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Council’s first birthday: a year of challenges and achievements

Councillors and democracy

31 March 2022

A balloon with the West Northants Council logo on it

Our Council is one year old today (1 April 2022) - and we have bold first birthday resolutions for improving local services and communities in the years ahead.

Since replacing the previous district, borough and county councils on 1 April last year we have been making good progress on our fresh start to deliver better local public services across Daventry, Northampton and South Northants areas.

Born from the biggest restructure of local government in Northamptonshire in over 40 years, and having guided communities through the challenges of the Covid pandemic, we now head into our second year with a balanced budget and additional investment in services ahead.

Future transformation plans are also taking shape, including:

  • progressing work to join up health and social care services and working collaboratively to help people live their best lives
  • work on our Anti-Poverty plans and skills agenda
  • an ambitious new approach to making West Northants a more sustainable and environmentally friendly place to live and work, to protect and improve the local environment, economy and society for future generations

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said:

"Despite the significant challenges of shaping our new Council during a global pandemic, we are really proud of everything that’s been achieved in our first year, as well as the great spirit and resilience of our communities and their continued support along the way.

"We’ve worked hard to shape a fresh vision for our area and have made good progress towards our priorities for making the West Northants a great place to live, work, visit and thrive. We know we’re still near the beginning of our journey and there’s much more work to be done. 

"We have recently launched our Big Conversation too as the next steps in our journey are not just about delivering against our existing corporate plan but making sure that we are addressing the things that matter most to residents and getting their input to what works and what needs to change.

"But we have had a great start to our life as a new Council and we’re committed to building on that for the benefit of residents and businesses in the year ahead."

What we have been doing during our first year

Since last April we have delivered a broad range of services, projects and activities as part of its six top priorities for making the area a great place to live, work visit and thrive – here are just a few of the highlights:

Priority: Improved Life Chances

  • Supporting and guiding residents and businesses through the Covid pandemic
  • Continuing the improvement journey in children’s services as recognised by Ofsted
  • Progressing plans to join up health and social care services
  • Helping the most vulnerable including free school meals, funds to help households with food and energy bills, resettling Afghan families and beginning to co-ordinate the Government’s Ukraine response locally
  • Developing our Anti-Poverty Strategy with partner organisations and charities
  • Continuing to build high quality council homes
  • Council Tax reduction scheme and improving financial support for care leavers
  • Allocating school places and proposals for a new secondary school Proposal for Moulton
  • Staging a range of events to celebrate our communities, equality and diversity – including the Male Role Model & Inspirational Women awards
  • Awareness and commemoration days and events – IDAHOBIT, Pride, Armed Forces Day, International Day of Disabilities and Black History Month
  • Developing the Armed Forces Covenant and establishing new armed forces hubs
  • New customer experience strategy to improve how residents access our services

Priority: Green and Clean places

  • Shaping our new sustainability goals - to net zero the Council’s own emissions by 2030 and those of residents and businesses by 2045
  • Retaining Green Flag awards for our high-quality parks
  • Improving Towcester Watermeadows and encouraging community tree planting
  • £6.2m community flood protection scheme
  • Installing new electric charge points across West Northants
  • Crackdowns and prosecutions on environmental offenders, from fly-tipping and food safety to Trading Standards
  • New litter charter and community litter-picking initiatives
  • Grants for landowners to tackle fly tipping

Priority: Economic Development

  • Submitting a bid for city status for Northampton
  • Securing £37m funding for regenerating Northampton town centre and Market Square
  • Delivering Daventry's new cinema complex
  • Redeveloping Brackley Library and delivering our award-winning ‘For the Love of Books’ reading challenge to over a thousand residents Consulting on shaping our Strategic Plan
  • Supporting businesses and start-ups with funding, advice and support

Priority: Connected Communities

  • Embarking on a major roads improvement programme
  • Making plans and funding bids to improve bus services
  • Extending Northampton's public e-scooter scheme
  • Shaping and progressing our future highways maintenance service and transport infrastructure

Priority: Thriving villages and towns

  • Providing accommodation and support for rough sleepers
  • Localising planning arrangements and simplified, more effective planning enforcement
  • Investing in a host of initiatives to make communities safer
  • Distributing grant funding for community and voluntary groups
  • Re-opening the refurbished and extended Northampton Museum and Art Gallery
  • Showcasing our heritage with open days and supporting the Go Northamptonshire destination campaign
  • Redevelopment of Avenue campus into 170 new homes
  • Working with parishes on Neighbourhood development plans and conservation area appraisals

Priority: Robust Resource Management

  • Capping Council Tax rises at £99 per year
  • On target deliver our first year on budget, and setting a balanced budget for the year ahead and making robust plans to tackle financial challenges
  • Working to join up local services across the whole West Northants area, to make them better and more cost-effective

Read more about the Council’s Vision, Corporate Plan and priorities.

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