13 May 2022
Traders will not be charged pitch fees during their two-year relocation to Commercial Street car park in Northampton while Market Square undergoes its planned transformation.
As we enter Love Your Local Market, running from today (13 May) to 5 June, we’re encouraging people to head to Market Square and discover great produce and services like fresh fruit and veg, beautiful flowers, clothing and key cutting.
Market Square redevelopment
Work on Market Square is due to start by this winter and will include resurfacing, a major new water feature, additional trees, new public seating, redesigned market stalls and a new lighting scheme.
The relocation is necessary as construction work, additional traffic, noise, dust and disturbance make it impractical to keep the market on the square during the redevelopment. It would cause significant implications on the phasing of work, adding more than £800k to the project cost and delaying completion.
Once the work is complete, there will be scope for Market Square to be used for a variety of events as well as being a catalyst in attracting new businesses and opportunities to the town. We’ve just asked what people would like to see there, and results of that survey will be made public soon.
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 we believe may have impacted on the long-term sustainability of the market.
“Council colleagues have been meeting with the traders at least once a week since the beginning of the year, and prior to that we met with them monthly, to look at alternative sites, so we know this is not the solution they would have preferred.Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council
“Nevertheless, we honestly believe that there is an opportunity for traders in temporarily moving to a new location which offers high visibility and should bring their wares to the attention of a much wider audience.
“Of course, we know that the traders have many loyal customers, and we hope those customers will continue to support the market once it moves. In fact, we’re looking at a number of ways we might be able to help on that front.
“We’ll be working with traders to ensure we have a comprehensive marketing plan around the new location, and we’re working with bus service providers to locate a stop close by.
“The whole purpose of moving the market is so we can improve the square, delivering a much better experience for visitors to our town centre, and that includes a much better market for both visitors and for the traders themselves.”
We will continue to help promote the market in the lead-up to its move to Commercial Street this autumn or winter.
The size of the market has diminished over the years and it now costs taxpayers £180k per year to run, rather than turning a profit. The Market Square redevelopment is an opportunity to also build a market that attracts a much wider audience.
Traders will be moved to Commercial Street during the coming autumn or winter so work can begin on development of a new-look Market Square.
Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) and Northants Search and Rescue (NSAR) have signed an agreement that will strengthen search and rescue capability in the county.
The new agreement reinforces the already cohesive partnership between the two organisations, which has been built over the last five years. It provides a framework to improve joint operational activity and will increase response capacity when attending incidents, such as water rescues and large-scale searches.
NSAR, a charitable organisation run by volunteers, has been in operation since 2013 and was originally set up to assist the police in locating vulnerable or high-risk missing persons. This resulted in a similar framework being agreed with Northamptonshire Police.
As NSAR’s expertise has grown and resources improved, NSAR volunteers have been increasingly involved in supporting NFRS at a variety of incidents across the county.
Chief Fire Officer at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, Darren Dovey, said: “I am delighted that we have reinforced our relationship with Northamptonshire Search and Rescue. As demands on the fire service change, we want to embed collaborative and partnership working into our operations to ensure we can effectively meet the emerging challenges across the county and use all resources available to us efficiently and effectively.
“Collaboration provides us with an opportunity to build greater innovation into our response, promotes a more integrated approach and a broader skills base so we can continue to deliver the highest quality service to the public.”
Both organisations benefit from this new agreement with improved sharing of intelligence and specialist equipment, including incident support and welfare vehicles, as well as further specialist skills, such as swift water and flood rescue expertise, drone operatives and trained lowland search technicians.
NSAR Search Manager, Neil Balderson said: “The agreement with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is testament to the professionalism and dedication of our team of volunteers. We have been working hard to make sure all our capabilities meet the rigorous standards set by the police initially and now by the fire service.
“We look forward to working and training more closely with colleagues in the fire service, supporting them and the people of Northamptonshire whenever the need arises.”
Supporting the new agreement Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold said: “I recently attended a scenario-based training exercise with Northants Search and Rescue, involving two missing persons and saw first-hand the volunteers’ expertise and professionalism in managing a challenging situation.
“There is already a strong co-operation between NSAR and the fire service, but I fully support a greater collaboration between the agencies to maximise resources and skills, and ultimately provide even better protection to communities across the county.”
As part of the agreement, NFRS and NSAR will carry out more joint training exercises to develop and maintain skills and competence and ensure that both organisations are fully prepared when faced with a live multi-agency incident.
12 May 2022
West Northamptonshire Council has set out its Leadership Team for the forthcoming year, ahead of its annual meeting next week.
At the meeting on Thursday (19 May), the council will receive notification of Cabinet posts for 2022/23, as well as agreeing all other committee memberships.
The new Cabinet will see Councillor Jonathan Nunn continue as Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Strategy, with Councillor Adam Brown as Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure.
Cllr Dan Lister is set to take on the role of Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth, taking on the reins from Councillor Lizzy Bowen who has driven forward the Council’s ambitious economic agenda during its first year as a new authority.
Other proposed Cabinet appointments for the year ahead are as follows:
- Councillor Malcolm Longley – Cabinet Member for Finance
- Councillor Phil Larratt – Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport, Highways and Waste
- Councillor David Smith – Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Engagement, and Regulatory Services
- Councillor Rebecca Breese – Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Built Environment & Rural Affairs
- Councillor Matt Golby – Cabinet Member for Adult Care, Wellbeing, and Health Integration
- Councillor Mike Hallam – Cabinet Member for HR & Corporate Services
- Councillor Fiona Baker – Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education
Commenting on the arrangement changes, Leader of the Council Jonathan Nunn, said: “I would like to thank Lizzy Bowen for the immense energy, drive and enthusiasm she has given to the economic and regeneration portfolio in our first year as a new council.
"She has played an instrumental role in the excellent progress we have been making in our plans towards improving and revitalising Northampton town centre and driving investment into our other towns and wider West Northants.
"Lizzy passes over a very robust portfolio to Dan, who was previously Assistant Cabinet Member for Education, supporting Cllr Baker’s role. I’m sure Dan will do us proud in continuing Lizzy’s great work while stamping his own mark."
Councillor Lizzy Bowen said: “It has been a pleasure over the last year to work on these projects and see our plans take shape, but I’m stepping back to focus more on family and my personal life.
"I’d like to wish Dan all the best in his future role, I’ve no doubt he’ll do great things, based on the fantastic developments and exciting plans I know we have coming up."
At next week’s meeting members will also consider committee memberships for 2022/23, with the following chairs proposed:
- Councillor Rebecca Breese – Chair, Planning Policy Committee
- Councillor Andrew Kilbride – Chair, Alcohol and Gambling Licensing Committee & Taxi and General Licensing Committee
- Councillor Phil Bignell – Chair, Strategic Planning Committee
- Councillor Ian McCord – Chair, Corporate Scrutiny Committee
- Councillor Rosie Herring – Chair, People Scrutiny Committee
- Councillor Dermot Bambridge – Chair, Place Scrutiny Committee
- Councillor Jonathan Nunn – Chair, Senior Appointments Committee
- Councillor Cecile Irving-Swift – Chair, Audit and Governance Committee
- Councillor Suresh Patel – Chair, Democracy and Standards Committee
- Councillor Kevin Parker – Chair, Daventry Area Planning Committee
- Councillor Jamie Lane – Chair, Northampton Area Planning Committee
- Councillor Stephen Clarke – Chair, South Northants Area Planning Committee
- Councillor Malcolm Longley – Chair, Pensions Committee & Investment SubCommittee
For the full list of committee memberships is available on the agenda along with reports for the Annual meeting of the Council on Thursday, 19 May.
11 May 2022
The deadline for children and young people in Northamptonshire to display their creative skills and take part in the countywide Queen of Arts Jubilee Activity has been extended to Monday, 30 May.
With the dual aims of including as many people as possible and having a minimal impact on the environment, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) are challenging everyone to up-cycle household items by decorating them in honour of Her Majesty.
WNC Chairman Cllr Ann Addison, said: “The possibilities are endless: old t-shirts, tea towels, old sheets, scrap wood, you’re limited only by your imagination.
“Instead of clicking on the internet to have some plastic bunting shipped around the world to be used once, make your own. Paint a picture, create a collage, express what the Queen means to you with a personalised t-shirt, hat or poster.
“Being Northamptonshire I expect we’ll see plenty of old shoes and boots given new life, and I really hope our embroiderers and lacemakers are already busy.
“And if you’re not creative with your hands, write a poem or a song.”
The councils will display all entries in a digital Jubilee exhibition which will tour the county’s libraries, starting in the west before moving on to the north.
North Northamptonshire Council’s Chair, Cllr Paul Bell said: “In rapidly changing times, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has been an icon of stability and I hope this summer our street parties and events will be filled with colourful displays of what she means to them.
“I would encourage everyone to get involved and I look forward to seeing all the entries displayed at libraries across Northamptonshire.”
Judges will select their favourite entry and the winner will be invited to attend the Big Lunch at Delapre Abbey as a special guest on Sunday, 5 June. There will also be some arty prizes for runners up.
Please send a picture of your entry to [email protected] and include your name, age and a couple of lines stating ‘what the Queen means to you’ by Monday 30 May 2022.
11 May 2022
The most vulnerable children in West Northamptonshire will receive lunch vouchers during the coming May half-term.
The announcement comes after the Government funding for Free School Meals during the pandemic came to an end, but West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has been able to tap into the Household Support Fund to pay for the vouchers.
The scheme will support 9,500 families by providing them with a £15 meal voucher per child to pay for lunch during the week-long school holiday.
Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC Cabinet member for children, families and education said: “We might feel that the pandemic is over, but the cost of living is putting immense pressure on household budgets.
"It cannot go on forever, but we will do as much as we can to shield children from the impact of those increasing costs."
Schools are currently being asked to provide lists of eligible families from which WNC will generate individual pupil vouchers that will be returned to schools for distribution.
Schools with the largest number of eligible pupils will receive the vouchers first and the rest in descending order in time for the start of the school holidays later this month.