Friday brief: India Chipchase's mum backs relaunch of women's safety scheme

Plus: An extraordinary meeting called by North Northants Council, Cobblers deal saga continues, our regular Westminster Watch feature and some events for the weekend

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A project set up by the family of India Chipchase, who was murdered by a man she met outside a Northampton nightclub, is being relaunched to help keep women in the town safe at night. 

The Northamptonshire Emergency Services Volunteers (NESV) have secured funding from the police and crime commissioners office which will allow them to take over the running of the Northampton Guardians project.

The scheme which was launched in 2018 involved volunteers patrolling the town centre in the evening to keep an eye out for women and girls who are vulnerable or alone. 

India’s mum Sue Poynter was previously running the project but has found it increasingly difficult to do so as she is a frontline worker. Now, she is hoping that the work can continue in memory of her daughter.

“I’m delighted that this is happening,” she told NN Journal. “I wholeheartedly support NESV and will continue to help them in any way I can. I have spoken with India’s father, her siblings and my husband who all agree it is a great idea.”

Scott Fitzsimmons from NESV says discussions have been ongoing about how to help protect women and girls in Northampton town centre, especially at a time when there is growing concern about drink spiking.

“We will have people patrolling the area in the evenings and there will be a vehicle parked up in the market square. We’ll be linked into the town centre CCTV and radios so if somebody is alone or appears vulnerable we can assist them,” Fitzsimmons says.

The group is now looking for volunteers, particularly women, to help make the project a success. 

Earlier this month the police and crime commissioner’s office was awarded £300,000 from the Home Office for projects to prevent violence in the night-time economy. Speaking at the time, commissioner Stephen Mold said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve been successful in securing £300,000 to help tackle violence against women and girls. This funding means we’ll be able to carry on working with our partners towards making Northamptonshire a safer place to live.”

NESV will continue using the project name of Northampton Guardians in memory of India. Anybody wanting to volunteer should email emergencyservicevolunteers@gmail.com


News in brief

  • An extraordinary meeting has been scheduled for North Northamptonshire Council. Speculation is the meeting will concern the legal action being taken against the council by wrongly jailed publican Geoff Monks who lost his businesses in the 2000s after being pursued by the former East Northants District Council for trumped up food hygiene offences.

Monks is suing the council for several millions in lost earnings and the matter had got as far as the high court before mediation was entered into by both parties.

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  • Concerns are growing among councillors over a land deal next to the Sixfields Stadium. Earlier this week we exclusively revealed that a cross party meeting to discuss the deal had to be cancelled due to issues around the valuation of the land.

Councillors were previously told at a members briefing that “extensive due diligence” had been done regarding the valuation and that the deal would be presented to a full council meeting on December 2 before going before the cabinet on December 7. 

Now it is understood the meeting was cancelled because the authority is seeking a ‘red book valuation’. The deal is also not listed on the agenda for the upcoming full council meeting.

The council received its current valuation report on the land in September from property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton. It was made clear to them at the time that the advice did not constitute a formal ‘red book valuation’.


Westminster Watch

Corby’s MP Tom Pursglove and Wellingborough MP Peter Bone appeared on TV this week talking about the migrant channel crossings, which saw the tragic death by drowning of 27 people who had tried to get to England by boat.

Both turned their attention to the smugglers who are being paid to get people seeking asylum across the channel to England.

The boat issue has been a huge concern for Bone in recent months and he tried to introduce a private members bill, which if passed would have seen the boats turned back to France rather than allowing the refugees to claim asylum in the UK.

In another debate in parliament earlier in the week Bone called human traffickers ‘evil bastards’.

He has also recently claimed that economic migrants were being put up at the taxpayers expense in four star hotels in Wellingborough.

Our fact check revealed there are no four star hotels in Wellingborough and the nearest four star is in Kettering, outside of his constituency.

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Independent of the week

The cake scene in the North of the county arguably belongs to Butterwick who after opening a hugely successful bakery in Corby in 2019, recently opened a shop in Market Place, Kettering and now work has begun fitting out a new shop in Silver Street, Wellingborough.

The scene specialises in luxurious donuts and cheesecakes, if you’ve not tried something yet - what are you waiting for?


NN Culture

🎅 The Christmas Frost Fair returns to Northampton on Sunday. The festive market will be held between 11-4pm on the Market Square. There will be live entertainment as well as a parade at 1pm

🌭 Saxby’s Cider and Sausage Fest is taking place in Farndish on Saturday from 5pm. It is an adult only event and tickets are £5

🎵 There’s a record fair at the Black Prince in Northampton on Saturday between 11 - 4pm

🎻 The Kettering Symphony Orchestra's Winter Concert will be held at the Salvation Army Citadel on Saturday evening. Tickets are £5


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