06 May 2022
A quick acting waste and recycling crew averted an expensive and messy clean-up after a battery nearly set fire to a bin lorry this week.
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is now reminding residents of the dangers of throwing batteries into their general waste and the fact that residents have a kerbside battery recycling collection.
The first sign of danger was spotted by loader Leighton Cousins who saw flames as he emptied a black wheelie bin in Middleton Cheney and raised the alarm.
Driver Ian O’Driscoll immediately turned off the lorry and grabbed an extinguisher on his way to the rear of the vehicle.
After discharging the extinguisher both could see the smouldering battery and removed it.
Cllr Phil Larratt, WNC Cabinet Member for environment, transport, highways and waste, said: “It might not seem like much, but if that fire had taken hold, they might have been forced to eject their load or risk losing a very expensive bit of equipment, not to mention the risk of injury or worse.
“Then there’s the call out to the fire service, a hazardous clean-up, and a lorry out of action which has a knock-on effect on workloads and overtime costs.
“I’ll give the resident the benefit of the doubt and say it was a momentary lapse that, had it not been for a quick-thinking crew, could have cost the tax-payer tens of thousands of pounds.”
The battery is thought to have been from a cordless vacuum cleaner. Excluding car batteries, WNC will collect all types of household battery if placed in a bag on top or next to the recycling bin.
In a second incident on the same day a crew driving behind another bin lorry noticed smoke coming from it and again a fire extinguisher had to be used to put out the fire which was thought to be caused by hot ashes.
Cllr Larratt added: “It might be a bumper weekend for barbecues, and I want everyone to remember they need to be very certain ashes are fully extinguished and cold throughout before they go anywhere near a wheelie bin.”
For more information on what goes where, visit our waste and recycling pages.
04 May 2022
With a forecast 25 per cent increase in the number of children needing specialist education by 2025, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is taking the first step towards commissioning a new special school.
The proposed special school will provide 250 places for those on the autistic spectrum, with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and with severe learning difficulties (SLD). It will be ‘all through’, with places from reception to year 13 (4 to 18 years).
Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC Cabinet Member for children, families and education, said: “Every child deserves the chance to learn and become a valued member of our community in a safe, caring, and healthy school environment.
“There is a presumption that this is a free school, independent from the council once established, and we are inviting academy trusts to consider whether they would like to bid to provide the school.”
This consultation opened today, Wednesday 4 May 2022, and closes on Friday 10 June.
The council’s cabinet will discuss the outcome of the consultation at its meeting on Tuesday, 14 June and, if it approves, the full free special school specification will be published for prospective sponsors.
It is proposed that the school will open for its first entry of pupils in September 2024.
To take part in the consultation visit the WNC Citizen Space - westnorthants.citizenspace.com - and search for “new special free school” or by scrolling through the list of open consultations.
If you are unable to complete the online consultation, a response form can also be requested via email – [email protected] with the subject line ‘FAO new special free school presumption.’
Hard copies of the consultation are available on request by calling 0300 126 7000.
Any printed submissions should be posted to: New special free school presumption, West Northamptonshire council, One Angel Square, NN1 1ED.
04 May 2022
With the number of children on the autistic spectrum expected to increase by 40 per cent over the next three years, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has given the go ahead for 50 new specialist places at Hunsbury Park Primary School.
The move is part of a larger strategy to create 500 new specialist places by 2024 and will see work take place over the summer ready for the new intake of pupils in September this year.
Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC’s Cabinet Member for children, families and education, said: “We have a longer-term plan to address the pressure on specialist education places, but work must take place in the short term as well.
“A shortage of places is not a challenge unique to West Northamptonshire, but I am determined we will be able to cater for every child in the best possible way we can.”
To provide the additional capacity Hunsbury Park Primary School and WNC officers have worked collaboratively to develop plans to establish a new Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) unit at the school for a significant period of time and the school meets all of the necessary criteria.
The school already successfully operates a smaller SEND unit and its Senior Leadership contains significant experience of working within specialist settings. The greatest amount of current and future demand for SEND places in West Northants arises from Northampton town, in which the school is located.
Being located to the south of the town also means the school is more accessible than other existing provisions to residents of South Northants, which will reduce home to school travel times for any pupil residing in this area that may access the provision.
After a four-week consultation starting later this month, responses will be analysed and presented to the WNC Cabinet for a final decision in July.
05 May 2022
Eligible households in West Northamptonshire are due to receive the Government’s £150 Council Tax energy rebate in the coming weeks.
The rebate, which is being paid to help with the rise in the cost of living, applies to households in Council Tax Bands A to D, of which there about 147,000 in West Northants. The sum will not need to be repaid.
Direct Debit payers
- For the 99,000 homes in Bands A to D which pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit it is hoped that the first payments will be made to residents by the end of May.
- If any bank accounts require any further information or validation this will be done as soon as possible.
Non-Direct Debit payers
- For around 48,000 Council Taxpayers in Bands A to D who don’t pay by Direct Debit, we are currently identifying eligible households, and will write to them in the week beginning 16 May. An application process is required to confirm bank account details to enable payment to be made and as part of the Council’s work on the prevention of fraud and error.
- The letters will invite people to make claims online using a secure pin number, and paper application forms will also be enclosed for those without Internet access.
- The claims received will then be validated and, as long as 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 in June.
- To ensure that all eligible residents receive the rebate, any residents that have not made an application 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 in the coming weeks.
Malcolm Longley, West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The cost of living increases due to rising energy bills and inflation are a serious concern for many of us and we are doing all we can as a council to ease the financial pressure for residents.
"We appreciate that the timeline has slipped slightly on this and thank residents for their patience. Many local authorities have faced challenges regarding the required software and licensing arrangements.
"This has been a huge undertaking but we have to make sure we get it right for our residents and I believe we are now ready.”
03 May 2022
Entrepreneurs in Northamptonshire with a great idea or a business less than 12 months old are invited to apply for grants and free expert advice by Friday, 15 July this year as part of the Kick Start Small Business Grants initiative.
After a Dragon’s Den style grant panel session in September for shortlisted applicants, winners will receive: a £2,000 grant for business expenses, a year’s free membership with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and ongoing support from the BIPC Northamptonshire team.
Cllr Adam Brown, West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Deputy Leader and member responsible for the BIPC, said: “The last few years have been incredibly challenging for businesses of all sizes, but we continue to see entrepreneurs and new companies coming forward to make their mark on our local economy.
“Despite the challenging economic environment, those who can find success now may well go on to flourish and develop into incredibly successful enterprises.
“As local authorities we want to do everything in our power to nurture start-ups and give them the very best start we can.”
Cllr David Brackenbury, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive Member for growth and regeneration, said: “We know life has been tough for so many businesses and want to help as many as possible.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen small businesses being set up across Northamptonshire and this initiative is designed to help those just starting out.
“I would urge anyone who thinks they qualify to check the eligibility and apply before Friday, 15 July.”
The Kick Start initiative is supported by BIPC Northamptonshire, which is part of the British Library’s National Network of Business & IP Centres which supports small businesses by hosting free events, such as networking, workshops, seminars and webinars.
The Network recently expanded to over 100 regional and local libraries across England, thanks to £13million in central government funding.
The Library Plus service also provides information and access to database subscription resources for market research, as well as business mentoring and one-to-one advice sessions on self-employment, starting up a business, business planning, and intellectual property.
Further details on how to apply, including eligibility criteria, are available on the BIPC Northamptonshire website.