Friday brief: Investment in left behind community’s neighbourhood centre
Cash for community improvements at Hazel Leys, plus a cabinet reshuffle for the West unitary and some things to do this weekend
First we bring you some good news as after a successful funding bid, money will be spent on sprucing up a community centre in one of the county’s left behind areas. (Read more below).
Also in this week’s brief is a look at the reshuffle planned for the West unitary, with one prominent councillor stepping back to spend more time with her family and a surprising nomination for the chair of scrutiny.
Hope you enjoy reading and have a great weekend.
Cash is to be spent on community assets in one of the county’s left behind areas, after a successful funding bid has been made.
The Hazel Leys area of Corby will have money spent on upgrading its community centre with new interior decoration and outside cladding and a new mini pump track - for bikers and rollerbladers to use.
The bid was submitted to the FCC Community Foundation (formerly known as WREN) by the council and KHL Big Local, a community project that has been running in the area for the past few years.
A total of £81,820 will be spent, which includes £10,000 from the KHL Big Local fund.
The councillor for the area John McGhee is pleased to see the investment.
He said: “Any new money into the area is obviously welcome and this money will go towards facilities for the young people who live here. It has been worked up in consultation with them.
“But it is only a start and we need more for Kingswood and Hazel Leys.”
The ward is one of five areas in the county officially recognised as left behind, suffering from deprivation coupled with poor community assets.
This week NN Journal went along to a parliamentary event hosted by the community wealth fund, a campaign group, which is arguing that the billions of dormant assets (money in bank accounts not used for many years) should be used to funnel into the country’s 225 left behind areas.
Backed by number of private and public organisations and linked to The Local Trust, (which runs KHL Big Local) and the all parliamentary group for Left Behind Communities, the campaign is growing in support especially from Christian Conservatives such as Danny Kruger MP and has links with a number of people involved or formerly involved with the think tank The Centre for Social Justice.
As part of our left behind series we’ll be having a look at the community wealth fund in the coming weeks and try to work out what it could mean for our left behind areas if it succeeds in its aim to administer the country’s dormant assets.
News in brief
The West Northants Labour group is unhappy about the proposed appointment of Cllr Ian McCord as chair of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee.
McCord, the former leader of the shadow West Northants Council, was expelled from the Conservative party over complaints made against him. This decision was recently overturned after he appealed, however he is now continuing as an independent councillor.
If members vote in favour of the proposal at a full council meeting next week, McCord will replace Labour’s Danielle Stone as chair of the committee.
This has angered the Labour group who do not think a former Conservative leader should hold the position. New leader of the Labour group Cllr Wendy Randall said:
“The decision taken by the Conservative leadership to pack the chairs of our scrutiny bodies with conservatives, really leaves a really bad taste in the mouth.
“The work these groups carry out is incredibly important to the integrity and effectiveness of our Council and how it makes decisions…This decision seems to suggest that the internal politics of the Tory Group is more important than the integrity of our democratic processes and will change the way in which opposition councillors can scrutinise the work of the administration.”
There has also been a change to the cabinet in the west with Cllr Dan Lister taking over Lizzy Bowen’s regeneration brief as she is stepping back to focus on her family and personal life. Leader 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.”
Additional stop and search powers were granted to Northamptonshire Police officers this week following yet more knife crime in the area. The Section 60 powers which covered the racecourse area of Northampton allowed officers to carry out searches without reasonable suspicion. This came after a group of people were seen fighting with knives.
Corby and East Northants MP Tom Pursglove was before a home office select committee this week which looked in detail at the government’ controversial plan to send asylum seekers overseas.
The home office has been criticised from many quarters over the new policy to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, after it paid the country £120m to seal the deal.
At the committee hearing Pursglove, the minister for tackling illegal immigration, was questioned about the timing of the policy annoucement and the modelling behind it, with Labour chairman Diana Johnson suggesting the department had just looked to the Australia model and attempted to replicate it without enough data.
Pursglove hit back saying he was always frustrated to hear criticism when there was a lack of alternative suggestions being put forward.
Independent of the week
A new restaurant with a Turkish and Mediterranean flavour has opened in Corby. Atoussa, in New Post office Square, is getting great reviews so far.
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Private Eye follow up
Private Eye credited one of our earlier stories about the prominent family links and political ties in North Northamptonshire in its Rotten Boroughs column this week.
You can read our original story here
🥳 Off The Streets are holding a community event to mark the arrival of the Knife Angel in Wellingborough tomorrow. Full details here .
📚A new discount book shop is opening in Northampton tomorrow from 9am. The Reading Tree is situated next to the garden centre at the Billing Garden Village.
📷There’s a photography exhibition in Raunds tomorrow. The event will showcase photographs of the town over the last 100 years. It is at Saxon Hall between 11 - 6pm.