote . To find out more, please visit our Annual Canvass page.
Plant a tree for the Jubilee this autumn
July 11, 2022
Plant a tree for the Jubilee this autumn
Health, leisure and parks 11 July 2022 HM Lord - Lieutenant of Northamptonshire with residents of the St Crispin's Retirement Village Communities and individuals can still get involved in commemorating the Platinum Jubilee year by planting a tree for the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative from October onwards. From Scout and Girlguiding groups to parish councils, businesses and schools – thousands of people across the UK have already come together to plant trees for the Jubilee, with many benefiting from the Woodland Trust’s free sapling offer. Now town and parish councils and schools taking part in the Queen’s Green Canopy can also get a free commemorative plaque from West Northamptonshire Council and the Woodland Trust is once again offering free trees to schools and community groups. Councillor Pinder Chauhan, who is heading up the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “The main celebrations may be over, but the tree planting season is yet to come, so communities, schools, businesses and individuals can still make their contribution to the Platinum Jubilee by planting a tree and adding to the Queen’s Green Canopy. “Schools and Parish Councils in West Northants can also obtain a specially engraved tree plaque, available on a first come first serve basis, to make their tree really stand out.” In West Northamptonshire, a total of 5,686 trees were planted during the last official planting season between October 2021 and March this year. One of those trees was planted at Silverstone race circuit in May, on the same day as an English Oak was planted in Indianapolis, as part of a cross-Atlantic twinning arrangement that sees Northamptonshire twinned with the U.S city, as both locations have a strong focus on the motorsports industry. A unique planting event took place in the village of Winwick in Daventry, when the parish council planted 50 trees and a time capsule, which will be buried for 100 years. Village residents provided details of everyone living in their household, along with photos of their families, memories of village events and other local memorabilia. Residents at the St Crispin’s Retirement Village in Upton, Northampton, were joined by the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire in May, to celebrate the opening of their wellbeing garden, where 12 trees have been planted to mark the Jubilee. Paul Parsons, Chairman of the Northamptonshire Queen’s Green Canopy Committee, said: “If you haven’t yet planted your tree for the Jubilee, there is still plenty of time to do so starting in October through to January 2023. “Now is a good time to do some planning and to think where you might plant your tree, what type of tree to plant and then to order it. It’s important to plant the right tree in the right place! “Once planted, don’t forget to record your tree on the Queen’s Green Canopy interactive map, together with a photo. Your tree will be part of a legacy that will make Northamptonshire an even more beautiful county for future generations, so happy planting!” How you can get involved The new tree planting season gets underway again this October and The Woodland Trust is once again offering free trees to schools and community groups. To request a pack for delivery in November, please visit The Woodland Trust website . Town and parish councils and schools planting a tree for the Jubilee can also get a free commemorative plaque (one per organisation, on a first come first serve basis) from West Northamptonshire Council, by emailing [email protected] . Find out more information about the work taking place locally in support of the Queen’s Green Canopy project. More information is also available on the Queen’s Green Canopy website .
St James Library to start a new chapter in the Doddridge Centre
July 11, 2022
St James Library to start a new chapter in the Doddridge Centre
Libraries 11 July 2022 The library will open its doors to customers on Monday, July 25, followed by an official opening on Saturday, July 30. At the launch party on Saturday, 30 July we will have a variety of activities which include Steve Dimmer and his Gadety Gizmo Magic Show, face painting, arts and crafts, book hunt, design your own book cover and much more. The Doddridge Centre has been at the heart of the St James community for many years providing a wide range of facilities and support to community and voluntary groups and enterprises. Cllr Adam Brown, West Northamptonshire Council's Deputy Leader, and Cabinet Member for housing, culture and leisure, said: “I am delighted that we now have a new home for our library in St James. "Libraries provide many valuable services and are an essential element to a thriving community, so accommodating it within the Doddridge Centre is the perfect fit. "I am grateful to everyone involved in reinstating this library and commend their hard work to ensure that people can continue to benefit from this much-loved community hub." The library will open just in time for the ever-popular Summer Reading Challenge - the theme this year being Gadgeteers. Young participants will be able to collect everything they need to get started and enjoy their summer holiday reading, earning that all important medal on completion of the challenge. Rachel Bott, Doddridge Centre Director, said: “After much hard work and determination by the team at the Doddridge and our supporters, I am extremely pleased to have the library housed within the Doddridge Centre. "The local community deserves to have their library reinstated and whilst it is not in its original home, I believe the Centre provides a wonderful alternative. "We are really looking forward to welcoming the public to our Community Library and building new relationships." Graham Croucher, Chair of Trustees, said: “This wonderful opportunity for our community comes after many years of fighting to keep a library facility in the area, such that the community took the fight to the highest level to protect this vital facility. "Fast forward and we are now able to once again provide a community focused library that we can all be proud of. "We are grateful for the assistance of those local councillors who shared our vision, the support of 21 GLN, the library service, the amazing Doddridge team and the community, for their unwavering support."
West Northants Heat Health Alert upped to Level 3 as heatwave continues
July 11, 2022
West Northants Heat Health Alert upped to Level 3 as heatwave continues
Community, safety and emergencies 11 July 2022 A Heat-Health Watch Level-3 Alert has been issued across the East Midlands today (Monday, July 11) by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office . After a very warm and dry weekend, the hot weather is expected to continue across West Northants today and tomorrow with temperatures predicted to reach the low 30Cs. There will be a dip on Wednesday and Thursday, with daytime temperatures estimated to reach in the region of 22-25C and the possibility of some cloud and rain. However, temperatures are expected to recover on Friday and over the weekend, with the potential of the heat rising significantly again to reach the low 30Cs. On Friday (July 8), a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) was declared across Northamptonshire and a multi-agency response was coordinated to help vulnerable groups such as the homeless, elderly and care home residents. As a result of the extreme heat warning, residents are advised to remain cautious and seek advice from 111 if non-emergency health advice is required. 999 services should be used in emergencies only. It is also advised to plan ahead if travelling and expect delays on roads, with more people likely to visit coastal areas, along with delays and cancellations to rail and air travel. Waste collection crews are working as normal and Household Waste Recycling centres remain open, but please only visit if necessary and also be aware that sites may need to close at short notice for health and safety reasons. The top ways for staying safe in the heat are to: Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated; older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk. Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors. Use cool spaces if going outdoors. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, vulnerable adults, or animals. Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest. If you have to go outside in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Avoid physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling. During warm weather, going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool-down, take care and follow local safety advice. Stay up to date with by visiting our hot weather web pages.
West Northants put on heatwave alert as urgent weather warning issued
July 08, 2022
West Northants put on heatwave alert as urgent weather warning issued
Community, safety and emergencies 08 July 2022 A Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) has been declared across Northamptonshire today (Friday, July 8), following the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office issuing a Level 2 heat-health alert for the East Midlands. The hot weather is expected to continue over the weekend and into next week, with temperatures predicted to reach up to 30C. A multi-agency response is under way to prepare for this and West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is working alongside Hope Centre and other voluntary sector partners to help vulnerable groups such as the homeless, elderly and care home residents. The council will mobilise its Rough Sleeper Team who will provide anyone sleeping rough with water, sunscreen, and guidance about keeping safe and linking in with healthcare services if required. Cool, shaded, or indoor areas will also be provided for rough sleepers to take shelter from the heat if required. The Hope Centre will be opening their Homeless Centre at Oasis House (35-37 Campbell Street, Northampton) for extended hours during the week and all day Saturday and Sunday to provide shelter, food and support for the most vulnerable rough sleepers and homeless. Residents are advised to remain cautious and check on elderly or vulnerable people where possible. The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to: Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated; older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk. Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors. Use cool spaces if going outdoors. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, vulnerable adults, or animals. Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest. If you have to go outside in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Avoid physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling. During warm weather, going for a swim can provide much welcomed relief. If you are going into open water to cool-down, take care and follow local safety advice. For more information on keeping safe in the heat, visit the NHS Heatwave page. For more information on The Hope Centre and how you can support the charity, visit www.northamptonhopecentre.org.uk .
Double joy for Towcester Centre for Leisure at ukactive Awards
July 08, 2022
Double joy for Towcester Centre for Leisure at ukactive Awards
08 July 2022 Towcester Centre for Leisure has received two national awards at the 2022 ukactive Awards, which took place last week. The ukactive Awards recognise and celebrate excellence and innovation across health, wellbeing, and fitness in the UK. This year’s awards ceremony took place in person for the first time since 2019 and was held on Thursday, June 30, at Birmingham’s ICC. In recognition of its post-COVID-19 recovery, Towcester Centre for Leisure was named Regional Club/Centre of the Year for the Midlands and also won the coveted National Club/Centre of the Year. Commended for its focus on customers, staff, and community engagement, the centre underwent over £1m of extensive refurbishments working in partnership with West Northamptonshire Council and Parkwood Leisure during closures as a result of the pandemic. The refurbishment project included a new multipurpose studio and spinning room extension, increased gym space, upgraded shower and changing facilities and renovations to the spa. Cllr Adam Brown, West Northamptonshire Council's Deputy Leader, and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure, said: "Towcester Centre for Leisure receiving recognition for two national awards is a huge testament to the amazing work they do for the community. “We are extremely proud of the refurbishment work which took place during very challenging conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of the staff at the site who continue to manage this popular facility and inspire and encourage people to be more active – a huge congratulations on this incredible achievement.” Parkwood Leisure, which manages Towcester Centre for Leisure and Brackley Leisure Centre, is one of the UK’s leading leisure facilities operators, working in partnership with local authorities to increase participation in sport and physical activity and improve the quality of service delivered to communities nationwide. Francois Smit, Parkwood Leisure Regional Director, said: "Towcester Centre for Leisure's ukactive Awards win is a fantastic achievement; to not only be recognised regionally, but to win the National Centre of the Year award too demonstrates the important role that the facility plays in supporting its local community. "The centre upgrades have really improved the visitor experience and feedback from members has been very positive. We're incredibly proud of the team's achievements, a big well done to everyone!"
Public asked to have their say on modifications to Northampton’s Local Plan
July 08, 2022
Public asked to have their say on modifications to Northampton’s Local Plan
Planning policy and heritage 08 July 2022 Examination of the Northampton Local Plan Part 2 continues as West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) prepares for a six-week public consultation on proposed modifications. The Local Plan Part 2 is a major planning policy document that will help guide planning decisions throughout Northampton up to 2029. Following public hearings in November 2021, the Government-appointed Planning Inspectors have recommended some modifications, before the Plan can be adopted by WNC. On 28 June, Planning Policy Committee decided that those modifications should be put out to public consultation on. Consultation opened on Thursday, 7 July, and ends at 23:59 on Thursday, 18 August. Only comments on the modifications to the Local Plan Part 2 and the associated Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessments can be considered. The modifications comprise: Main modifications – These are required to make the plan ‘sound’. They involve changes or insertions to policies and text that are essential to enable the plan to be adopted. Any comments on these will be considered by the Planning Inspectors. Additional Modifications – these are spelling, grammar, presentational changes and comments which will be considered by WNC. These do not affect the soundness of the plan. Changes to the maps – alterations including boundary changes and deallocations which will also be considered by WNC. These do not affect the soundness of the plan For more information, visit M odifications Consultation page. Cllr Rebecca Breese, WNC’s Cabinet Member for strategic planning, built environment & rural affairs, said: "The Local Plan Part 2 is a major piece of work which started in May 2016 and is now nearing its final stages. "I would like to thank all those involved to date who have contributed to the contents of this document and to encourage residents to ensure that the modifications are reflective of feedback. "I look forward to the next stage of the plan which will be to help guide planning decisions throughout Northampton up to the year 2029.”
Mark Jones confirmed as new Chief Fire Officer after panel meeting
July 09, 2022
Mark Jones confirmed as new Chief Fire Officer after panel meeting
Mark Jones has been confirmed as the new Chief Fire Officer for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service following a Confirmation Hearing of the Police, Fire and Crime Panel. Mr Jones appeared before the panel – which is made up of elected councillors and independent members – at The Guildhall in Northampton yesterday afternoon (July 6). After fielding questions from various members of the committee, the panel has now written to Stephen Mold, the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, to confirm the appointment. The Commissioner named Mr Jones as his preferred candidate for the role in June, following a comprehensive recruitment process that involved interviews with panels involving key partner organisations, as well as a Q&A sessions with firefighters and staff. Speaking at the panel, Mr Jones said: “Everything I have learned in my research and through the recruitment process has shown to me that Northamptonshire wants continued and sustained improvement of the Service, and I’m drawn to that challenge as I’ve achieved it everywhere I have been. It’s already achieved a lot of that under the current leadership and I’m attracted to the challenge of improving it further. “The challenges for Northamptonshire are the same as many UK fire services in that we are heading into tight financial times. We are going to have increased demand with restricted resources and that’s going to be a challenge across the UK. Northamptonshire has changed to the governance of the OPFCC and has had a good funding injection after being a poverty-stricken county fire service, and that’s a chance for us to build on something. “With any change agenda we have to take our people with us. We also have to make sure that our public at large understand the reasons for change, and why we are trying to improve the service for their benefit.” Mr Jones will take on the role in October once current Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey retires from the role after more than 30 years in the fire service. Currently based in Australia, where he is Chief Officer of the South Australia Country Fire Service, Mr Jones has also had stints as Chief Fire Officer for Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service from 2010 to 2015, and also as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in Essex after joining the Fire Service in 1985. Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold is looking forward to welcoming Mr Jones to the county following his confirmed appointment. The Commissioner said: “This is an important day in the future of our fire and rescue service. Since I assumed responsibility for the governance of NFRS, we have been able to deliver real improvements in performance, investment in the fleet and equipment, large scale recruitment of new firefighters and improved response times. “We are rightly proud of what we have been able to achieve, and I want to pay tribute to Darren Dovey, our current Chief Fire Officer, who has shown great determination, vision and ambition to ensure that the transferral of governance was as smooth as it has been. He has provided me with great support and counsel, which has helped us to navigate the various challenges and issues we have faced. “The recruitment process was robust and it became very clear that Mark Jones was the right person to take the Service forward into the next stages of its development – and that is creating a positive culture, embracing change and taking the undoubted skills of our firefighters and staff to build on the already significant work being undertaken in the broader community safety agenda. “The feedback we got throughout the process consistently showed that Mark is a strong leader with a clear approach that will help me to deliver the priorities in the Police, Fire and Crime Plan.”
Residents called to help shape future employment sites in south Northamptonshire
July 08, 2022
Residents called to help shape future employment sites in south Northamptonshire
Planning policy and heritage 08 July 2022 Residents are being asked to help shape extra guidance for land allocated for commercial development in the south Northamptonshire area. Members of West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Planning Policy Committee recently approved plans to seek people’s views on a new draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for employment land allocations in the area, which would sit alongside the South Northamptonshire Local Plan Part 2 to help inform decision-making on planning applications. The draft SPD aims to provide greater detail and certainty to the public and developers by setting out overarching design principles for the future development of the employment sites identified in the Local Plan, including guidance relating to size, scale and density of buildings. A six-week public consultation on the SPD opened on Thursday, 7 July, with residents encouraged to attend drop-in sessions taking place in Towcester and Old Stratford next week. People have until midnight on Thursday, 18 August to give their views – to take part, visit the consultation hub on the Council’s website or view the draft documents at the WNC offices and library in Towcester, as well as libraries in Brackley, Deanshanger and Roade. Cllr Rebecca Breese, WNC’s Cabinet Member for strategic planning, built environment and rural affairs, said: “It’s important that we have effective planning policies in place which support our goals to boost our local economy by bringing new employment opportunities into the area. “Our policies must be underpinned by clear and robust guidance for both local residents and developers to ensure future development of these sites is appropriate in size, scale and density, and this Supplementary Planning Document aims to do just that. “I would urge everyone with knowledge of this area to get involved in this consultation to help shape guidance that will inform our future decision-making on these issues." As well as being able to view the SPD documents online, residents can view them at the WNC offices and the library at The Forum, Moat Lane in Towcester NN12 6AD, and libraries in Brackley, Deanshanger and Roade. Drop-in events, which include opportunities to view information boards and talk to planning officers, take place between 2pm and 6pm at The Forum in Towcester on Wednesday, 13 July and at The Memorial Hall, Deanshanger Road in Old Stratford on Thursday, 14 July.
Funding for West Northants community and voluntary groups is now available
July 07, 2022
Funding for West Northants community and voluntary groups is now available
Community, safety and emergencies 07 July 2022 Community and voluntary groups who deliver important services in West Northamptonshire can now apply for grants of up to £5,000. West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has opened a fresh round of Community Funding Grants from Friday, 8 July 2022. Applications for this round of funding should be submitted no later than Sunday, 27 July 2022. Councillor David Smith, WNC's Cabinet Member for community safety, engagement, and regulatory services, said: “These grants allow us to support local community and voluntary groups who are providing vital services to our communities. “These groups are small, highly connected and can react quickly to specific needs. They are an important partner and we’re delighted to be able to offer them this much needed funding which will help to support local communities as we recover from the pandemic.” The grant scheme is open to community and voluntary sector organisations, registered charities and not-for-profit organisations, for projects that support one or more of the council’s corporate plan priorities. The six corporate plan priorities are: Green and clean: environment and wellbeing Improved life chances: health, social care and families Connected communities: transport and connectivity Thriving villages and towns: place shaping and homes Economic development: growth and prosperity Robust resource management: transparency and financial probity For more information on funding streams, how to apply, the dates for future funding rounds, the council’s Community Funding Grants Policy, and an expression of interest form, visit the council’s Community Grants page. If anyone would like to speak to the Community Funding Officer about their eligibility to apply for a grant, contact Peter Worth via [email protected] or call 01327 322227 .
Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves Surreal Spectacle at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery
July 07, 2022
Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves Surreal Spectacle at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery
Culture and tourism 07 July 2022 Northampton Museum and Art Gallery are very proud to announce that Vic Reeves, otherwise known as artist, Jim Moir, will be exclusively presenting his solo show, entitled ‘Romans, Daisies, Ones and Twos’ within the newly refurbished Central Hall. Jim, working with his agent and manager, Michael Hogben, approached the renowned shoe museum, to showcase some of his most recent work due to a shared love of footwear, a subject that features frequently within his extensive range of works. His work has been described by artists Jake and Dinos Chapman as "able to command our laughter as a purgative, to encourage the viewer to leak at both ends." - Baker, Lindsay (22 June 2002). " Call Me Dada " - TheGuardian.com. Moir said: "I have loved shoes since I can remember and still love them. I have so many pairs they have their own space! "I’m excited to come to Northampton and think it’s a wonderful place to show my shoe art collection along with some other paintings I’ve done recently." Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Cabinet Member for housing, culture and leisure, said: "This is exactly the kind of event that Northampton Museum deserves. "It is an honour to know that the reputation of our shoe collection attracts well known artists for collaboration. "We are very excited, and I know the people of Northamptonshire and beyond, will be encouraged to visit." Jim’s work has been reputed as Dada-esque, surreal and sometimes macabre, featuring varied mediums such as but not limited to, painting, ceramics and lino prints. The exhibition will be open to the public from 23rd July until 14th August with no admission charge. All the works featured will be available for sale. For further information, please contact the museum directly. The museum closed between 2017 and 2021 for a major £6.7m expansion project. The new museum reopened in July 2021. Opening hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm. Sunday 12-5pm. Open spring and summer bank holidays 10am-5pm Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is free to enter. Donations are welcome. 4-6 Guildhall Road Northampton NN1 1DP Telephone: 01604 838111 For more information visit their website , or follow them museum on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter search for @northamptonshoe.
West Northamptonshire remembers Srebrenica
July 05, 2022
West Northamptonshire remembers Srebrenica
Community, safety and emergencies 05 July 2022 Memorial stone at Srebrenica (image taken by Rooful Ali) A ceremony of remembrance to honour the victims of the Srebrenica genocide will take place on Monday, 11 July, at 10.55am in the Northampton Guildhall’s courtyard on St Giles’ Square. The public are invited to join the Vice-Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council and the Mayor of Northampton, along with representatives from Northamptonshire Inter Faith Forum, Northamptonshire Police and others, to hear speeches and observe a one-minute silence at 11am, in honour of the 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who were massacred in Srebrenica, Bosnia, in July 1995. The Srebrenica flag will also be raised at each of West Northamptonshire Council’s main offices in Daventry, Northampton and Towcester and candles of remembrance lit to mark the occasion. Councillor André González De Savage, Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “This is an important day of international commemoration, so it is right that we come together to remember the victims of this atrocity and demonstrate that there is no place for hate in our society.” The day of remembrance is part of the Srebrenica Memorial Week, which began on 4 July, with ‘Combatting Denial: Confronting Hatred’ as this year’s theme – highlighting the fact that denial of the Srebrenica genocide, as well as the crimes against humanity committed across Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 to 1995, remains prevalent. More information about this year’s theme and the memorial week can be found on the Remembering Srebrenica website. Cllr Dennis Meredith, the Mayor of Northampton, said: “The message for this year’s Remembering Srebrenica event is ‘Combatting Denial, Challenging Hatred’ and we must educate ourselves and others so that ignorance and hatred do not enable horrific events like Srebrenica to ever happen again. “With the war in Ukraine very much on our minds, it is so incredibly important to come together to remember the atrocities of Srebrenica and understand our part in fighting hatred and intolerance.” Northamptonshire Police is committed to challenging all forms of hatred, prejudice and intolerance within communities. Anyone who has experienced a hate crime or incident is encouraged to report it to the police by calling 101.
Have your say on West Northamptonshire Council’s Gambling Policy
July 04, 2022
Have your say on West Northamptonshire Council’s Gambling Policy
04 July 2022 West Northamptonshire Council wants to hear your views on their proposed policy statement designed to prevent the use of gambling and betting premises for crime and disorder. They also want to know if you are satisfied that the draft statement is robust in protecting children and younger people from harm in this environment. Under the Gambling Act 2005, local councils regulate the provision of premises for gambling. These premises include betting shops, bingo halls and amusement arcades, the provision of gaming machines in clubs and alcohol licensed premises and small society lottery registration. The Gambling Act 2005 makes it a duty for a local authority to review and adopt a Statement of Licensing policy every three years, this statement details how the Council will undertake its licensing functions with a view to promoting the three licensing objectives: Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling A draft statement for the period 2022 - 2025 has been prepared. A copy of the draft is available Have your say on the Gambling Act 2005 - Statement of Licensing Policy 2022-2025 - West Northamptonshire Council - Citizen Space We are seeking comments on the draft and would be pleased to hear your views either via the Online Survey . Alternatively you can email or send your comments in by post using the contact details below. Email Address: [email protected] Postal Address: Health and Licensing Manager West Northamptonshire Council The Guildhall St Giles Square Northampton NN1 1DE Telephone: 0300 126 7000 If you have any queries, comments or would like a copy of this survey in another format, you can contact us by email, post or telephone. Our contact details are as above. This consultation will run until midnight on Sunday 21 August 2022. For information about how consultation and engagement responses are managed, please see the consultation and engagement privacy notice .
Northampton Forward seeks champions for communities
July 04, 2022
Northampton Forward seeks champions for communities
04 July 2022 Are you heavily involved in your community and keen to make a difference? If so, we need you to join a new group which will help shape the future development of Northampton. The Northampton Forward Board is seeking to create a new sub-group consisting of those who represent local communities and organisations. Northampton Forward is an informal partnership, with the primary role of coordinating and driving forward the integrated regeneration and growth within Northampton town centre. Since its formation in 2018, its work has led to £32m in Government grants for a number of schemes including the improvements to the town centre, new and improved cultural venues, and several large scale developments . Martin Mason, Managing Director of footwear firm Tricker’s and Northampton Forward Chair, said: “It’s incredibly important that as we work towards improving our town, we take people on that journey with us. “We have always been keen to hear everyone’s views, and we’ve engaged with communities a number of times over a variety of projects, but we want to take that to the next level. “We’re looking for people who feel they represent the views of their communities, who have a positive outlook and want to see the town improve, and who can throw some good ideas in to the mix. “Of course, we welcome challenge, but it must be constructive rather than obstructive, as doing nothing is simply not an option.” Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Community Champions Sub-group is asked to fill in an expression of interest form offering a little information about: Themselves and why they would like to be part of the group The community they represent Their ability to commit to at least one meeting every two months and some engagement work in between. The process will be open for five weeks, from 27 June to 1 August and anyone is welcome to put themselves forward.
Armed Forces get-togethers kick-off at the home of Northampton football
July 01, 2022
Armed Forces get-togethers kick-off at the home of Northampton football
Community, safety and emergencies 01 July 2022 The series of drop-in Community Hubs for armed forces personnel, veterans, and their families, is being extended to Sixfields Stadium - the home of Northampton Town FC. The first Armed Forces Community Hub to be held in the Cobblers Lounge will take place between 10am and midday on Monday, 4 July. Sessions will continue at the same time during the first Monday of every month. Cllr David Smith, West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Armed Forces Covenant Member Champion and Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement, said: "We owe an enormous gratitude to our armed forces, when they leave active service it is our duty to welcome them back into our communities and support their return to civilian life. "For whatever reason they might become isolated, the way back is building upon the community they already know, the men and women who they served alongside, and their families. "I would urge anyone connected to the forces to come along, you might not need help yourself, but you could be the encounter that makes a genuine difference to someone else’s life." New evening sessions have also been added to the existing schedule of Community Hubs in the north of the county at: West Glebe Pavilion in Corby on the last Tuesday of every month from 1pm to 3pm, and now 6pm to 8pm, and The Corn Market Hall in Kettering on the second Thursday of every month from 1:30pm to 3:30pm and now 6pm to 8pm For more details on the new hubs and for details on sessions in Daventry and Northampton, visit AFC website .
Parkrunners celebrate a centenary in Towcester
July 01, 2022
Parkrunners celebrate a centenary in Towcester
Community, safety and emergencies 01 July 2022 WNC representatives waved off the 100th Watermeadows parkrun on Saturday, 24 July. Hundreds of people taking part in the 100th Watermeadows parkrun in Towcester were waved-off by representatives from West Northamptonshire Council last weekend. Parkrunners celebrate a centenary in Towcester Hundreds of people taking part in the 100th Watermeadows parkrun in Towcester dressed up as superheroes and were waved-off by representatives from West Northamptonshire Council last weekend. Supported by 337 volunteers, 2,911 finished runs have been recorded since the free parkrun was established at the Towcester Watermeadows in February 2019. The parkrun is now taking place every Saturday at 9am. The Watermeadows was purchased from the Easton Neston estate in 2009 by the local authority, opened for public use, and has since evolved from a grazing field into a busy and popular public open space. Lorayne Macfarlane, Saturday’s Race Director said the addition of the footpath by the council last year brought more consistent numbers and made the run accessible to wheelchair users and those with children in prams. She added: “The Watermeadows is a fantastic venue for a parkrun. parkrun is a great community event where many people are making new friendships and are enjoying being outdoors in such a beautiful environment. Whether you are volunteering, or taking part in the event itself, it is such a rewarding way to start your weekend!" Last weekend’s runners were waved off by WNC’s Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, Cllr Daniel Lister, Mike Carter, the WNC officer overseeing the Watermeadows management plan, and Cllr Maggie Clubley, WNC’s ward member for Towcester and Roade (pictured left to right). Cllr Lister said: “Towcester Watermeadows brought new life to a town centre once landlocked by a private estate and was the first step in the successful Moat Lane Regeneration by South Northamptonshire Council. "Not only does this help town centre businesses by giving people yet more reasons to visit Towcester, but it is also providing those who do not wish to run alone with a vibrant and attractive choice. "We saw people of every type on Saturday. There were casual runners there for some fun, those there to improve their times, some in prams, and plenty benefiting from the run’s Age Grading so they can fairly compare their results. "I have little doubt that this park run and those like it are improving the health and quality of life for a significant number of people in West Northants." For more information and directions, visit the WNC webpage on the Towcester Watermeadows . Anyone who would like to take part can get more information from the Watermeadows parkun page .
West Northants businesses celebrated on Independents Days
July 01, 2022
West Northants businesses celebrated on Independents Days
Business support 01 July 2022 Nearly 21,000 businesses in West Northamptonshire employing under 50 people will be the focus this weekend as shoppers are encouraged to celebrate their Independents Day. Independents Day is part of the ongoing campaign by Local Rewards, a partnership between businesses and local authorities to support and promote independent retail businesses. Cllr Daniel Lister, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, hopes that shoppers spend more time in their local high streets. He said: “West Northants is a place where businesses thrive, with our area ranking in the top ten in the country to start-up. As a community, we need to work together to support the local independents, as the benefits help everyone within the community. "Our new app, ‘Explore West Northants’ will launch later this year, showcasing our fantastic local businesses, attractions and reasons to visit the high streets and surrounding areas. We won’t stop raising awareness of all of our great businesses and the many reasons everyone should explore each and every one of them. "As we strive to recover from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to support our independent businesses, who provide jobs to local people and unmatched services to residents." Independents account for around 65 per cent of the 290,000 retail outlets in the UK and are firmly at the heart of local communities throughout the country. West Northamptonshire contributed £12.5bn to the UK economy in 2019, rising by 126 per cent since 1998 compared to a 123 per cent increase nationally during the same period. In 2019, the largest sector by output was the wholesale and retail trade. In December 2021 Northampton was ranked number one in a table of the best towns in the UK to start a business . The Independents Day campaign ties in locally with WNC’s ongoing Think Local initiative in Brackley, Daventry, Northampton and Towcester, and builds towards the celebration of Small Business Saturday in December. As well as advice for shoppers on how to support local retailers in West Northamptonshire, the WNC website can also signpost retailers themselves to a range of free Business Support services including advice on funding.
Museum welcomes HRH The Duke of Gloucester
July 01, 2022
Museum welcomes HRH The Duke of Gloucester
Culture and tourism 01 July 2022 Northampton Museum and Art Gallery welcomed HRH The Duke of Gloucester to help mark the 750th anniversary of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. During his visit, The Duke met a variety of museum staff and volunteers and was given a tour of the refurbished facilities, including the new and improved Shoe Gallery. His Royal Highness was greeted by HM Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson, and West Northamptonshire Council’s Cultural Services Manager, Nick Gordon, who manages the museum. The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers was established in 1272 to regulate the footwear trade in London and has for many years had close links with Northamptonshire, due to its history of shoe manufacture. James Saunders Watson said: “It was a pleasure to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester to our beautiful county today. "Northamptonshire’s enduring quality footwear industry plays such an important role in our identity and economy, with continuing exports across the globe. "Our link with the Cordwainers is vitally important, so we’re extremely privileged to have been able to mark such an important anniversary in this way." Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure, Cllr Adam Brown, and Leader, Cllr Jonathan Nunn, were also there to meet His Royal Highness. Cllr Brown said: "It’s always an absolute delight to welcome a member of the Royal Family. "Our footwear heritage is just one part of a fascinating history in West Northamptonshire, spanning millennia, though its importance can be seen everywhere. "We have one of the world’s largest and most impressive shoe collections housed in our museum and some of the highest quality shoes across the globe are still produced here. "We’ve a great deal to be proud of and it was an amazing opportunity to show His Royal Highness just how much it means to us." As part of the visit, The Duke also congratulated Museum Administration Officer, Elizabeth Ravine, and Museum Assistant, Wendy Gibbs, for twenty-five years of service. To mark the occasion Peter Lamble, Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, presented His Royal Highness with a pair of Springline shoetrees, featuring the Cordwainer goat’s head and a commemorative 750th logo, and a Cordwainer history book.
£45.1 million plan to level up Weston Favell takes a step forward
July 01, 2022
£45.1 million plan to level up Weston Favell takes a step forward
Business, licensing and regeneration 01 July 2022 Design proposal showing the potential layout of the £45.1 million Weston Favell Community Hub Proposals for a swimming pool, cinema, library, and a new home for health and social services in Weston Favell have taken another big step forward after West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) committed to half the funding. Last month WNC decided to push forward with plans to consolidate several outdated community buildings, including: Lings Forum leisure centre, Weston Favell health centre, Olympus House (adult services), the Forum (children’s services), Weston Favell Library and Weston Favell Police Station. During the full council meeting on Thursday, 30 June, the Council said they would support the regeneration project with £25.1 million if successful in its application for £20 million from the Government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund (LUF). Cllr Daniel Lister WNC’s Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth said: “It is right the public money should be invested where it is most needed, and this area was laid out when ideas on design and planning were very different. "It will be very far from a like for like replacement, this will deliver genuine improvements to the access and quality of vital public services and its impact will be felt throughout the community in the east of Northampton. "Improving the look and feel of the area is just the start, better health facilities mean better outcomes and a higher quality of life for those who need the most help. "It’s about time the people of Weston Favell and the surrounding area have something at the heart of their community that they can be proud of and will enjoy visiting." The catchment area for the Hub includes 90,000 people. Extensive consultation and feasibility studies have already been undertaken which identified the facilities required within the new hub. These facilities include: Leisure centre with a new swimming pool, learner pool, gym, exercise studios, sports hall, changing rooms and ancillary accommodation Library with quiet study areas, exhibition space, meetings rooms and staff areas A two-screen cinema Community hub with a lobby area, public seating, café, meeting and consultation rooms Adult services with office space, activity rooms, sensory rooms, function space and ancillary accommodation Children services with contact and family rooms, baby rooms, meetings and interview rooms, outdoor play area and ancillary accommodation GP practices with access to additional clinical space and minor operations room A dental practice Opportunity for additional services such as maternity and physiotherapy services Northampton has been ranked as the 105th most deprived area in the UK, putting it within the top third of the country. The Talavera ward, which includes Weston Favell is considered in the top 20 per cent most deprived neighbourhoods in the country and the nearby ward of Riverside is in the top 10 per cent of most deprived neighbourhoods in the country. Weston Favell is just one of several projects chosen for LUF applications as they were already underway and at a stage where there was enough detail required for a successful application. Other areas in need within Northampton are earmarked for future funding applications. WNC's financial backing for the proposals will be submitted alongside the LUF application next month with a decision from the Government expected late 2022.
Message from the interim director of Public Health for West Northants
June 30, 2022
Message from the interim director of Public Health for West Northants
Coronavirus (COVID-19) 30 June 2022 I’m still concerned about the high rates of COVID-19 in West Northamptonshire and urge people to carry on the sensible health behaviours of washing hands frequently, meeting outside where possible and ventilating rooms when meeting inside. Please also stay home if you are unwell and consider wearing masks in crowded locations. However, in previous director of public health messaging I promised to focus on ways in which you can take steps to manage your health, so that is the focus of the message this week. It’s vital to be as healthy as you can be to ward off infections and our public health staff can provide help and advice on a range of measures you can take including stopping smoking and losing weight, as well as increasing mobility and becoming more active. They are out and about this summer at events so do go along and have a chat and find out what services you can access. Sally Burns, Interim Director of Public Health for West Northamptonshire Council Access advice at Queen's Baton Relay event this month West Northamptonshire residents will be able to seek health advice from public health staff who will be attending the baton relay event as part of the Commonwealth Games on Sunday 10 July . Their stall can be found at the University of Northamptonshire’s Riverside Campus where the baton relay is due to finish near to the Senate Building. Look out for us among the stalls and come along for advice on how losing weight can benefit your health and wellbeing. There are a range of options open to suit those who want to lose those extra COVID-19 pounds and offers a free 12 week course for those with a BMI of 28 or over to support you to reach your weight-loss goals. Those who can’t get along to the event can self-refer online . You will also be able to find out more about how our physical body is affected by the food we eat, as well as our mood. If you are thinking of quitting smoking and would like to meet the Stop Smoking team to find out more about the support on offer, they will be conducting carbon monoxide testing at the event. You are three times more likely to successfully quit when you get support so do consider coming along. Our Falls Management service will also be available to answer queries on how to age healthily including about how to access strength and balance exercise sessions . And if you’re entitled to your latest COVID-19 vaccination but haven’t yet had the opportunity to get it our vaccination van will also be at the event.
Northampton Commonwealth Games Batonbearers revealed
June 29, 2022
Northampton Commonwealth Games Batonbearers revealed
Community, safety and emergencies 29 June 2022 Nine Northamptonshire champions have been officially chosen as Batonbearers to run the Northampton leg of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay. The Batonbearers will join thousands of inspiring individuals across the UK and will carry the Baton along the Northampton route on Sunday, 10 July, starting at Marefair outside Sol Central ;and finishing at the University campus. Olympic Badminton Player Chloe Birch will be joining Jonathan Holmes, Joshua Lay, Rebecca Johnson and five others for this once in a lifetime opportunity ahead of the Birmingham 2022 opening ceremony. Speaking of her upcoming Batonbearer position, Chloe, 26, said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to be a Batonbearer before this year’s Commonwealth Games where I will be competing for Team England. “It’s so exciting having a huge Multi Sport Event in this country and I'm hoping we can showcase some great badminton over the two weeks of the Games to inspire the younger generation.” Chloe, who is currently ranked number 15 in the world, was nominated by Badminton England to become a Commonwealth Batonbearer and has several sporting achievements under her belt including competing in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics and winning the Women's Doubles Silver Medal at the 2019 European Games. She said: “I was a torchbearer before the London 2012 Olympics and it inspired me to make it to an Olympics, which I did last year. “I hope by sharing my story with others and running with the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, I can inspire others to take up badminton and sport in Northamptonshire.” Members of the public, schools and families are invited to attend a Queen’s Baton Relay celebration event at the University of Northampton Campus from 8am - midday. Cllr Adam Brown, WNC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for housing, culture and leisure, said: “We are very proud of the Batonbearers and the unique role they will be playing in representing our communities on this historic occasion. “It is a privilege to be a part of The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and we hope it will inspire young people across the county to get involved in sports - and even strive to be the sporting champions of the future. “We would like to invite people from across Northamptonshire to come and join us on Sunday, 10 July to celebrate the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay and give its Batonbearers an incredible welcome.”
Fresh call for people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations 
June 29, 2022
Fresh call for people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations 
Coronavirus (COVID-19) 29 June 2022 As COVID-19 infection cases rise in the county, the NHS is urging those who are eligible for vaccinations to come forward as soon as they can. People aged 75 or over or aged 12 and over with a weakened immune system are particularly being reminded to get a spring booster vaccine as soon as practically possible and get themselves protected. Getting a spring booster jab before the end of June will mean there will have been enough time between doses ahead of a further autumn dose to extend protection over winter, and against any possible resurgence in infection levels. Chris Pallot, Director of Northamptonshire COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “As we start to make our plans for the summer, I’m sure getting a vaccination isn’t automatically top priority – but it really ought to be. Now that cases are rising again it’s vital that everyone in Northamptonshire eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine gets their jab as soon as possible to get maximum protection. “If you know someone who’s eligible for a spring booster, or indeed a first, second dose or booster jab - please encourage them to get vaccinated now. “With thousands of people looking forward to trips and events this summer, the vaccine offers the best chance of reducing significant illness and ensuring plans can go ahead. “Ensuring children and young people, 5- to 15-year-olds, get both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine is also an important priority for the NHS. By getting vaccinated, children and young people can reduce the risk of passing on the infection to others in their family and those they come into contact with.” Northamptonshire’s mobile vaccination service, which has been visiting places around the county, will be at the following locations over the next week: Wednesday 29 June – Towcester Library, The Forum, Moat Lane, Towcester (9am to 5pm) Thursday 30 June – Deanshanger Library, Little London, Deanshanger (9am to 5pm) Friday 1 July to Sunday 3 July – Northampton Town Festival, The Racecourse, Kettering Road, Northampton (Friday: 5pm to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday:12pm to 7pm) The service is open for first and second doses (5+), first booster jabs (16+) and spring boosters (75+). There are also several drop-in clinics open this week around the county where no prior booking is necessary. Please check the vaccine offer, including age eligibility, at each session before travelling. Bookable appointments also continue to be open around Northamptonshire for first and second doses, boosters (including spring boosters if eligible) and third primary doses for those eligible. People can book an appointment online or call 119. Those who have recently recovered from COVID should still come forward for their vaccination, as having had the virus does not give the same levels of protection - and you can catch COVID-19 again. Anyone over 18 who has had COVID-19 will need to wait four weeks before having any dose of the vaccine, or 12 weeks for those aged 5 to 17.
West Northamptonshire residents urged to check travel plan ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix this weekend
June 28, 2022
West Northamptonshire residents urged to check travel plan ahead of the British Formula One Grand Prix this weekend
Community, safety and emergencies 28 June 2022 As hundreds of thousands of people prepare to visit West Northants for the British F1 GP at Silverstone, residents are being urged to familiarise themselves with the travel plan. The event runs from Thursday, 30 June to Sunday, 3 July and organisers expect an attendance of 400,000 across the four days with both race day and Saturday already sold out. As always, a one-way system will be introduced on the A43 between the M40 and M1 and extra traffic officers are patrolling the area to deal with any incidents. On Saturday and Sunday, the A43 will be close to through traffic at Silverstone and a one-way system put in place to allow racegoers to enter the circuit in the morning between 7am and 1pm, and then leave when the one-way system is reversed in the afternoon between 1pm and 8pm. A one-way system will be in place along the dualled section of the Dadford Road Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For latest details the Silverstone Circuit website, receive live updates via Radio Silverstone on 87.7FM or follow the Silverstone Twitter feed at @SilverstoneUK . There will be no disruption to bin collections as a result of the Grand Prix. However, residents in the south are asked to make sure their bins are out for 7am as collection crews may arrive at different times than usual due to the race traffic.
Celebrating Armed Forces Day
June 24, 2022
Celebrating Armed Forces Day
Culture and tourism 24 June 2022 Armed Forces Day 2022 Armed Forces Day takes place on Saturday 25 June. This annual, national event is a chance to show support for all those who make up the Armed Forces community, from serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets. West Northamptonshire Council has teamed up with Northampton Town Council to organise an event on Northampton Market Square from 11am – 4pm, to celebrate the ongoing contributions made by our Armed Forces communities. The event will begin with a flag-raising ceremony at 11am in front of Sessions House on George Row in Northampton, to be attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, the Vice-Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, the Mayor of Northampton and representatives from the Royal British Legion. Stalls from various armed forces communities and charities, including the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes will be present on the Market Square, along with music from the RAF Cadets band until 4pm. Cllr Dennis Meredith, the Mayor of Northampton, said: “We are wholly supportive of this event that supports our Armed Forces and enables them to continue the charitable causes they carry out, not just in our community of Northampton but around the world.” Armed Forces Day celebrations began on Monday 20 June, with the Armed Forces Day flag raised on buildings and famous landmarks around the country. The flag is currently flying at each main council building in West Northamptonshire. Councillor André González De Savage, Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “Armed Forces Day gives an opportunity to honour the invaluable work that our armed forces do both here in the UK and overseas. We are flying the Armed Forces Day flag to show just how proud we are of our military personnel, both past and present.” For more information about the Armed Forces Day event, please email [email protected] .
West Northamptonshire Council to discuss recommendations to change its number of councillors
June 23, 2022
West Northamptonshire Council to discuss recommendations to change its number of councillors
23 June 2022 The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is currently carrying out a review of the council’s size, wards and boundaries ahead of the authority’s next elections in 2025. The last electoral review in Northamptonshire took place in 2013 and WNC’s current electoral arrangements are based on those of the previous county council, with 93 councillors serving across 31 wards. LGBCE is running its review in two stages, firstly looking at the number of councillors, and then looking at how many wards there will be, and the names of those wards. As part of the first stage, councillors have been invited to submit their recommendations for the future number of elected members. Their submission, which has been prepared by a cross-party working group and will be considered by Full Council next Thursday (30 June), recommends a new council size of between 77 and 82 councillors, to ensure the democratic needs of residents are served as effectively as possible. The outcome of this first stage of the review will be known in late August, with the Commission then moving on to Stage Two to determine the new ward boundaries, which will involve consultation with residents throughout this autumn. The review is expected to end in late 2023, once the LGBCE has made its recommendations to government and an Order is laid in Parliament to change the legislation and make the new electoral arrangements. Councillor Suresh Patel, Chair of the Council’s Democracy Standards Committee and the Local Boundary Review Working Group said: “Our current electoral arrangements were imposed by the Structural Changes Order which initially created our council in April last year and this is the opportunity for us to advise the LGBCE of our own assessment of the right number of councillors we need to effectively represent communities, deliver council business and provide efficient governance. We are recommending the proposed range of 77 to 82 councillors however the final decision rests with the LGBCE which they will make in August then move on to reviewing the ward boundary arrangements. “Members have worked together across the political parties to prepare our draft submission, which looks at the all aspects of this review and its potential impact on our council and its communities and examines a range of factors, including things like the need for effective governance requirements, robust scrutiny and effective community leadership. “As part of the process we have fed in the views of both members and also residents who recently took part in the Big Conversation, expressing ideas on the council’s role, responsibilities and structure which may also lead to further changes in the way local councillors are supported to engage with their communities. “There will of course be further opportunities for residents to shape the process by taking part in the Commission’s public consultation on stage two, which is due to begin in late August and we will keep them updated in the process.”
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will meet next week to discuss recommendations to change its number of councillors as part of planned review into its future electoral arrangements.
June 23, 2022
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will meet next week to discuss recommendations to change its number of councillors as part of planned review into its future electoral arrangements.
23 June 2022 The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is currently carrying out a review of the council’s size, wards and boundaries ahead of the authority’s next elections in 2025. The last electoral review in Northamptonshire took place in 2013 and WNC’s current electoral arrangements are based on those of the previous county council, with 93 councillors serving across 31 wards. LGBCE is running its review in two stages, firstly looking at the number of councillors, and then looking at how many wards there will be, and the names of those wards. As part of the first stage, councillors have been invited to submit their recommendations for the future number of elected members. Their submission, which has been prepared by a cross-party working group and will be considered by Full Council next Thursday (30 June), recommends a new council size of between 77 and 82 councillors, to ensure the democratic needs of residents are served as effectively as possible. The outcome of this first stage of the review will be known in late August, with the Commission then moving on to Stage Two to determine the new ward boundaries, which will involve consultation with residents throughout this autumn. The review is expected to end in late 2023, once the LGBCE has made its recommendations to government and an Order is laid in Parliament to change the legislation and make the new electoral arrangements. Councillor Suresh Patel, Chair of the Council’s Democracy Standards Committee and the Local Boundary Review Working Group said: “Our current electoral arrangements were imposed by the Structural Changes Order which initially created our council in April last year and this is the opportunity for us to advise the LGBCE of our own assessment of the right number of councillors we need to effectively represent communities, deliver council business and provide efficient governance. We are recommending the proposed range of 77 to 82 councillors however the final decision rests with the LGBCE which they will make in August then move on to reviewing the ward boundary arrangements. “Members have worked together across the political parties to prepare our draft submission, which looks at the all aspects of this review and its potential impact on our council and its communities and examines a range of factors, including things like the need for effective governance requirements, robust scrutiny and effective community leadership. “As part of the process we have fed in the views of both members and also residents who recently took part in the Big Conversation, expressing ideas on the council’s role, responsibilities and structure which may also lead to further changes in the way local councillors are supported to engage with their communities. “There will of course be further opportunities for residents to shape the process by taking part in the Commission’s public consultation on stage two, which is due to begin in late August and we will keep them updated in the process.”
Make LibraryPlus your destination this summer
June 22, 2022
Make LibraryPlus your destination this summer
22 June 2022 On Saturday 9 July, Northamptonshire LibraryPlus is launching two exciting challenges which everyone can join in with. Children aged 4-11 years old are being asked to sign up to read six books this summer as part of Gadgeteers, Summer Reading Challenge 2022. The Summer Reading Challenge, which is produced by The Reading Agency and delivered in partnership with libraries, asks children to read, or listen to six books over the summer. This year the Reading Agency have teamed up with Science Museum Group for a very special science-themed Challenge that will inspire children to use their imagination and creativity! To take part in Gadgeteers, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library, where they will be given a collector’s poster to keep a record of their Summer Reading Challenge journey. As children read, or listen to, books they will receive special stickers, some with mysterious smells. By adding these stickers to their collectors poster, young readers will help the gadgeteers to understand the science behind a whole range of interests from fashion and technology to cooking and music. When they complete the challenge, they will receive a certificate and medal. There is also a whole programme of free, fun activities planned in libraries for families to take part in over the summer and you can book a place at your local library. But why should children have all the fun? Following the success of the award winning “For the Love of Books” adult reading challenge, LibraryPlus are also launching “For the Love of Books – Summer Six” on the 9 July. Adult readers can join the challenge to read six books over the summer, in LibraryPlus libraries, and if you want to broaden your reading horizons you can choose books from our six suggested categories. If you complete the challenge you can enter a prize draw to win a £20 voucher for bookshop.org which supports independent bookshops. It would be fantastic if teachers, parents and carers, and grandparents could take part in the Summer Six challenge and be reading role models for children taking part in Gadgeteers. As if this wasn’t enough, the second series of the LibraryPlus podcast “For the Love of Books – the LibraryPlus podcast” will run for the duration of the summer and is available from all major podcast platforms. There will be a new episode each month which celebrates books and reading, with guests who use books and reading in different ways. Guests this series include Read Easy, a national charity which provides free, confidential one-to-one reading coaching for adults, Hayley Barton, from the University of Northampton who is running an intergenerational reading project, and Northampton Association for the Blind. Cllr Helen Howell, North Northamptonshire Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “This year's theme - 'Gadgeteers' - will spark children's curiosity about the world around them, focusing on inspiring children to see the science and innovation behind everyday objects, showing that reading and science are for everyone. “The challenge and the accompanying book collection will show that imagination can unlock endless possibilities, and the local library is where this starts. “It’s also tremendously exciting that adults can now take part in the fun too. I look forward to hearing about just how many books our library goers get through in the coming months!” Cllr Adam Brown, West Northamptonshire Council's Deputy Leader, and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure, said: “Reading is both an essential skill and a fulfilling pastime, and activities like the Summer Reading Challenge aim to instil a love of books in people of all ages. “In the modern world it can be difficult to find time to sit down and get lost in a good book, however our LibraryPlus service offers a wide range of digital and audio books in addition to physical copies, ensuring that even more people are able to get involved with this fantastic challenge." Gadgeteers launches in libraries across Northamptonshire on Saturday 9 July, and runs until 17 September. For the Love of Books – Summer Six launches on 9 July and runs until 3 September.
New Northants firefighters enjoy passing out parade at Fire Service College
June 22, 2022
New Northants firefighters enjoy passing out parade at Fire Service College
Twelve new firefighters have made the grade after their passing out parade at the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh. The new recruits officially joined NFRS in April and were part of a cohort of 18 welcomed to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service at Darby House by Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold. Four of the new recruits have already been on-call for Northamptonshire and did not require training at the College, but the remaining fourteen have been put through their paces in the Cotswolds over the last eight weeks. Prior to that they been undergoing rigorous internal training under the watchful eyes of Tony Evans and Justin Abbott. On Friday (June 17) they were able to celebrate a key milestone in front of their friends and families as they culminated their two months of training at the College by officially becoming firefighters. The 12 recruits showed off their new skills by completing a drill simulating a fire on an oil rig, from which they had to rescue casualties and put out the fire. And after passing with flying colours, they were formally given their new epaulettes by Darren Dovey, watched by Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, before families were shown around the college. There was also a special award for Charlotte Cowley, who was presented with the Silver Axe for ‘Best New Recruit’ as voted for by her colleagues. Among those to pass out this month was Andy Roberts, who said: “It’s been amazing and one of the best times of my life and a real eye opener. We’ve pushed ourselves and our bodies to the limit, and it’s been everything I thought it would be and more. We’ve learned some really good life skills here as well. “I can’t wait now to go on the first call with my new watch and learn firsthand from them, it’s going to be amazing.” The 12 firefighters to ‘pass out’ on June 17 were Aaron Kelman, Alfie Pendred, Andy Roberts, Charlotte Cowley, Daniel Harding, Daniel Ireland, Daniel Nottage, David McBurnie, Dragan Stjepanovic, Kajetan Maczka, Kieran Davies and Michael Richardson-Moore. Ashley Lawrence and Charles Rock, meanwhile, will have their parade on July 1.
New planning guidance aims to help shape future employment sites
June 22, 2022
New planning guidance aims to help shape future employment sites
Planning policy and heritage 22 June 2022 Residents will be given the opportunity to help shape extra guidance for land allocated for business development in the south Northamptonshire area, under proposals going to councillors next week. At its meeting next Tuesday (28 June), members of West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Planning Policy Committee will consider plans to seek people’s views on a new draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for employment land allocations, which would sit alongside the South Northamptonshire Local Plan Part 2 to help inform decision-making on planning applications. The draft SPD aims to provide greater detail and certainty to the public and developers by setting out overarching design principles for the future development of the employment sites identified in the Local Plan, including guidance relating to size, scale and density of buildings. At their meeting next week the Planning Policy Committee will decide whether to launch a six-week public consultation this summer to gauge people’s views on the draft SPD, which will include a series of local drop-in sessions where residents can find out more. Cllr Rebecca Breese, WNC's Cabinet Member for strategic planning, built environment and rural affairs, said: “These employment sites are extremely important for the continued economic development of the area, to provide jobs and prosperity which will allow people to continue living and working in West Northamptonshire rather than going elsewhere. “But it is so important for us to have clear and robust planning guidance in place for the appropriate, future development of these sites. This SPD will go a long way towards supporting our existing planning policies with further detail and will be a material consideration in our future decision-making.”
West Northamptonshire Council launches a review into Northampton’s Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
June 21, 2022
West Northamptonshire Council launches a review into Northampton’s Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
21 June 2022 A review into the way the council deals with HMOs has been launched in response to concerns about the concentration of this type of housing in Northampton. HMOs are occupied by people who do not form a single household, who share facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms, and reside at the property as their main residence. Commonly, this including bedsits and shared houses. There are currently about 1,300 hundred registered HMOs in Northampton, which campaigners claim have a detrimental effect on the local community. Issues raised include general poor maintenance, rubbish being a fire hazard - and streets crammed with parked cars. Cllr Adam Brown, deputy leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “The aim of the Council’s Multiple Occupation (HMOs) review is to thoroughly investigate the issues concerning housing of this nature within West Northamptonshire. It will include a robust analysis of current policies concerning HMOs in Northampton, alongside looking at ways we can use best practice from elsewhere in the country. "As part of the review we will also be gathering comprehensive evidence and information from a range of stakeholders, including landlords; tenants; estate and letting agents; residents and residents associations; university and colleges; businesses; students; and key workers. "Once all this information has been gathered, a draft report will be prepared, with a further opportunity for stakeholders to then give their views. Recommendations will then be made to the Planning Policy Committee and we are expecting a conclusion in the Autumn." The review was originally announced last year and should have been completed in April. Cllr Adam Brown added: "We wanted to get the review started as quickly as possible, but we're also aware of the fact that it needs to be done as thoroughly and as well as it can possibly be done in order to deliver the results that will have the faith of the public. "There's never any point in rushing through an inadequate process and leaving people unsatisfied with the results at the end of it all."
Return of Merged Futures event showcases visionary digital technology
June 21, 2022
Return of Merged Futures event showcases visionary digital technology
Business support 21 June 2022 Becoming immersed in virtual reality, exploring competitive video gaming simulation racing, and getting a grip on how artificial intelligence is helping to improve road safety were just some of the digital delights on offer at the return of a showcase technology event. Merged Futures brought together experts in emerging technologies to explore the potential to further develop and innovate for the benefit of the county’s businesses, students and residents. The annual event was organised by Digital Northants, a collaboration between the University of Northampton, North and West Northamptonshire Councils and local businesses. A celebration of Northamptonshire’s innovators, creatives and entrepreneurs, Merged Futures brought together people from different sectors interested in digital, tech and innovation to share and spark ideas. The first in-person Merged Futures took place in 2019 on campus at the University of Northampton, moving online and attracting a global audience in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. This year’s event was once again held at the University of Northampton’s Waterside campus. Cllr David Howes, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive member for Rural Communities and Localism, said: “The digital economy is so important in terms of driving prosperity and connecting communities. I’m proud that this authority can play a part in supporting such a worthwhile initiative. “I’m delighted to see this flagship digital event taking place for the fourth year in a row – showcasing the digital talent on offer locally. “This is an excellent collaboration between the public and private sectors and an exciting way of stimulating connections to drive forward the economy and find creative solutions to a range of issues.” Cllr Daniel Lister, West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, said: “The pace of innovation and change is such that events like this are not a ‘nice to have.’ We’re in the midst of revolution in the way we communicate, work and play and if you’re not up to date you will be left behind. “That’s the same if you’re a business, an industry sector or economic region, and it’s up to us as local authorities and business leaders to provide a platform to showcase and share great ideas.” Experts were on hand to provide insight into how new technology, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, can enhance the work of different sectors, including business, healthcare and education. The event was also a valuable opportunity for connections between companies and educators with those interested in implementing digital transformation in their business or organisation. John Sinclair, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology, said: “The University is proud to have hosted the Digital Northants Merged Futures conference again this year, bringing together industry and academia to look at new applications of digital technologies in industry, transport, business, culture and more. “This year, we welcomed representatives from local businesses such as VR Therapies, Toru Digital and Spokes Education as well as being joined by international technology innovator, Sony. “In its fourth year, Merged Futures has gone from strength to strength, proving to be an invaluable opportunity not only to promote local but nationally important, innovative projects and initiatives taking place within the county.”
Employment park plans to proceed after Government review
June 21, 2022
Employment park plans to proceed after Government review
21 June 2022 Plans for a new employment park north-west of the A43 at Towcester will go ahead, after the Government decided not to examine them in more detail. The application for land to the east of Tiffield Road to the north west of the A43 Towcester (also known as AL3) was formally put on hold by the Secretary of State for further review in March this year. The move came after West Northamptonshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee was minded to approve outstanding access and highways matters for the application, which had already been agreed in principle by planners at the former South Northants Council before the new unitary council was formed. On Thursday (16 June), following a wait of more than three months, the Council was finally notified by the Government that it had decided not to ‘call in’ the application for further review and examination, meaning that the decision to approve the scheme should now proceed and the council is obliged to issue the formal approval. In the letter to the Council, officials from the Government’s Planning Casework Unit said the Secretary of State had decided not to call in this application and ‘is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority.’ Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “Having taken over three months to come to a decision it is clear the government have been thorough in their consideration of the application. By deciding not to call in the application for examination, an option that was open to them, the Government has made it clear that we must now continue to proceed with the remaining stages of the planning approval process, with no other options now available. “We know there is much strong feeling surrounding this planning application and that many people have been waiting for the past three months whilst the Secretary of State considered it to find out the outcome. “Having inherited an application that the previous local authority had effectively granted permission on, a decision based on existing policies in the South Northants local plan, we continue to work with developers and residents to ensure we get appropriate development in the right places in the future, providing clarity and guidance that will assist all parties.”
Windrush Day 2022: When is it and how will it be marked in West Northamptonshire?
June 21, 2022
Windrush Day 2022: When is it and how will it be marked in West Northamptonshire?
21 June 2022 Windrush Day will be celebrated this year on June 22 with a flag raising ceremony at midday in front of the Guildhall. The national standard Windrush flag will be raised to mark 74 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in London - where the generation of Caribbean immigrants got their name. Invitees will see the Windrush Flag raised and hear from guest speakers including Bishop Donovan Allen. Later that day at 6pm there will be a service of Reflection, Prayer and Praise at the New Testament Church of God in Northampton. West Northamptonshire Council has teamed up with Northampton Town Council to organise the events to celebrate the contributions to society made by the Northampton’s Windrush generation and their descendants. Windrush Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom every year on June 22 to mark the arrival of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the shores of Britain and honour the British Caribbean community. An estimated half a million people made their way to England after the Second World War. The Windrush carried several hundred Caribbean migrants, many of them veterans of the Second World War, who were encouraged to migrate to Britain to address shortages in the labour market. Many more followed suit from all over the Commonwealth after the war and became known as the Windrush generation. Councillor Dennis Meredith, Mayor of Northampton, will attend the event. He said: “It is so important we celebrate and acknowledge our Windrush generation, to honour the British Caribbean community here in Northampton and across the country for the contribution they and their descendants have made in rebuilding our society after the Second World War.” Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, Councillor Jonathan Nunn, said: “The legacy of the Windrush generation means so much to so many. I am delighted we are celebrating the fifth annual National Windrush Day on June 22nd this year in Northampton. It is extremely important to mark the outstanding contributions that the Windrush Generation and their descendants have made, and continue to make, to British Society, including West Northants.” If members of the public would like to attend either event, please email [email protected]
Are you West Northamptonshire’s Business of the Year?
June 20, 2022
Are you West Northamptonshire’s Business of the Year?
Business support 20 June 2022 In a bid to find the stand-out business of its area, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has sponsored a brand-new category in the 2022 Northants Business Awards. The awards, organised by the Northants Chamber of Commerce, are an annual celebration of the best businesses from throughout the county. This year, WNC has sponsored The West Northamptonshire Business of the Year Award. This award recognises businesses located in West Northamptonshire which have contributed to the local economy and demonstrated business growth. The judges are looking for business that have successfully implemented marketing and business strategy, business growth, community involvement, people development and exceptional customer service. Cllr Daniel Lister, WNC Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth, said: “This area is home to thousands of successful businesses, with local people willing to pour their heart and soul into their enterprise, delivering innovation and growth to create a prosperous society. “As a community leader I am proud to see WNC backing these awards to amplify the success of our home-grown business talent and raise awareness of the quality employers in our area.” Louise Wall, Interim CEO at the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce said “These prestigious Northamptonshire Business Awards recognise and celebrate the very best of business from across our local community. “It’s vital we continue to shout and scream about the tremendous businesses we have in our region that continue to adapt, overcome and ultimately thrive. “This year is a very special year with the introduction of our new ‘West Northamptonshire Business of the Year Award’ and we are delighted that West Northamptonshire Council immediately welcomed the opportunity to sponsor this brand new category. “It’s great testimony for these awards to be supported by local government and demonstrates how importantly West Northamptonshire Council champion and promote local business engagement” Entries for the awards close on Friday 1 July. To review the categories and to enter the awards, visit the Northants Chamber Business Awards page.
Public asked to have their say on modifications to Northampton’s Local Plan
June 17, 2022
Public asked to have their say on modifications to Northampton’s Local Plan
Planning policy and heritage 17 June 2022 Examination of the Northampton Local Plan Part 2 continues as West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) prepares for a six-week public consultation on proposed modifications. The Local Plan Part 2 is a major planning policy document that will help guide planning decisions throughout Northampton up to 2029. Following public hearings in November 2021, the Government appointed Planning Inspectors have recommended some modifications, before the Plan can be adopted by WNC. A consultation on those modifications will start next month if Planning Policy Committee (28 June 2022) approves this next step. Only comments on the modifications to the Local Plan Part 2 and the associated Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessments can be considered. The modifications comprise: Main modifications – These are required to make the plan ‘sound’. They involve changes or insertions to policies and text that are essential to enable the plan to be adopted. Any comments on these will be considered by the Planning Inspectors. Additional Modifications – these are spelling, grammar, presentational changes and comments which will be considered by WNC. These do not affect the soundness of the plan. Changes to the maps – alterations including boundary changes and deallocations which will also be considered by WNC. These do not affect the soundness of the plan The Local Plan Part 2 is a major piece of work which started in May 2016 and is now nearing its final stages. For more information on the examination process, visit - Northampton Local Plan Part 2 Submission & Examination .
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner announces preferred candidate for Chief Fire Officer role
June 17, 2022
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner announces preferred candidate for Chief Fire Officer role
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has announced Mark Jones as his preferred candidate as Chief Fire Officer of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. Mark Jones (pictured above) is currently Chief Fire Officer of the South Australian Country Fire Service. His appointment is now subject to confirmation by the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel, which will take place in the next few weeks. The announcement of Mark Jones as preferred candidate follows a challenging selection process. The candidates took part in two days of activities, where they presented to, and took questions from, senior members of partner organisations, before participating in a ‘question time’ event with firefighters and staff. The candidates then faced a formal interview panel, from which Stephen Mold has identified his preferred candidate. Stephen said: “I am delighted to announce that following this testing process, Mark Jones was unanimously the preferred candidate to take over the role of Chief Fire Officer of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service. Mark is an experienced and accomplished Chief Fire Officer and is an ideal choice to take our service forward. “Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has made great progress since 2019, improving its performance and the way it keeps the people of Northamptonshire safe beyond all recognition. I have no doubt that Mark Jones is the right person to take NFRS forward into the next stage of its development, creating a positive, welcoming culture, embracing change, and taking the undoubted skills of the firefighters and staff to build on the already significant work they do in the broader community safety arena. “The Police and Crime Panel will now consider whether or not to approve my preferred candidate and I look forward to taking my recommendation to them.” Mark Jones said: “Like all UK emergency services, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is in a period of evolutionary change and it is an exciting prospect to be part of a team that will continue to deliver top-quality safety services to the people of Northamptonshire. “The Fire Service has achieved much with tight resources over many years and that is testament to the professionalism of the men and women who dedicate themselves to their roles. My current service is fantastic and I know that the people I have met from NFRS show the same commitment, passion and dedication to public safety and public service. “I would like to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold and the members of the selection process for giving me the opportunity to lead Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and I would be honoured to serve the people of Northamptonshire.” If Mark Jones is confirmed as the next Chief Fire Officer, he will take over the reins when Darren Dovey retires from the post in October this year. About Mark Jones Mark joined Grampian Fire Brigade in 1985 and after working in various roles was appointed as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in Essex in 2005, and then became Chief Fire Officer of Buckinghamshire in 2010. After leaving Buckinghamshire in 2015, Mark moved to Australia and served as the ACT Emergency Services Agency’s ‘Director of Strategic Reform’ for two years. He served as the London Ambulance Service’s Head of Resilience and Specialist Assets in 2019 before returning to Australia, taking on the role of Chief Officer of the South Australian Country Fire Service. Among his achievements he commanded the response to the largest ever series of bushfires in South Australia’s history. Mark has worked in a wide range of senior operational and strategic leadership roles. He has managed large scale emergencies, events and terror related incidents, and his career has spanned roles in emergency planning and disaster management, operational Fire Command, Fire Safety and Training. Mark has shown a particular professional interest in the fields of fairness, equality, and diversity, and these were his key responsibilities as he served as an Inspector in Her Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland in the early 2000s. He also worked on the ‘Women in Emergency Services’ project in Canberra, which saw a significant increase in the recruitment of women into the ACT’s Fire and Rescue Service.
West Northamptonshire to celebrate Refugee Week 2022
June 17, 2022
West Northamptonshire to celebrate Refugee Week 2022
Community, safety and emergencies 17 June 2022 West Northants will celebrate Refugee Week from Monday with a number of events to raise awareness of issues affecting asylum seekers and the local support available to them. Throughout the week of 20 to 26 June, events will take place at the University of Northampton, Delapre Abbey and online, with a full programme of speakers and presentations also planned at the Guildhall on Thursday, 23 June. The activities will showcase all the support available to refugees in West Northamptonshire, whose communities have welcomed hundreds of individuals and families fleeing persecution from places including the Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria. Recent resettlement schemes have included supporting the arrival and community care needs of nearly 400 Afghan nationals and more than 290 local people coming forward as sponsors for Ukrainian families as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Diverse Communities Forum will be hosting the event in the Guildhall alongside Town of Sanctuary, from 4pm to 6pm, with stalls from organisations including Red Cross, DWP and Quakers. There will also be a short film and a photo exhibition from L2L during the event and presentations and stories from refugees that have settled in Northants. Cllr David Smith, WNC Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement and regulatory Services, said: "West Northants is an incredibly welcoming place and we’re always astounded by people’s community spirit and their willingness to help others – something which has been particularly evident during the recent Afghan and Ukrainian resettlement Programmes. "Refugee Week provides an opportunity for us all to reflect upon the courage of refugees across the world who have been forced from their homes and countries to escape conflict, and to extend the hand of friendship to anyone in need. "I hope that people will join us for this important programme of events and take the opportunity to learn about the stories of refugees who have joined our communities." Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement. Through a programme of arts, cultural, sports and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns, Refugee Week enables people from different backgrounds to connect beyond labels, as well as encouraging understanding of why people are displaced, and the challenges they face when seeking safety. This Refugee Week explores the theme of ‘Healing’ and celebrates community, mutual care, and the human ability to start again through creativity and conversations.
Council publishes ‘specification’ for new special needs school in West Northamptonshire
June 16, 2022
Council publishes ‘specification’ for new special needs school in West Northamptonshire
Schools and education 16 June 2022 Proposals for a 250-place special needs school took a step forward this week after West Northants Council (WNC) published more details for academies who might bid to run it. The new school will be an ‘all-through SEND’ school, meaning it will cater for children of all ages with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Specifically, it will cater for pupils with autistic spectrum condition (ASC), speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), and severe learning difficulties (SLD). The old St John’s site in Tiffield has emerged as a possible location for the school and it is hoped it will see its first intake in September 2024. Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC’s Cabinet Member for children, families and education, said: “The pressure for SEND places is intense. “As they are, mainstream schools simply do not have the capacity to take on more SEND pupils and the private sector in the county has also reached its limit. “And sending children across county borders is not the best for them and in the longer term, not financially sustainable. “There’s a well-regulated process which we must now follow, but I would urge anyone with the necessary skills and experience to study these specifications and step forward to support your community.” The plan for a new special school is just one of two phases within WNC’s SEND sufficiency strategy which will also see the establishment of 259 places within SEND units attached to mainstream schools and extensions to existing special schools located within West Northants. The publication of the Proposed New Designated Free Special School Specification follows the start of the ‘free school presumption’ process in May 2022 during which the council gained broad support for the new from the special education sector in the region.
One month to go until the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay visits West Northants!
June 16, 2022
One month to go until the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay visits West Northants!
Community, safety and emergencies 16 June 2022 People wanting to cheer the Batonbearers as the Relay makes its way across the town during its final journey through England this summer now have the first glimpse of the route it will take. The Relay will begin at Marefair outside Sol Central at 8am, before travelling up Gold Street and on to George Row, then into St Giles Square before a photo shoot outside the Guildhall. The Baton will then travel down Guildhall Road, St Johns Street, Swan Street, across Victoria Promenade and on to Beckets Park, across the new pedestrian bridge and into the University of Northampton campus, ending at University Drive at approximately 8:30am. The West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) Active Lives Team are working alongside local partners to coordinate a celebration event following the baton relay to embrace the arrival of the Baton and experience the buzz of Birmingham 2022 in the community. The event will be a collaboration of local partners and community groups, which in turn will raise awareness of local services and activities for communities to access. Members of the public, schools and families are invited to get involved and join the celebration event which will take place at University Drive from 8am - midday. Some of the partners in attendance on the day include Public Health, Northampton Saints, Trilogy Leisure, Northampton Rowing Club, Peak Empower, Northamptonshire County Cricket Club and others. There will also be a range of activities planned for the day. Cllr Adam Brown, WNC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for housing, culture and leisure, said: "We would like to invite people from across Northamptonshire to come and join us on Sunday, 10 July to celebrate the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay and give its Batonbearers an incredible welcome. "We’ve designed the route through the town centre to include plenty of space for people to come along and cheer on the Relay as it makes its journey to the University. "It is certainly not an event to miss and a chance for the people of Northamptonshire to be a part of this historic occasion." The Queen’s Baton Relay is set to travel the length and breadth of England for a total of 29 days, before culminating at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022 on July 28. The relay in England was kicked off last year on Thursday, 2 June when the Baton spent four days in London, coinciding with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend. The Baton then resumed its international journey across the Commonwealth, which began in Cyprus in October of last year, and returns to England on Monday, July 4 to start a 25-day tour of the regions. Thousands of Batonbearers, each with inspiring backgrounds and stories, will have the honour of carrying the Baton during the journey through England. Batonbearers were nominated in recognition of their contributions to their local community and being an inspiration to others.
Bike park plans On Track for completion this summer
June 15, 2022
Bike park plans On Track for completion this summer
Health, leisure and parks 15 June 2022 Contractor On Track has made great progress on the new Northampton Bike Park as we reach the halfway point of the build. The £725k project will deliver a range of facilities for all ranges of ability, from a skills area usable by children on balance bikes, right up to the most demanding trails for experts in the sport, all of them free to use. Mountain bike enthusiast and amateur competitor, Tony Skirrow, has been part of the project from the outset and he’s very excited by the plans. "I was really pleased when it was announced that we had the funding for a bike park and while I had an idea of what was needed, this is beyond my wildest dreams," he said. "This will allow people of all ages and abilities to take part in the sport and as well as being a fantastic facility for the people who live here, it will be a major draw for the area. "Mountain bikers currently have to travel around an hour and a half to reach the closest facility but soon they’ll have one of the best of its type in the country right on their doorstep." Completion is expected during August and, once complete, the new facility will comprise: A multi-user green trail – an easy, dual-direction cycle route across the site, connecting Houghton Hill to the underpass for the A45 Blue (moderate), red (difficult) and black (severe) off-road mountain bike trails for different abilities - dual tracks will allow head-to-head riding Five gathering spots where riders can meet to discuss the next section of track, and coaching can be provided A mountain bike skills area Cllr Adam Brown is Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure at West Northamptonshire Council. He said: “We’re so excited to be delivering a facility in partnership with Sport England and British Cycling that will benefit people of any age and ability, and which might one day produce some stars of the sport. "It’s incredibly important that we try and boost leisure opportunities for people in our area, and everyone in West Northamptonshire can benefit from this huge asset. "If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s how precious our physical and mental health are, so we need more developments of this type." The total budget is made up of £250,000 from Sport England, on behalf of the Places to Ride programme – a partnership between British Cycling, Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) – with the rest from the council.
Cost-of living support for West Northants’ most vulnerable residents receives the go ahead by councillors
June 15, 2022
Cost-of living support for West Northants’ most vulnerable residents receives the go ahead by councillors
Community, safety and emergencies 15 June 2022 In line with the council’s recently approved Anti-Poverty Strategy, pensioners, families facing financial hardship, and older people with disabilities in West Northamptonshire will benefit financially from a second tranche of the Household Support Fund. At West Northamptonshire Council's (WNC) Cabinet Meeting last night (14 June), councillors agreed how to best use the fund within the scope set out by government ministers. Previous funding has supported households with food, energy and water costs, and this extension will ensure that this support continues through to the end of September. The £2,599,628 from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be distributed by WNC and is earmarked to target the most vulnerable households and individuals in the area. A third of the funding is ring-fenced to support families with children, while another third is firmly dedicated to pensioners. This ensures the people who need it most will continue to receive vital support to meet essential household costs. WNC will work with more than 30 local voluntary and community groups and organisations to ensure the remaining third of the funding goes to those households in severe financial hardship and most need of help towards significantly rising living costs. The money will be distributed, via various packages, to families and individuals in specific financial hardship over the course of the summer period. Families who are eligible for free school meals are set to receive £20 per week food vouchers during the summer holiday and eligible households suffering severe financial hardship will get a £100 food voucher in a bid to offset the recent increases in food and fuel costs. Over 6,500 pensioners receiving Pension Credit will also receive £100, with an additional Pension Credit Top Up of £50 for pensioners with severe disabilities. The second allocation of the government’s Household Support Fund will be shared as follows: £20 per week food vouchers to go to 10,530 children, the intention being to cover the holiday period for children on school meals. School meal payments are expected to be made direct to parents via the schools a couple of weeks before the start of the holidays. £100 payment voucher for 6,500 residents who receive Pension Credit. Residents do not need to apply for this and will be advised by post during July using the Pension Credit system. Pension Credit Top Up for pensioners with severe disabilities - £50 payment for each registered recipient of this benefit. There is also no need to apply for this and those eligible will be advised by post in July using the Pension Credit system. The Council will partner up with over 30 local voluntary and community organisations to distribute approximately £865,000 of hardship payments to the most vulnerable households across West Northamptonshire this summer, as part of a wider approach to support communities with the cost of living crisis. Work is currently taking place to shape arrangements with the community and voluntary sector, and residents are encouraged to look out for further information in the coming weeks. Matt Golby, WNC's Cabinet Member for adult social care and public health, said: "Our vision at the council is for everyone to be able to live their best life, free from poverty and inequality. "The cost-of-living crisis is extremely challenging, and this further allocation of the Household Fund ensures the most vulnerable members of our community will continue to receive vital support to meet essential household costs. "We are working with a range of partners including schools and local voluntary organisations on arrangements to ensure this funding is received by those who need it most this summer. "Further details on these arrangements will be publicised in the coming weeks but pensioners, families facing financial hardship, and older people with disabilities will receive the financial support they need.”
Planning referendum taking place in Pitsford next week
June 14, 2022
Planning referendum taking place in Pitsford next week
Councillors and democracy 14 June 2022 Residents of Pitsford will go to the polls next week to decide whether they agree with proposed neighbourhood development plans for their area. The referendum in Pitsford on Thursday, 16 June will ask residents whether West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) should use their neighbourhood development plan to help decide future planning applications in their area. If more than 50 per cent of those who vote are in favour of the plan, then WNC is required to consider The Pitsford Neighbourhood Plan when deciding any future planning applications in the village. Cllr Rebecca Breese, WNC’s Cabinet Member for strategic planning, built environment and rural affairs, said: “A neighbourhood plan does not prevent development taking place, but it can give communities a stronger voice so that when development does come along, it meets the needs of existing, as well as new residents and businesses. "The Parish Council Working Party have carried out a huge amount of work, involved as many people as possible, leafletted every home, and nursed their plan through an independent examination. I would urge everyone registered to vote in Pitsford to support that hard work and make your voice heard during the referendum." Village residents can cast their vote at Pitsford Village Hall between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, 16 June. This development plan has been subject to public consultation before being reviewed by an independent examiner, who recommended that it goes to a referendum. For more details, including the public consultation and the examiner’s recommendation, visit Neighbourhood Development Plans (Daventry) .
Funds from Sixfields loan recovered
June 13, 2022
Funds from Sixfields loan recovered
13 June 2022 West Northamptonshire Council has recovered almost £466k by selling a property previously owned by Christina Cardoza , the wife of former Northampton Town Football Club Chairman David Cardoza. In 2013 Northampton Borough Council (NBC) loaned £10.25m to the club for construction of a new East Stand, but in 2014 it became apparent that most of the money had been misappropriated. Through its investigations, NBC traced some of the funds back to the Cardozas and in January 2019 High Court action enabled the council to register a charge against property owned by the family. Christina Cardoza was given until June 2021 to pay what she owed. In April 2021 West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) became responsible for pursuing the funds as part of a merger of the former borough, district and county councils in Northamptonshire. Mrs Cardoza failed to make payment by the deadline and chose to leave the property in Eastbourne rather than incur the further expense of possession proceedings. WNC sold the property for £765k and to complete the sale in the buyer’s timeline and to avoid the risk of losing the sale – council Leader, Cllr Jonathan Nunn, used his executive powers to approve the sale. Following payment of just over £300k outstanding on the mortgage, WNC received almost £466k, which will be paid against the inherited Sixfields loan debt. Cllr Nunn said: “The situation with the property sale moved quickly and it was important that we acted to accept the offer and ensure the greatest level of return. “We certainly won’t be attempting to claim a big victory around this, as the appropriate governance should have been in place to ensure it never went missing in the first place, but I can assure people that much better governance and diligence is in place. “There have also been legal and other costs involved in recovering money, of course. Nevertheless, we hope that people will be glad to know that further public money has recently been recovered.” A report on the sale, which provides full details of the decision, will be brought to WNC’s Cabinet on Tuesday 14 June.
Grow your business with new e-commerce app
June 13, 2022
Grow your business with new e-commerce app
13 June 2022 Businesses across West Northamptonshire are encouraged to sign-up for a new e-commerce and tourism app to boost footfall, increase local spend, and shine a spotlight on everything our area has to offer. West Northamptonshire Council has worked with award-winning technology company Bubltown to create the new ExploreWN app. The app is set to be launched later this summer, but businesses are invited to sign-up to it for free now, so they can set up their profile on the app and be ready to engage with customers from day one. Funded by the Welcome Back Fund with the aim of helping businesses recover from the pandemic and return to growth, the platform offers a digital showcase for local businesses and attractions It is free for any West Northamptonshire business to join and use, and allows them to create a profile, raise their reputation, boost their brand and increase sales. The app will give residents easy access to local goods, services and discounts right on their doorstep and will include features to promote events, walking routes and local attractions. Councillor Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development & Town Centre Regeneration said: “This is a powerful platform which will provide businesses with the support they need to thrive in a more digital future as well as enhance the local quality of life, grow the local economy and support our vision of a thriving West Northamptonshire . “We are dedicated to supporting businesses to grow, create jobs and prosper in this area. West Northants has the perfect combination of rural and urban offers and ExploreWN is going to showcase every hidden gem and reason to visit, shop and spend in our area.” Businesses can find out more and sign up for free by visiting https://join.explorewn.co.uk
Huge boost for business, skills and communities
June 13, 2022
Huge boost for business, skills and communities
13 June 2022 West Northamptonshire Council has been allocated more than £7m in funding from the Government to boost the local economy over the next three years. The money will be used to improve people’s life chances, increase skills, create stronger communities, and support local businesses. It is made up of £5.4m from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the largest allocation in the South East Midlands, and a potential allocation of up to £1.9m in Multiply funding, which both replace previous strands of European social funding. The Shared Prosperity Fund is intended to: Boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector Spread opportunities and improve public services Restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging Empower local leaders and communities Multiply funding is specifically targeted at improving numeracy as better education in this area has been shown to improve people’s chances of progressing their careers. Its allocation is dependent on a robust business case. Its primary aims are to: Result in more adults achieving maths qualifications Improve outcomes for employers Increase general numeracy levels The council will work with partners and providers to develop proposals to deliver these funds which will have the greatest beneficial impact for West Northamptonshire and support the local community. Cllr Dan Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth, said: “This money will help us ensure that residents, businesses and communities in West Northamptonshire have the support they need to grow and adapt to our changing economic landscape. “In collaboration with stakeholders, community groups and local partners, we will analyse the greatest needs for West Northamptonshire and develop proposals to best address the opportunities using these funding pots. “We are dedicated to supporting and growing the local economy, particularly as it recovers from the pandemic. It is the vision for WNC to deliver economic prosperity in this area, making it a place where everyone will thrive.”
New highways contract to deliver improvements from this autumn
June 13, 2022
New highways contract to deliver improvements from this autumn
Parking, roads and transport 13 June 2022 Residents should start seeing immediate improvements to roads and signage in West Northamptonshire when the new highways service launches this autumn, according to proposals set out by Council’s preferred contractor. Cleaning road signs, removing vegetation, replacing worn road markings and providing better updates and information to residents, parish councils and businesses are among the plans for the first few months of the new highways maintenance contract, agreed between the council and the contractor, when it starts this September. Under the new contract with Kier, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) will deliver a brand new service with priorities and requirements specifically tailored to West Northamptonshire and a fresh flexibility to meet the changing priorities of the council and needs of its community. The Council is increasing investment to the service by more than £1million per year, and will also have greater control, putting in place its own contract management team to monitor performance, which will include clear, strong goals for improving customer focus and providing value for money. In the run-up this summer, WNC will be working with Kier on developing and agreeing a programme of work for the first 100 days of the service, which will then lay firm foundations for continuous improvements. The new contractor has also set a commitment to working with the Council on its sustainability goals to achieve net zero by 2030, including ensuring its fleet of vehicles are either ultra-low emissions or run using alternative fuels as well as plans to pilot future green solutions such as hydrogen. Kier has also pledged to create additional social value benefits equivalent to 30 per cent of the annual contract budget to benefit the wider West Northants community and economy, including ensuring at least 70 per cent of supply chain spending is with local businesses and SMEs by the end of the first year, employing 10 per cent of the workforce as local graduates and apprentices, providing work opportunities for young people not in employment, education or training and increasing the number of employees with disabilities year on year. The new contract will run for seven years, with the potential to extend to a maximum of 14 years, based on performance and quality of the service. The decision for West Northamptonshire was made under delegated authority by the Council’s Executive Director Place, Economy and Environment and Executive Director Finance, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste Services, and the Portfolio Holder for Finance, using a necessarily rigorous process. WNC has worked closely with NNC on the process for procuring the new highways contracts, which started in November 2020 and has involved several selection stages to narrow down and shortlist prospective suppliers. The highways contract will also be the subject for discussion at the forthcoming meeting on the WNC Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which will be held at 6pm on 28 June. Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Council Leader, said: "Procuring a highways contract is an extremely complex process and is heavily controlled and regulated as we must adhere to strict, procurement regulations. The process started over 18 months ago, with councillors setting and agreeing the way in which the procurement route would be undertaken, but then they are required to stand back as that process is strictly adhered to. The whole process is highly confidential to ensure the outcome cannot be pre-judged, with only myself and our Highways Cabinet Member being informed of the successful bidder on the same day of the decision, which was just a couple of hours before the result was then publicly announced. "However as soon as we were aware we immediately arranged for all elected members to be briefed on the process at the earliest opportunity, and also for our Scrutiny Committee to examine it as soon as they can, which will be 28th June. "Flexibility to change and address residents’ priorities with a positive attitude, stronger contract management, and more investment make this a better contract for West Northants than the previous contract, but we’ll be reporting the performance of the contract on a quarterly basis publicly at our Cabinet meetings. "And we want people to see a real difference when this new contract starts, so we’re working with Kier to come up with a plan that makes sure that they do."
Northampton Music Festival supporting new music
June 09, 2022
Northampton Music Festival supporting new music
Community, safety and emergencies 09 June 2022 The band Blackjack entertaining last year's festival crowd. Supporting new music and up and coming artists is at the heart of Northampton Music Festival which is set to bring a day of free live music to the town centre on Sunday, 19 June. The festival will see 61 acts perform across eight locations throughout the town centre, with genres from rock to opera, world music to jazz and more. Festival Director Graham Roberts said: "I’ve been a part of the music industry for more than 35 years as both a performer, teacher and as director of Northampton Music Festival for the past five year. I’m passionate that new artists should be supported and given professional practice through the experience of taking part in a festival, together with the challenge of playing to a large audience, possibly for the first time. "Feedback from previous festivals show that this free entry festival is of great benefit to both artists and the general public who may not otherwise be in a position to afford to attend a large live music event. "The increased footfall has also benefited the town centre, the whole purpose of the festival!" Kerrie Cosh, Presenter of BBC Music Introducing in Northampton, which was created to support unsigned, undiscovered and under the radar musicians, has worked with the festival to curate part of the line-up of the Main Stage on the Market Square. Kerrie said: "We are delighted to be working with Northampton Music Festival once again to showcase a wide range of talent from within our county. "Northampton is a melting pot of diverse and multi-talented artists - and we’re always discovering new musicians we're desperate to share with music lovers. "We can’t wait to bring that energy to the Market Square stage this year." Headlining the Main Stage will be Northampton-based band Sarpa Salpa – a band that has been championed by BBC Introducing. The band first performed at Northampton Music Festival on the BBC Introducing stage in 2018 and, with their current single ‘Dreaming’ receiving critical acclaim, they have now progressed to headlining the entire festival. Sarpa Salpa frontman Marcus Marooth said: "Having grown up in Northampton, I always used to look out for all the events we could try and get a slot for and festivals were always top of the list! "There are some fantastic festivals in Northampton that we’ve been lucky enough to play at, and to be invited to headline NMF22 is really great! "We can’t wait to get out there and give it everything we’ve got!” New and emerging talent will also be celebrated on the Student Showcase Stage in Element Courtyard on George’s Row with performances from students at Northampton College and the University of Northampton. Sarah Thursby, Curriculum Manager for Music and Performing Arts at Northampton College, said: "Being part of Northampton Music Festival is an important experience for our students and an insight into life in the music industry and the reality of a large-scale event. "We go through a rigorous audition process to select the acts who will perform on the day and for many of the students the festival will be their first professional and, importantly, their first paid gig. "For both Northampton College and the university students, the chance to collaborate and represent the growing talent in our town is essential. "Supporting the music community, events and profession in Northampton is at the heart of what we do." Northampton Music Festival takes place from 11.30am until 9pm on Sunday, 19 June, throughout the town centre. For more information, and to receive news and updates on the acts performing, follow #NMF22 on social media on Facebook @northamptonmusicfestival , Instagram @NNmusicfestival and Twitter @FestNN .
Cost-of living support for West Northants’ most vulnerable residents to be proposed at next week’s council meeting
June 09, 2022
Cost-of living support for West Northants’ most vulnerable residents to be proposed at next week’s council meeting
09 June 2022 In line with the council’s recently approved Anti-Poverty Strategy, pensioners, families facing financial hardship and older people with disabilities in West Northamptonshire are set to benefit from a second tranche of the Household Support Fund. The £2,599,628, from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), will be distributed by West Northamptonshire Council and is earmarked to continue to target the most vulnerable households and individuals in the authority, having helped thousands of families since its launch in September last year. Councillors will meet at a Cabinet Meeting on 14 June to determine how to best use the fund within the scope set out by government ministers. Previous funding has supported households with food, energy and water costs, and this extension will ensure that this support continues through to the end of September . A third of the funding is already ring-fenced to support families with children, while another third is firmly dedicated to pensioners. This ensures the people who need it most will continue to receive vital support to meet essential household costs. In line with its recently approved Anti-Poverty Strategy, West Northamptonshire Council is proposing to distribute the remainder of the money to those households in most need of help towards significantly rising living costs and households demonstrating severe financial hardship. Councillors will decide whether or not to back the proposal that the money will be distributed, via various packages, to families and individuals in specific financial hardship over the course of the summer period. If proposals are approved, families who are eligible for free school meals will receive £20 per week school vouchers during the summer holiday. Plans could also mean that eligible households will get a £100 food voucher in a bid to offset the recent increases in food and fuel costs. Over 6,500 pensioners receiving Pension Credit could also receive £100, with a proposed additional Pension Credit Top Up of £50 for pensioners with severe disabilities. The exact proposed allocation of the Household Support Fund (2) is as follows: £20 per week Food Vouchers to go to 10,530 children , the intention being to cover the holiday period for children on school meals. £100 payment for 6,500 residents who receive Pension Credit. Pension Credit Top Up for pensioners with severe disabilities - £50 payment for each recipient. Payments to Pensioners who are not on Pension Credit but suffering severe financial hardship and identified through appropriate voluntary agencies. A maximum of £100 food voucher to each eligible household to offset the recent increases in food and fuel. School meal payments are expected to be made a couple of weeks before the start of the holidays, with payments for pensioners planned to take place in July. Work continues on shaping arrangements with community organisations to distribute food vouchers to eligible households, with a view to this being ready from late July / early August. Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health, said: “ I am proud to have been a part of signing up to an Anti-Poverty Strategy for West Northamptonshire and this Household Support Fund presents an opportunity to start to progress on some of the actions and priorities we have already outlined as a council. We know the pressures many are currently facing, especially pensioners, people with disabilities and families with children, which is why it is proposed that this fund targets support to these most vulnerable households across the county.” “Our Vision is for a fairer and more inclusive West Northamptonshire, where everyone is able to live their best life, prosperous and fulfilling, free from poverty and inequality.’ If the proposals are accepted, details of how to access the available funds will be publicised in the coming weeks.
West Northamptonshire comes together for a right Royal celebration
June 06, 2022
West Northamptonshire comes together for a right Royal celebration
Health, leisure and parks 06 June 2022 Thousands of people turned out to enjoy a bank holiday weekend of events and activities as communities across West Northamptonshire celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. From beacon lighting ceremonies to the countywide pageant, the Big Lunch at Delapré Abbey and the hundreds of street parties and community get-togethers that took place in honour of her Majesty, it was a weekend to remember. The festivities got underway on Thursday evening, when the Northampton Lift Tower was lit up in red, white and blue as part of a national event which also saw a number of other beacons simultaneously lit around West Northants, including in Brackley and Towcester. On Saturday the crowds turned out for a spectacular countywide pageant, which saw military and emergency services personnel, youth and community groups and businesses from across Northamptonshire parade through Northampton town centre. Then on Sunday hundreds of people braved the damp conditions to attend The Big Lunch at Delapré Abbey, enjoying picnics and a range of live music, performances, activities and stalls. Visitors to the free event were also treated to a special performance from local dance troupe Born To Perform, fresh from wowing the judges and the nation on their run to the semi-final of Britain's Got Talent. They were joined by a range of community acts celebrating the best of West Northants including African dance from the Power of the Mind Network, Step By Step dance school, Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, the Queen Eleanor and Real Soul choirs, African Youth Arise and The Masque Theatre. It has been a wonderful weekend across the whole country but especially Northamptonshire. With so many local street parties and some really big events taking place, it really has been a true celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It was great to see thousands of people turn out to enjoy the celebrations across a spectacular bank holiday weekend. Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council It was great to see so many members of the community come out to connect and enjoy what has been a wonderful Jubilee weekend. I would like to say a big thank you to all the organisations who came along to perform or support the Big Lunch and it was great to see the grounds of Delapré filled with members of our community and used in such a great way. Thank you also to the rain for holding off! Richard Clinton, Chief Executive of Delapré Abbey
Increased investment for new highways contract will deliver an improved service across West Northants
June 01, 2022
Increased investment for new highways contract will deliver an improved service across West Northants
Parking, roads and transport 01 June 2022 West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has announced Kier as its preferred contractor to deliver a new highways service with increased investment this autumn. Today’s announcement is the outcome of an 18-month competitive process to award a new maintenance contract as part of the £30m-a-year service, which includes maintaining local roads, footpaths, signage and drainage, repairing potholes and winter gritting. The current highways maintenance contract, currently delivered Northamptonshire-wide by Kier and WSP under arrangements inherited from the previous county council was procured over a decade ago and since the formation of WNC has lacked the flexibility required to meet the changing priorities of the council and its community. WNC’s new contract will deliver a brand new highways service with fresh priorities and requirements specifically tailored towards the needs of West Northamptonshire residents. Under the new contract with Kier the Council is increasing investment to the service by more than £1million per year, and will also have greater control, increasing its own resource to manage and monitor performance, which will include clear, strong goals for improving customer focus and providing value for money. The new contractor has also set its commitment to working with the Council on its sustainability goals to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, as well as increasing social value to the service to benefit the wider West Northants community and economy, such as supporting local disadvantaged groups and working with local sub-contractors. As the outcome of the process also saw North Northamptonshire Council appoint Kier as their preferred supplier, having the same contractor working on two separate neighbouring highways services will lead to some cost advantages for the two authorities, such as the ability to share some administrative functions and contract management roles. The new contract will run for seven years, with the potential to extend to a maximum of 14 years based on performance and quality of the service. Cllr Phil Larratt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways, Transport and Waste Services at West Northamptonshire Council, said: "We are pleased to be able to appoint Kier as preferred contractor for our new highways service from September. I look forward to working with them, delivering our agenda and on our priorities. "It’s been over a decade since the previous countywide contract was awarded and we are starting afresh with new priorities and requirements specifically targeted to West Northamptonshire, that fully reflect the present-day needs of our communities. The condition of our roads, verges and signage is very important to our residents. It is important that our contractor is focused on the needs of our residents and delivers for them, dealing with their issues and concerns flexibly and positively, providing a high quality service. "We already have a strong, established relationship with Kier which we will now build upon further and I am confident this new contract will result in better, quality highways services where our contractor takes a flexible and pragmatic approach, exercising common sense and care for the environment in what they do across West Northamptonshire.” Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of the Council said: “Mending potholes and maintaining our local roads really matters to our residents, and they have been telling us that this important service needs to improve. Whilst they accept the need to spend more, they need to feel certain that we’re getting the best value and quality for their money. That’s why we have procured a truly flexible contract that will focus on the priorities of our residents as we know these can change over time. Alongside the flexibility, unlike the previous contract we are setting challenging performance measures for the work that’s done, and a strong Contract Management Team who ensure the monitoring of this performance. “We’ve also chosen a contractor that is leading the field in its commitment to supporting us in our work towards a more sustainable West Northants, whether it’s helping us reduce carbon emissions by 2030 or adding real social value to the services we provide for the benefit of our wider community, and I look forward to working closely with them in the years ahead." WNC has worked closely with NNC on the process for procuring the new highways contracts, which started in November 2020 and has involved several selection stages to narrow down and shortlist prospective suppliers. The decision for West Northamptonshire was made under delegated authority by the Council’s Executive Director Place, Economy and Environment and Executive Director Finance, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste Services, and the Portfolio Holder for Finance. The new contract will start in September, 2022.
Northampton firm lays foundations for a more diverse community with first Pride sponsorship
June 01, 2022
Northampton firm lays foundations for a more diverse community with first Pride sponsorship
Community, safety and emergencies 01 June 2022 Robin Miller - General Counsel and Company Secretary for Travis Perkins plc will be speaking at Pride Northampton on 26 June 2022. Lodge Farm based Travis Perkins plc have announced today Wednesday, 1 June, they will be sponsoring Pride Northampton, the first time the firm has taken the step. The Pride Parade on Sunday 26 June is organised by the Northampton Pride Committee and West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) LGBTQ+ and Allies Forum and aims to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and encourages acceptance and equality for all. Travis Perkins plc employs 20,000 people at home and abroad, and 1,600 people just in Northamptonshire. They will be supporting the Pride Parade while highlighting what they do to support members of the LGBTQ+ community they employ and serve. Cllr André González De Savage, Chairman of WNC, said: “When we use the word community, we don’t just mean neighbours, sports clubs and churches. We also mean businesses, especially those who employ thousands of people and pay salaries which are spent within the area. “It makes me very proud to see not only a household name based in Northampton stepping forward to support its community, but also to see an historic business demolish old norms, to break new ground and open doorways to the LGBTQ+ community." All 20,000 Travis Perkins plc colleagues are being encouraged to use Pride to educate themselves on what it means to become good allies to lesbian, gay, bi, trans and questioning (LGBTQ+) and will mark the celebrations by taking part in a range of activities, including training, talks and debates. They will also be encouraged to mark the occasion by wearing rainbow laces or dress brightly during June to show their support. Robin Miller, General Counsel & Company Secretary for Travis Perkins plc and sponsor of the Group’s LGBTQ+ network, said: “As one of the biggest employers in this area, we are delighted to sponsor this year’s Northampton Pride parade, which provides a great opportunity to celebrate diversity and support our colleagues and everyone from the local LGBTQ+ community. "We are committed to become a more inclusive business that attracts a more diverse range of talents and people, so we provide a work environment that better reflects the diversity of the communities where we live and work." As well as financial and marketing support for the parade, Travis Perkins plc will also be recruiting during the event. Performers, food vendors, stallholders, volunteers, and community groups are all lined up to take part in this year’s Northampton Pride which starts at the Market Square at 11am, with festivities continuing until 4pm. ENDS About Travis Perkins plc Travis Perkins is the UK's leading distributor of building materials to trade customers and has the ambition to be the leading partner to the construction industry. The Group operates market leading businesses, including Travis Perkins Builders’ Merchants, Toolstation and a number of specialists in the civils market (Keyline), heating and ventilation (BSS) and drylining and insulation (CCF), and many more. With annual revenues of £4.6bn, the Group employs over 20,000 colleagues across the UK, but also in France and Benelux through Toolstation. The company has a proud heritage that spans over 200 years. For more information, see Travis Perkins .
Nations sandwich maker set to nourish Jubilee Pageant participants
May 31, 2022
Nations sandwich maker set to nourish Jubilee Pageant participants
Community, safety and emergencies 31 May 2022 Greencore worker smiles as she helps prepare thousands of sandwiches for the Northampton Jubilee Pageant participants Thousands taking part in Northampton’s Jubilee Pageant on Saturday, 4 June will have their energies restored thanks to a donation of 2,000 pre-packed sandwiches from Moulton Park’s Greencore. As one of the country’s biggest food suppliers, Greencore produces 1.6 billion food items a year and supplies everyone from local convenience stores to all the major supermarkets. After the Pageant they will be feeding over 1,500 representatives from the county’s military and emergency services, youth groups, and the community and religious groups taking part. Councillor André González De Savage, Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council said: “If you’ve ever grabbed a sandwich on the go, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten a Greencore product. “They are just one of dozens of major UK companies who call Northampton a base of operations and employ hundreds of people in the area, if not thousands if you count the suppliers and services they work with. “I’m very pleased they have stepped forward to show their commitment to their community here in Northamptonshire and I’m looking forward to my cheese and salad sarnie to keep me going during my duties on the big day.” Tim Jackson, Site Director at Greencore Northampton, said: “We are proud of our long-standing history as a major employer in Northampton, and it is important to us that we play our role in the local community. This is why we are delighted to donate 2,000 sandwiches to those representatives that are taking part in Northampton’s Jubilee Pageant this weekend.” The spectacular pageant will take place in Northampton town centre on Saturday, 4 June starting at the top of Abington Street at 11am. It will then move west down Abington Street, along George Row, up The Drapery and onto the Market Square where a celebration service will take place. As well as the military, the Pageant will feature Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, Girlguiding Northamptonshire, the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, Northamptonshire County Federation of Women’s Institutes, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council and the Siri Guru Singh Sabha Northampton. For a round-up of all the official Jubilee events in Northamptonshire and nationally, and to register to receive updates on local activities, visit our Platinum Jubilee page.
Nearly 130 road closures begin Thursday as West Northamptonshire prepares to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee
May 31, 2022
Nearly 130 road closures begin Thursday as West Northamptonshire prepares to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee
Roads and paths 31 May 2022 129 neighbourhoods will be closed over the four-day Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend as communities across West Northamptonshire celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years of service to the nation. From Willow Green, Old Stratford on the southern edge of West Northamptonshire, to School Lane, Naseby in the north, communities across the area will be wrapping their lampposts in bunting and putting out tables and chairs to enjoy the celebration with their neighbours. Cllr André González De Savage, Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council said: “It can be very easy sometimes to overlook the power of symbols. But in the post-war years we have seen a pace of change which few societies have ever experienced, and Her Majesty has been a constant symbol of duty, honour, and good grace. “Now, more than ever I think we need to come together to celebrate those shared ideals." Leading the way is the county town with more than 30 road closures in Northampton, followed by Brackley with 17 and Daventry with nine. Anyone needing to travel locally during the Jubilee weekend is encouraged to check the full list of closure before they set off. Other highlights of the celebration in West Northants include: the lighting of Jubilee Beacons on Thursday, the Jubilee Pageant through Northampton on Saturday, and the Big Lunch at Delapre Park on Sunday. For more details of the road closures, a round-up of national events, details of events and activities in West Northants, and other useful links, visit our Queen's Platinum Jubilee page.
National changes to bus lane enforcement to affect West Northamptonshire
May 31, 2022
National changes to bus lane enforcement to affect West Northamptonshire
Buses and transport 31 May 2022 Fines for the illegal use of bus lanes are set to increase from £60 to £70 as part of a change in national legislation, introduced by Government from this week. The increase, from May 31, affects all council areas (including West Northamptonshire) which issue Penalty Charge Notices for the contravention of traffic regulations in bus lanes. Additionally, the initial period during which the payment of fines is discounted has increased from 14 days to 21 days. Both changes bring the rules regarding bus lane contraventions into line with legislation regarding civil parking enforcement. Cllr Phil Larratt, WNC’s Cabinet Member for transport, highways and environment, said: "As a local authority we are obliged to comply with the rules nationally, but we welcome the extended discount period, people are busy and this gives them a better chance of not missing out on the discount, especially now it’s the same regime as postal parking fines. "But we have to remember bus lanes are there to reduce congestion and encourage people on to greener and more sustainable forms of transport. So, the best way to beat the traffic and avoid fines is to use the bus."
Transatlantic tree planting as county gets ready for a weekend of jubilee celebrations
May 31, 2022
Transatlantic tree planting as county gets ready for a weekend of jubilee celebrations
Culture and tourism 31 May 2022 Jubilee tree planting ceremony at Silverstone Circuit Excitement for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is spanning across the Atlantic as Northamptonshire gears up for four days of celebrations this weekend. Residents in Northamptonshire’s twin city of Indianapolis, USA are among those planning to mark Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne – and recently showed their support by joining our county for a twin tree-planting ceremony at Silverstone Circuit as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy Initiative. The special ceremony took place at Silverstone this month with former Indy Car and Formula 1 driver and Indianapolis 500 competitor Max Chilton joining Northamptonshire Queen’s Green Canopy Chairman Paul Parsons to plant an American Sweetgum tree at the world-famous motor circuit. Meanwhile at the same time in the USA, an English oak tree was being planted in Garfield Regional Park, Indianapolis by Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis Judith B Thomas, joined by Chris St. Paul, President of the Indianapolis-Northamptonshire Sister Cities Committee. Paul Parsons said: “We are delighted by Indianapolis’ enthusiasm to take part in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and hope that the English Oak they have planted thrives as does this American Gumtree, as enduring symbols of the friendship between our two nations and between the City of Indianapolis and the county of Northamptonshire. “Over one million trees have so far been planted across the country and I’m delighted to say that there has been great enthusiasm and participation for this initiative in all corners of our county. We are also very grateful to the Silverstone Circuit for providing this fine American Gumtree. “When I was tasked to lead this initiative in Northamptonshire, I saw its remit as stretching across its 900 or so square miles, but what I had not foreseen was an international element!” Northamptonshire became twinned with Indianapolis in 2009, when the then Mayor of Indianapolis sought to develop a relationship with Great Britain through the Sister Cities International Scheme, that would foster economic, cultural, and technological growth with another area that had a strong focus on the motorsports industry. The Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, Judith B Thomas, said: “It is an honour for us to join with Northamptonshire in celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and to contribute in a small way to her Green Canopy Project. Toward that end, we’ve planted an English Oak at the historic Garfield Regional Park on the south side of Indianapolis. “We were excited to know that at the same moment, representatives of West and North Northamptonshire Councils and the Northamptonshire Queen’s Green Canopy Committee were at the Silverstone Circuit, planting a tree to represent our Sister City relationship.” Mr Bazire said: “At Silverstone, sustainability is very important to us, and the circuit aims to be Zero Carbon by 2030. We are therefore very pleased to help the environment by planting this tree and contributing to the legacy of the Queen’s Green Canopy, which will benefit generations to come. “We are also delighted that the BRDC member Max Chilton, who has such close links to Indianapolis through his racing career, could be a part of the planting ceremony.” The tree planting took place in the run-up a bank holiday of Jubilee celebrations being planned across Northamptonshire this weekend, including a countywide pageant of military and community groups through Northampton Town Centre on Saturday. Towns and parishes will also be lighting official Jubilee beacons this Thursday, with communities and neighbourhoods across the county holding street parties, alongside two major Jubilee Big Lunch events taking place at Northampton’s Delapre Abbey and Wicksteed Park in Kettering on Sunday. To find out more about the jubilee celebrations and how to get involved in the Queen’s Green Canopy tree-planting initiative, visit our J ubilee webpage .
Northampton Music Festival FULL line-up revealed
May 30, 2022
Northampton Music Festival FULL line-up revealed
Culture and tourism 30 May 2022 Clockwise from top: Sarpa Salpa, T Bone Afrika Allstars, Kate Coyle and Pop Spencer. The full line-up for Northampton Music Festival has been revealed, with 61 acts set to perform in eight locations throughout the town centre. The free music festival, which takes place on Sunday, 19 June, kicks off at 11:30am on the Main Stage in Market Square with Northamptonshire school children performing Katy Perry’s Fireworks in sign language and culminates with a homecoming headline set from Northampton-based band Sarpa Salpa, whose new single ‘Dreaming’ is receiving critical acclaim. The World Music stage, in the courtyard of The Guildhall, will see a headline performance from T Bone Afrika Allstars – formed just a few months ago, the band is already playing to packed audiences across the country conjuring up the sense and feel of Africa. Northampton’s own Ivor Johnson Band, rooted in soul and gospel music, will play an array of instruments from around the world. Sandeep Raval, curator of the World Music Stage, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the Northampton community to experience world class talent on their doorstep for free.” Headlining the classical stage, in its new home at Northampton Museum’s Courtyard, will be esteemed musicians David Blackadder and Richard Holloway. David is one of the world’s finest trumpeters who was hand-picked to play at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Richard is one of Northamptonshire’s most respected and admired pianists who has dedicated much of his life to inspiring students at NMPAT. The Jazz Stage at the Guildhall Hotel will be headlined by the Alex Clarke Duo. One of the most in-demand and versatile young saxophonists on the British jazz scene, Alex won the Rising Star category of the 2019 British Jazz Awards and was a finalist in the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year competition in 2020. The New Boots stage at The Black Prince on Abington Square will see folk-rock flair for the headline performance from Northampton singer Aryah and her group. New and emerging talent will be celebrated on the Student Showcase Stage in Element Courtyard on George’s Row with performances from students at Northampton College and the University of Northampton. Two pop-up stages have been added to the line-up, both in memory of local musicians Pop Spencer and Kate Coyle who recently passed away. Gelda Spencer, Pop’s wife, said: “Music was such a big part of Pop’s life and he loved performing at the local festivals in Northampton. He would be so proud of this tribute to him at Northampton Music Festival.” Kate’s friend, Scott Walters, said: “Kate was an amazingly talented singer and ukulele player and her favourite places to play were The Black Prince, The Mailcoach and The Fish. Kate was loved by so many.” Pop-up curator Hannah Faulkner was determined to remember both much loved local performers during NMF22. The full line-up of the festival is: MARKET SQUARE – MAIN STAGE 11:30am: SIGNING Stars 12pm: Wellingborough Gospel Choir 1pm: Richard Exall’s Shooting Stars 2pm: Mystic Crew 3pm: Hana Brooks 3.30pm: Gabriel Halford and Dave Crawford 4pm: Sharmaine 5pm: Lay it Down 6pm: Phantom Isle 7pm: Pure Genius 8pm Sarpa Salpa GUILDHALL COURTYARD – WORLD MUSIC STAGE 1pm: Durgesh and Friends 2pm: Inta Africa 3pm: Paul Jackson 4pm: Brazilian Vibes 4:30pm: Plastic Visual 5pm: The Ivor Johnson Band 6pm: TBone Afrika Allstars (Followed by a spectacular finale featuring all acts) GUILDHALL HOTEL – JAZZ STAGE 1pm: Elle Delaney and Co 2pm: Dan Wyllie Quartet 3pm: The Krupa Connection 4pm: Day-Hood & Co 5pm: Wayne Matthews Trio 6pm: Alex Clarke Duo NORTHAMPTON MUSEUM COURTYARD – CLASSICAL STAGE 12:30pm: Joshua S Bell 1:30pm: Kay Warçaba 2:30pm: Wellingborough Gospel Choir 3:30pm: Rob Colley 4:30pm: David Blackadder and Richard Holloway THE BLACK PRINCE – NEW BOOTS STAGE 1pm: Chargr 2pm: Jasmine Burns 3pm: hazeyjane 4pm: In Atoms 5pm: Paul Ronney Angel 6pm: Aryah ELEMENT COURTYARD – STUDENT SHOWCASE STAGE 12:45pm: The Stencil Pencils 1pm: Tabitha Brown 1:20pm: Sophie & Daisy 1:40pm: Katakuris 2pm: Matt Jones 2:20pm: xtahc 2:40pm: New Age Jam 3:10pm: Plastic Visual 3:30pm: Thrifted 4pm: Back2Basics 4:30pm: Mitsäu 5pm: One Way Ticket 5:30pm: Our Condolences 6pm: Osmium_band_ 6:30pm: Worth a Shot POP-UP STAGE OUTSIDE V&B (ST GILES’ SQUARE) – A TRIBUTE TO POP SPENCER 12pm: Niamh Keating 12:50pm: Ant & Luke 1:40pm: Mae Stephens 2:30pm: Hannah Faulkner 3:20pm: Marc Checkley 4:10pm: Charlie Tarry 5:10pm: Jake Brown POP-UP STAGE ON FISH STREET – A TRIBUTE TO KATE COYLE 12pm: Andreas Rose 1pm: Michael Green 2pm: Scott Walters 3pm: Tom Cayton 4pm: Joseph Boyle 5pm: Ray Beck For more information, and to receive news and updates on the acts performing, follow #NMF22 on social media on Facebook @northamptonmusicfestival , Instagram @NNmusicfestival and Twitter @FestNN .
Moulton College students put through their paces with local firefighters
May 29, 2022
Moulton College students put through their paces with local firefighters
Public Service students from Moulton College have this week (24 May) been put through their paces during a visit to Moulton Fire Station as part of their firefighter experience day. Over the course of the day, around forty students joined White Watch crews from Moulton, Mereway and The Mounts, along with Youth Engagement Officer, Michelle Bates and Community Safety Officer, Jo Gouldson to get a flavour of life as a firefighter. They participated in job-related tests, which form part of the application process, running out hoses, moving ‘casualties’ and carrying equipment over a short distance. The students also got to experience the ‘smoke house,’ albeit with only a small amount of smoke, where firefighters practice their search techniques. Wearing firefighter protective clothing and breathing apparatus, they were paired up and had to find their way around a dark building using communication and teamwork to locate a casualty and safely exit the property. Helen Russell, Public Service Lecturer at Moulton College, who had organised the day with Watch Commander Aaron Childs said: “I was really impressed by the students’ engagement in the activities throughout the day. The Public Services course aims to provide the perfect stepping-stone to adjust to life working within the public service sector, learning practical and theoretical skills to improve employability. “Aaron and the crews involved in the day, gave a real insight into the vital work the fire service does to keep the county safe, and the day has certainly sparked interest from a number of our students.” In addition to the practical activities the students learnt about water safety. They were shown the best technique to use a throwline to provide potentially lifesaving help to someone in distress in water. Crews also offered a tour of the fire appliances including one of the Service’s Technical Rescue Vehicles and answered questions about careers in the Service. One student commented: “All the activities were fun and enjoyable, and they really opened my eyes to a role in the fire service.” Station Commander at Moulton Fire Station, Tom Hodson said: “We were delighted to host the firefighter experience day for the students from Moulton College and we are looking forward to working more closely with the College going forward. “Working in the fire service is a great career for anyone interested in supporting their community. It’s not just about putting out fires. We attend a wide range of incidents, including floods, animal rescues, road traffic collisions as well as providing support to other emergency services. A large part of the firefighter’s role is carrying out community engagement work to increase awareness of fire risk and to prevent incidents from occurring in the first place. “I am really pleased to hear that we have helped to focus some of the students’ minds on the fire service as a career and are always happy to talk more about the role with interested people.” Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service will be recruiting for firefighters in the Autumn. If you are interested in finding out more, fire stations around the county will be holding ‘Have a go’ days over the coming months. Please follow us on social media for updates and keep an eye on the Service’s website.
Get your neighbourhood Clean for the Queen 
May 27, 2022
Get your neighbourhood Clean for the Queen 
Environmental health 27 May 2022 Communities across West Northamptonshire are being encouraged to get their neighbourhoods clean for the Queen in readiness for the many street parties taking place across the long weekend of Platinum Jubilee celebrations from 2 -5 June. Litter picking kits, which include litter pickers, sacks and bag hoops are available to borrow from West Northamptonshire Council, along with a step-by-step guide to help plan a safe and effective litter pick. Anyone wishing to borrow a litter picking kit can find out more information on the council’s website , email [email protected] or call 0300 126 7000. All sacks of litter collected from public land will be picked up by the council. Councillor Phil Larratt, West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste, said: “Over 100 neighbourhoods across West Northants are planning to hold street parties across the Jubilee bank holiday weekend, so this is an ideal time to organise a litter pick and make sure that your street or area is looking its best for the celebrations. “We really appreciate the great work of volunteers and groups such as the Litter Wombles who keep their communities clean and tidy and we want to do all we can to support their excellent work, as well as encourage other groups to join in.” West Northamptonshire Council has developed a litter charte r to ensure a coordinated approach to tackling litter across the whole council area and is working with Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District and Northampton Town Council to deliver long term anti-littering initiatives.
Beacons to light up West Northants for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
May 24, 2022
Beacons to light up West Northants for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
24 May 2022 West Northants will light up to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a number of Beacon Lighting Ceremonies kicking off the Bank Holiday Weekend. Beacons will be lit simultaneously across the county at 9.45pm on Thursday, 2 June in events organised by West Northants Council (WNC), Brackley Town Council and Towcester Town Council to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne. Northampton Lift Tower will be lit up in red, white and blue as part of a special ceremony taking place at the Northampton Saints Rugby Ground with a performance of the song for the Commonwealth, ‘A Life Lived with Grace’, sung by a local choir. In addition, Beacons will be lit in Brackley, Towcester and Daventry - with a Platinum Jubilee Festival taking place at Brackley Rugby Club and sustainable virtual lighting events planned at Towcester Recreation Ground and the Council Offices on Lodge Road, Daventry. The Beacons will be among over 2,022 being lit across the UK and the Commonwealth by charities, communities and faith groups, and form part of the official programme announced by Buckingham Palace for the Jubilee Weekend. A Principal Beacon lighting will also take place in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday evening which will take the form of a lighting installation with The Queen’s Green Canopy ’Tree of Trees’ sculpture and projections onto the front of Buckingham Palace. Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Pageantmaster of The Queen’s Jubilee Platinum Beacons, said: “Building on a long tradition of lighting beacons to mark significant royal celebrations, thousands of beacons will be lit across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. They will enable local communities to join together to pay tribute to Her Majesty as part of the official programme of events.” HM Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson, said: “We are proud to be part of this momentous celebration and invite communities across Northamptonshire to join us in commemorating Her Majesty, The Queen’s 70th year as our Monarch and Head of the Commonwealth on her Platinum Jubilee. “It is only appropriate that we mark this unique milestone in history with beacons and music, and I am pleased that like Buckingham Palace, we have been able to incorporate innovative virtual events into our celebrations which reflect the Royal Family’s longstanding commitment to environmental causes and sustainability.” Find out more information on Platinum Jubilee events happening in West Northants .
Discover fantastic produce and services at Northampton Market
May 23, 2022
Discover fantastic produce and services at Northampton Market
Commercial 23 May 2022 We’re urging people to visit Northampton’s Market Square to discover the fantastic range of produce and services it has to offer. From fresh fruit and veg to fabulous flowers, toys and gadgets to expert services such as key cutting – Northampton Market has something for everyone. And with its locally-sourced produce and reduced reliance on packaging, it also offers a more sustainable way to shop. ‘The Talk of the Town’ The three-week ‘Love Your Local Market’ campaign – extended this year to run up to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Sunday June 5 – aims to showcase the benefits of markets and trading opportunities across the UK and across the globe. And to mark the event, we’ve launched a new promotional campaign to showcase Northampton Market. ‘Northampton Market: The Talk of the Town’ celebrates the energy and vibrancy that makes this historic market such an important part of Northampton. And people across West Northamptonshire are urged to visit the Market to see for themselves the fantastic range of stalls it offers. You can also get behind the campaign by following us on social media Please share, like and comment on our posts to help spread the message, and get involved by telling us what you love about Northampton Market, using the hashtag #LYLM2022 Find out more information about Northampton Market
Signing stars to open Northampton Music Festival
May 23, 2022
Signing stars to open Northampton Music Festival
Health, leisure and parks 23 May 2022 This year’s Northampton Music Festival (NMF) will open with a special performance of two well-known songs with a twist – they will be performed in sign language. Children from across the county have been invited to take part in the signing of Firework by Katy Perry and Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World , which has been organised by Greenfields Specialist School for Communication. The performance will take place on Sunday 19 June at 11:30am on the Main Stage in the Market Square, and the school is encouraging everyone to view two specially made videos to learn the signed versions of the songs. Lisa Atack, Headteacher at Greenfields, said: “We have contacted all schools across the county inviting them to come along and watch our SIGNING Stars performance and join in with the signing to kick off the festival in style. Staff, pupils, young people and their families are all welcome to join in.” The signed versions for each song can be learned by watching two videos specially made for the event featuring Cathy Rideout, Greenfields Teaching Assistant and leader of the SIGNING Stars choir. Polly Wilson, Trustee of The Wilson Foundation, one of the key funders of NMF said: “We can’t wait to see the SIGNING Stars performance live on stage. As a charity established to give a helping hand to young people in Northamptonshire, it’s wonderful to see aspiring performers being given this once in a lifetime opportunity to shine.” A limited number of young people will also be invited to join Lisa on stage and take part in the performance. To express interest in performing, email Lisa at: [email protected] Northampton Music Festival will run from 11:30am until 9pm on Sunday 19 June. Entry is free.
More Homes for Ukraine sponsors needed in West Northants
May 20, 2022
More Homes for Ukraine sponsors needed in West Northants
Homes for Ukraine 20 May 2022 West Northamptonshire Council is seeking more sponsors to support families and individuals fleeing the war in Ukraine. One of the primary requirements is for accommodation to host those whose initial sponsorship didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. The Government’s original plea for sponsors was made several months ago and many people’s circumstances might now have changed. Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services, said: “There might well be people who were not in a position to offer accommodation at the time of the original appeal who might now be able to help. “There might also be people who signed up at that time and were not matched with refugees, and we’d like to hear from any who would still like to do their bit. “West Northamptonshire is an incredibly welcoming place, with many wonderful people who are willing to support those in need. “We’re extremely grateful for all of the help so far from the more than 250 sponsors who have come forward, yet we could do with some additional help. “This is certainly not something to go into lightly; welcoming people you don’t know into your home can be challenging, though it can also be exceedingly rewarding.” The £350 per month thank-you payment is still on offer for sponsors who are successfully matched to Ukrainian guests. We need some basic information to begin the process including: Name Address Who they would be able to accommodate (a family with children/couple/single female/single male) What accommodation they have available (including size and number of bedrooms) Contact details An indication of whether you have already registered your interest in becoming a sponsor on the government website . ​​​​​​​ Anyone who has space in their home, or an empty property that might be suitable can contact us at [email protected] and we will provide full details of the scheme.
André’s new role as Chairman of the 'board'
May 20, 2022
André’s new role as Chairman of the 'board'
Councillors and democracy 20 May 2022 WNC's new Chairman, Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage with his skateboard and Vice-Chairman, Cllr John Shephard West Northamptonshire Council’s new Chairman is skating into his role with 'wheel' enthusiasm in a bid to boost civic pride and better connect communities across the area. Cllr André Gonzalez De Sávage received the ceremonial chains of office from outgoing Chairman Cllr Ann Addison at the Council’s Annual Meeting in Northampton’s historic Guildhall last night (Thursday, 19 May). Cllr John Shephard, ward member for Moulton was appointed as his vice-chairman. It’s a little-known fact that André has been a keen skateboarder and BMXer for as long as he’s been a local councillor during the past 20 years – and he plans to be equally active and energetic in the year ahead as Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, supporting local communities and businesses whilst also fundraising for his two chosen charities, The Air Ambulance and Northamptonshire Search and Rescue. André, a WNC councillor for Northampton’s East Hunsbury and Shelfleys Ward, said: "It’s an incredible honour and privilege to be Chairman and I’m really looking forward to doing everything I can in the coming year to further raise the profile of West Northamptonshire and the many great things our area has to offer. "It’s really important that our council fully supports and connects with our residents, businesses and community groups and I will be working hard to continue to build these links as well as helping to showcase their amazing achievements. He added: “I have chosen to help raise invaluable funds for the Air Ambulance and Northants Search and Rescue as I really admire the amazing work and heroic efforts of these two charities, sometimes in harrowing circumstances, to support our emergency services and make a difference to people’s daily lives." Originally from Barcelona and having previously lived in Switzerland, London and Bedfordshire, dad-of-three André moved to Northampton in 1987, immediately involving himself in local residents associations and serving as a parish councillor for the East and West Hunsbury areas, then later becoming a Northamptonshire County Councillor for 17 years where he also held a number of Cabinet roles around Customer and Communities and Public Protection. From bike chains to ceremonial chains, André is also Chairman of Northamptonshire BMX and skate park Adrenaline Alley as well as being heavily involved in promoting culture and heritage through Surprise Northamptonshire and Royal and Derngate Theatres and the Made in Northamptonshire initiative which celebrates the county’s food and drink creators, manufacturers and providers. He added: “We are at the heart of the country, with leading global industries including High Performance Technologies, Motorsports, Education and Public Protection and a superb and vibrant visitor economy – and we have the right aspirations of one of the UK’s most successful counties. "Let’s promote and encourage pride and prosperity, locally, nationally and globally in all we do and support the growth, of a safe and prosperous West Northamptonshire in this notable year of the Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee." The role of Chairman is a non-political, civic role, which involves representing the Council and West Northamptonshire at events and functions, as well as chairing Council meetings to ensure they are properly run in accordance with the Constitution. As part of the role, the Chairman is keen to meet and engage with local businesses, schools, community and voluntary groups and other organisations to help raise their profile – if you are organising an event, activity or function and would like the Chairman to attend, please contact the Chairman's Secretary at [email protected] .
Chief Fire Officer responds to Government’s White Paper on the future of the fire service
May 20, 2022
Chief Fire Officer responds to Government’s White Paper on the future of the fire service
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer has welcomed the launch of the Government’s White Paper on the future of the fire service. Darren Dovey said: “Firefighters are justifiably held in high esteem by the public they serve. I believe that is more likely to remain the case in the future if we play our part in shaping reform of the sector. “For a long time, I have lobbied with my colleagues in the National Fire Chiefs’ council for fundamental reform. The fire service is full of committed people who rush towards danger when others move away. They want to give their best to keep people safe and these proposals will support them with consistent standards of professional training and support. “A more flexible structure will allow us to attract and retain talented people from all backgrounds. The people in our organisation are the key to its success – they are the ones that keep the public safe, so the focus on leadership and development of fire services and the increased focus on equality, diversity and inclusion is very important. “The world has changed but the way the fire service is structured has not kept up. The white paper is an opportunity to ensure the fire service continues to play a central role in keeping the public safe.” At the centre of the Government’s Fire Reform White Paper are plans to deliver: Increased public safety: by improving the professionalism of the fire and rescue service through modern workforce practices and potentially establishing a College of Fire and Rescue Improved accountability: through the proposals to transfer fire governance to a single elected individual, overseeing delivery by operationally independent Chief Fire Officers Better engagement with the public: through the 10-week consultation the government will listen to the views of the public and stakeholders, after which it will finalise its reform programme Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has also welcomed the launch of the White Paper, saying that it gives a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the sector. Stephen said: “I welcome this white paper as an opportunity to fundamentally reform the fire service so that the professional skills of those firefighters and staff who do such outstanding work to keep the community safe can be used to their fullest extent within a structure fit for the risks we face today. “As one of just four Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners, I am directly elected to the public and am accountable to them. Under my governance and away from the old county council, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has been given financial stability and has been able to plan to modernise and develop as an organisation. “The Chief Fire Officer and his team have the stability and autonomy they need, and our fire service is better equipped, prepared and able to respond when called on to do so. Our shared approach to buildings and professional services with the police has resulted in closer collaboration that makes sense to the public and can only result in better outcomes. “But it takes more than response to deal with the changing risks that face our communities – prevention, protection, community resilience are all vital to public safety. We saw this clearly during the pandemic, when firefighters stepped up to carry out a variety of roles to keep people safe and keep public services moving. “That must be the catalyst for reform and to ensure our fire service is able to meet the challenges that face communities today and tomorrow. I welcome this opportunity to make changes that will enable firefighters to reach the highest professional standards, to have the most rewarding career path and to play the strongest role in community safety.”
Town's pride continues to shine despite city bid announcement
May 20, 2022
Town's pride continues to shine despite city bid announcement
Culture and tourism 20 May 2022 Northampton will always be a city at heart despite losing out in the recent Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours competition, say civic leaders. Although the town has today learnt it has not been successful in its bid for city status, exciting and ambitious plans to improve Northampton will continue to gather pace. The town’s bid faced tough competition from nearly 40 other locations, including Milton Keynes, Colchester, Doncaster, Dunfermline, Bangor, the Falkland Island's Stanley and Douglas in the Isle of Man, which were today announced as the successful bidders. Obviously the news that we have not been awarded city status will come as a great disappointment to the people of Northampton and everyone who supported and worked on our bid, however we remain extremely proud of our town and the bright future we have ahead of us. We will always be a city at heart. Our bid was a celebration of everything Northampton has to be proud of – our amazing people, our heritage, culture and communities – as well as raising the wider profile of West Northamptonshire and bringing residents closer together after the challenges of the pandemic and during our first year as a new authority. We would like to thank everyone who helped and supported us throughout this process, as your views, thoughts and opinions helped us to form our tribute to our beloved town. A special mention goes to the late Mike Ingram, whose expert historical knowledge of our town was insightful, and invaluable. Thanks also to all residents who sent in beautiful photos that helped us to encapsulate in our bid what we love about Northampton, and those who took part in videos demonstrating our fantastic town. I would like to offer my congratulations to Milton Keynes, Colchester, Doncaster, Dunfermline, Stanley, Bangor and Douglas that have been granted this prestigious title and wish them well in their new status.” Councillor Jonathan Nunn Leader of West Northamptonshire Council Today’s news is of course disappointing but doesn’t detract from all the great things about Northampton and its rich history. We are immensely proud of Northampton and will continue be so, whatever status it holds. Councillor Gareth Eales, of West Northamptonshire Council’s Labour Group
Progress continues on Council Tax energy rebates
May 18, 2022
Progress continues on Council Tax energy rebates
Council Tax 18 May 2022 Work on distributing £150 Council Tax energy rebates across West Northamptonshire is making good progress. The rebate, which is being paid to help with the rise in the cost of living, applies to around 143,000 homes in Council Tax Bands A to D across the area and the sum will not need to be repaid. The majority of those who pay their Council Tax by direct debit should have now received the rebate and this week West Northamptonshire Council is writing to the remaining 42,000 homes who do not pay by direct debit encouraging them to confirm their bank details so payment can be made. The letter will include a unique passcode enabling residents to apply online, plus a paper application for those residents unable to access the internet. The government payments are being administered by West Northamptonshire Council’s Revenues and Benefits Service which has been working tirelessly to put new processes in place and distribute the payments as quickly as possible. Malcolm Longley, West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We are only too aware of the cost-of-living increases people are facing and we are doing everything we can to make these payments as soon as possible. “The Government stipulation is that councils need to make a payment rather than simply crediting Council Tax accounts, which has resulted in both significant additional work for our staff and the need for changes to our IT systems. “However we are making good progress and have now issued payments to the majority of direct debit payers, with around 6,000 due to receive theirs once final eligibility checks have been completed in line with Government fraud guidance. Households who don’t pay by direct debit should look out for a letter including details on how to apply on line in order receive their payment as soon as possible. “Those unable to apply online will be able to make a paper application which will be sent with the letter they receive, although this process is likely to take slightly longer to verify and approve." All claims received by the Council will be validated and, if no issues are raised, payment will be made. Based on the volumes of claims we are expecting and depending on how quickly applications are returned, we would expect to start making payments for non-direct debit payers towards the end of May. To ensure that all eligible residents receive the rebate, any residents that have not made an application, online or by post, by 31 July 2022 and for whom bank account details are not known will have their Council Tax account credited with the £150 payment. The Council also has a discretionary scheme to help those in Bands E-H and non-Council Taxpayers who are deemed vulnerable. Further information about this will be published shortly. If you are unsure of your council tax band, check via your printed council tax bill or at www.gov.uk . For further information visit our Council Tax energy rebate page. Advice and support for anyone struggling financially is available from Citizens Advice .
Firefighters support National Sprinkler Week
May 18, 2022
Firefighters support National Sprinkler Week
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) 2022 National Sprinkler Campaign. The campaign runs from 16 th – 22 nd May and will help raise awareness of the benefits of sprinkler systems in keeping people and buildings safe from fire. Fire sprinklers are widely recognised as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages. In 2017 and 2019, the NFCC and National Fire Sprinkler Network (NFSN) carried out research to investigate the effectiveness and reliability of sprinkler systems. They found that sprinkler systems operate on 94% of occasions demonstrating very high reliability and when they do operate, they extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions. It was also demonstrated that in both converted and purpose-built flats, sprinklers are 100% effective in controlling fires. Legislation in Wales and Scotland is stricter across many building types resulting in their communities having more fire protection than those of England and Northern Ireland. The NFCC is calling on government to remove the disparity in sprinkler regulations as fire does not discriminate and is just as dangerous in England and Northern Ireland as it is in the rest of the UK. Jonathan Dyson NFCC Lead for Sprinklers, said : “The evidence speaks for itself; our research proves that sprinklers are very effective and provide strong fire safety protections as part of a fire safety package. Wales and Scotland recognise this and have implemented measures to make their communities safer from fire; we want to see these same changes in England and Northern Ireland as matter of urgency.” To find out more about the campaign follow #ThinkSprinkler on social media. Follow the Fire Protection Team on Twitter: @NFRSBizSafety