22 April 2022
Work on shaping an innovative new highways service for West Northamptonshire is nearing completion, with the Council on course to appoint its new contractor next month.
At their meeting on Tuesday, 3 May, West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet members will be updated on the final stages of an 18-month process to obtain a new supplier for the service, which includes things like maintaining local roads and footpaths and their signage and drainage, repairing potholes and winter gritting.
Highways maintenance is currently delivered Northamptonshire-wide under arrangements inherited from the previous county council and the new plans will instead see WNC and neighbouring North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) run their own separate contracts and services.
The final three bidders have now submitted their tenders for the West Northants contract which, at approximately £30m a year, will be one of the highest value awarded by the Council and is set to run for seven years, with the potential to extend to a maximum of 14 years.
At the forefront of the Council’s priorities is to appoint a contractor that will not only achieve greater value for money but work innovatively, tackle climate change, communicate effectively with the public and add social value, such as things that will collectively benefit the wider community.
Cllr Phil Larratt, WNC’s Cabinet Member for environment, transport, highways & waste, said: “Maintaining our local roads is one of the largest, most essential services we provide to the public so it’s absolutely crucial that we shape and award a contract that delivers upon our priorities for making future improvements.
"We’ve considered and placed the needs of our residents at the heart of this procurement process, whilst also balancing the desire for high quality services alongside the future cost of this.
"It’s important that our new highways partner also shares our vision for a more sustainable West Northants and works with us to protect and improve our environment, economy and society for future generations.
"It’s been a long, technical and often complicated process but I’m really pleased that we’re now nearing contract completion, with a view to the new service being in place from this autumn."
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.
At their meeting next week WNC Cabinet members will consider whether to delegate authority to award the contract to the Council’s Executive Directors for Place and Finance, in consultation with the Cabinet Members for Highways and Finance.
The meeting takes place on Tuesday, 3 May from 6pm at the Forum in Towcester and can be viewed live on the Council’s Youtube channel.
22 April 2022
Local community and voluntary groups who deliver important services in West Northamptonshire have another chance to apply for grants of up to £15,000.
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has announced a fresh round of Community Funding Grants opened for applications today, Friday, 22 April 2022.
Applications for this round of funding should be submitted no later than Sunday, 15 May.
Councillor David Smith, WNC's Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement, and regulatory services, said: “There’s so much community spirit and good will in West Northamptonshire, people are willing to reach out and help those most in need.
“Community and voluntary groups are small, highly connected and can react quickly to specific needs. They are an important partner and I’m really looking forward to see the creative ways they’ve come up with to support the council’s corporate plan priorities."
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
You can find out more about the criteria and who can apply for a grant on the WNC website and in the council’s Community Funding Grant Policy.
If you are interested in applying for a Community Funding Grant, you will need to complete an Expression Of Interest Form, which is available on the WNC website.
If you would like to speak to the Community Funding Officer Peter Worth message him via our online contact form, or call Customer Services on 0300 126 7000.
Further rounds of grants of up to £5,000 will be announced in the summer, autumn, and winter on our Community Grants page.
21 April 2022
Organisations across Northamptonshire have come together to say “it only takes one community to say enough is enough” to violence against women.
A partnership led by West Northamptonshire Council and Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, with Northamptonshire Police, Northamptonshire Rape Crisis and Northampton BID has come together to create a network of measures to make women safer at night by improving physical safety and security, tackling perpetrators, and starting a conversation that helps people call-out abuse.
The programme of work carried out has included measures to make licensed venues safer, and a ground-breaking programme to train venue staff to recognise and tackle predatory behaviour.
Central to the programme is a new communications campaign that will raise awareness of all forms of harassment and violence against women and highlight that it only takes one person to say enough is enough to challenge the attitudes and inappropriate behaviours of some men.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and West Northamptonshire Council together were awarded more than £800,000 in Home Office funding to invest in the safety of women in the night-time economy.
What work has been carried out?
The programme of work was developed in consultation with groups representing women and local communities, and has included:
- £180,000 investment for new, monitored CCTV and further investment for help points on the Racecourse, Becket’s Park, All Saints Plaza and Abington Street in a first for Northampton. These allow someone to buzz for help and speak instantly to CCTV operators, while the camera zooms in on their location
- Funding to bring the Shout Up programme to Northampton, to train and accredit bar staff in identifying and challenging harassing behaviour in their premises
- ANPR cameras and other safety improvements in the Racecourse car park and a well-lit and signed safer walking route across Becket’s Park to the town centre
- Funding for licensed premises to take part in the Licensing Safety and Vulnerability Initiative (LSavi) so that they can reassure their customers they take security seriously
- Support for a special police operation that is targeting perpetrators who prey on women in the night-time economy
The communications campaign will include advertising, social media, and billboards in the first phase, to highlight the different forms of harassment and encourage bystanders to offer support safely and appropriately.
A new website – it only takes one – will provide information, signpost to agencies that offer support and encourage men to have a conversation about attitudes towards women and the impact harassment and abuse has on their lives.
And the wider programme of work will continue to expand and be developed in the coming months and years and rolled out across the county.
West Northamptonshire Council Leader Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety Cllr David Smith and Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold visited the Picturedrome, near the Racecourse, where staff have taken part in the first round of Shout Up training.
Suzy Keeping, is owner and director of two town centre venues, the Picturedrome and the Old White Hart, whose staff have all completed the Shout Up training. Suzy said: “I don’t think I know a woman who hasn’t experienced something nasty - let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen to every woman, it does. We think that’s how it is. But I am 100% up for helping to make a change and that is why our staff have taken part in Shout Up.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold praised the businesses and organisations that have come together. He said: “Enough really is enough: it only takes one person to reach out, offer support, tell a friend to cut out the inappropriate comments. Together we can put a stop to sexual harassment, and that can only make the whole community safer.
“What makes our campaign unique is that partners have truly acknowledged that women’s safety is everyone’s responsibility and committed themselves to making a change and start a conversation about respect for women.”
Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home and their area. Through this partnership initiative our goal is to prevent problems before they occur and increase people’s feelings of safety, and we want residents to be proud of West Northants and to move around it freely and without fear.”
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Engagement and Regulatory Services, added: “Women and girls are disproportionately affected by crimes like harassment in public places. It really does only take one person to say enough is enough and challenge inappropriate behaviour, and I hope these improvements will help people to feel confident, safe and secure whatever the time of day.”
Northamptonshire Rape Crisis have delivered Shout Up training to 3 pilot venues and been consultants on the awareness campaign. Chief Executive Officer Dawn Thomas said: “The response to Shout-Up! has been extremely positive with pubs and venues enthusiastic to be involved in the scheme and promote it to others.
“We all want the same thing; that our pubs and clubs are a safe place for everyone to go. Northamptonshire Rape Crisis will be delivering Shout-Up! training to venues across Northampton and Kettering and we hope to roll the scheme out county wide later in the year.
“We’re delighted that some of the most well-recognised Northampton venues have come forward to get involved at this early stage, and that they are determined to be the best premises they can be.
“Shout-Up! training also enables pubs and venues to understand how they can intervene for their staff too, as too often harassment of staff is normalised. We look forward to working with venues in the coming months to protect their staff and patrons from harassment.”
Northamptonshire Police have been running Operation Kayak to actively pursue predators who target and prey on women in the night-time economy. Detective Superintendent Joe Banfield said: “We are really pleased to be part of this programme to make Northampton safer, and fully support the It Only Takes One campaign. Things will only change for women if we all do the right thing. We need to be upstanding as a community to challenge and condemn harassment and stop this kind of abuse.
“Misogyny, sexism and discrimination should be called out by everyone, so perpetrators understand this won’t be tolerated. Left unchallenged, this type of behaviour can escalate and in some cases lead to serious crime and violence against women and girls. Women are harassed and abused every day, and it needs to stop.”
Northampton Town Centre BID is committed to making Northampton a safe and attractive place to visit and do business and strongly supports the new campaign.
BID Operations Manager Mark Mullen said: “We want everyone to feel confident they can enjoy a night out in Northampton without the fear of violence or harassment, so we wholeheartedly welcome this campaign. By working together we can create an environment where every women feels safe, respected and valued.
Information and support can be found at it only takes one.
22 April 2022
Free tickets are now available for the Big Jubilee Lunch event taking place in the grounds of the historic Delapré Abbey in Northampton on Sunday, 5 June from 11am – 4pm.
The Big Lunch is the perfect chance for residents from across West Northamptonshire to come together and celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, while enjoying a range of live music, performances, activities and stalls, along with a traditional English picnic.
A brass band, the Step-By-Step Dance School and a host of other performers from across West Northamptonshire will take to the stage during the event, while the Jubilee Pageant taking place in London is set to be broadcast live on a big screen.
Audiences will also be entertained by The Masque Theatre and Living History re-enactment group who are set to give performances in the gardens of the abbey, plus the ever-popular Silent Disco will add to the party atmosphere!
Councillor Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Cabinet member for Housing, Leisure and Culture, said: “We’re inviting residents from across West Northamptonshire to join us in celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, by sharing friendship, food and fun at one of the area’s most majestic destinations.
“We’re delighted to be working with Delapré Abbey, the Royal & Derngate and Stageright Productions to deliver this event, which is set to be a great experience for people of all ages, so please make sure you get your free tickets as soon as possible so you can be part of this historic day.”
Anyone looking for a souvenir from the day can browse a selection of unique hand-made items on sale in the Vintage Guru Craft Makers Market, plus a variety of food and drink stalls will be on site, along with the award-winning Orangery Café, for those who don’t want to bring their own picnic.
Richard Clinton, Chief Executive of Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, said: “We’re delighted to host The Big Lunch here at the Abbey, bringing together communities and partners from across West Northamptonshire for a truly memorable celebration.”
Tickets are available from the Royal & Derngate. Entry is free but by ticket only.
More information about the Big Lunch will be shared on social media @WestNorthants and @DelapreAbbey over the coming weeks.
A countywide pageant is also set to parade through the streets of Northampton Town Centre on Saturday, 4 June at 11am, with representatives from the military, emergency services, youth and community groups.
22 April 2022
Free, independent, confidential and specialist legal advice is being offered to Northamptonshire’s residents by Community Law Service (Northampton and County).
The service can offer help with housing repossession and eviction, welfare benefits, debt, immigration, energy efficiency advice and fuel poverty.
Sessions can be accessed via the Community Law Service reception desk in the One Stop Shop at the Guildhall in Northampton, which is open between 9.30am and 12.30pm, Monday to Thursday.
The following sessions are available:
- Monday 10am to Midday: Immigration – free initial consultations (drop-in session)
- Tuesday 10am to Midday: Welfare Benefit /Energy Advice (drop -in session)
- Wednesday 10am to Midday: Debt (drop-in session)
- Thursday 10am to Midday: Housing (pre-booked appointments only)
For pre-booked appointments, please call 01604 621038 in advance, visit the reception at The Guildhall or visit the Community Law Service office at 49-53 Hazelwood Road, Northampton.
Residents can also receive advice by email, telephone, Zoom or a home visit. For more information visit Community Law Service.
The service is currently funded by:
- West Northamptonshire Council
- North Northamptonshire Council
- Legal Aid Agency
- Community Justice Fund
- Money and Pensions Service
- Northamptonshire Carers
- British Gas Energy Trust
- National Grid Warm Homes Fund
- Self-funded Immigration Advice Service
- The National Lottery Community Fund