Friday brief: Council commits to levelling up report recommendations
Our regular round up of some of the week's news from across the county
Tragic news this week with the killing of a teenager in Northampton. Kyle Ghanie’s murder comes a year after Dylan Holliday, 16, was murdered on the county’s streets. Our thoughts go out to Kyle’s family.
North Northamptonshire Council’s executive yesterday committed to delivering the recommendations made by a special committee looking at how to improve life for residents living in the area’s three left behind neighbourhoods.
The executive said the authority was fully committed to progressing the suggestions made by the Levelling Up Scrutiny Commission, chaired by Labour Cllr Zoe McGhee, after her public appeal last August for the authority to look at ways the areas could be improved.
The report written by director of adult services and communities David Watts made a number of recommendations after carrying out walkabouts and public meetings in the areas of Kingswood and Hazel Leys in Corby, Queensway in Wellingborough and Avondale Grange.
Recommendations include looking into large scale regeneration where housing quality is poor and increasing safety in the areas by installing better lighting and CCTV.
A number of the executive put on record their commitment to follow the suggestions and Cllr Matt Binley, has been appointed as the levelling up executive member.
Executive member Cllr Helen Harrison said the authority was currently in discussions about a number of community hubs for the North Northants area, which would bring public services, such as housing and health under one roof and be more accessible to residents.
In the same meeting the spiralling cost of agency spend by the authority was revealed. In June the authority spent £883,279 with its contracted agency provider OPUS. This was an increase of 43 per cent on May’s £498,639 spend.
A note in the report said the larger than usual spend had been partly incurred due to the five week month and the two bank holidays. The authority has been struggling to recruit and retain staff since it was formed in April last year.
Labour opposition leader John McGhee questioned why out of contract agency spending was not included in the figures. As NN Journal revealed last month the authority is also spending hundreds of thousands each month with numerous agencies outside of its main contract.
Read the story here
News in brief
A Northampton couple are angry after being incorrectly sent a court summons for unpaid council tax by West Northants Council.
Kingsley Park Terrace resident Adam House says that he and his partner have paid their council tax by standing order for a number of years but last month received a letter threatening legal action saying they hadn’t paid for the last four months. The couple quickly responded with proof of the payments but it took the council almost another two weeks before confirming the money had been located, however there was no explanation for why the error occurred.
House replied the same day to ask for the matter to be passed to the complaints department to which he received no reply. This month the couple received another letter saying they hadn’t paid again.
Martin Henry, WNC’s executive director for finance, said: “The Council cannot comment on individual cases. However, occasionally payments are made to us where not enough information is provided with the payment to allocate it to the correct council tax account. On these occasions we put these payments in a holding account until it becomes clear which account it was intended for.”
This comes after a number of previous problems within the council’s Revenue and Benefits department. If you have experienced similar issues paying your council tax please email email@example.com
Lib Dem councillors have written to the bus operator Stagecoach asking the company to ‘urgently reconsider’ cuts to its 500 service which runs between Banbury and Brackley. The councillors say that changes set to be introduced on August 28th will impact people travelling to work and children getting to school. The villages of Middleton Cheney and Chacombe will also be affected.
A teenager has been charged with the murder of 18-year-old Kyle Ghanie. Braydon Philips of Park Road, Irthlingborough will appear at Northampton Crown Court this morning accused of the murder of Kyle Ghanie who died after the attack on Saturday afternoon in Abington Street, Northampton.
🍺 Head to the Coach and Horses in Wellingborough for live music and food at the Coachfest this weekend running between Friday night to Sunday evening
🍲 There’s a summer fete at Abington Park museum in Northampton this Sunday at 1pm
💃r If you’re a fan of Stranger Things you can enjoy a night of music from the show at the Black Prince in Northampton from 7pm on Saturday.
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