Friday brief: Councillor pleads for cash for ‘left behind’ area
Plus news in brief and some things to do this Easter weekend
As is our usual Friday habit today we have a main story - this week’s story is part of our Levelling Up series - and a round up of some news from around the area.
NN Friday Focus
There were heated scenes at the West Northamptonshire Council cabinet meeting this week over calls for extra funds for the ‘left behind’ area of Talavera.
Lib Dem councillor Dennis Meredith repeated calls for £1m to be invested in Talavera (one of 225 areas in the UK identified by a parliamentary group as being ‘left-behind’).
During a discussion about the authority’s new anti-poverty strategy. Cllr Meredith said:
“I’ve raised the issue many, many times … This is about levelling up, I have been told there is money in the budget for my area but so far I have not seen a penny, nothing has been forthcoming.”
The councillor suggested that money could be taken out of reserves to pay for a new community centre, youth services, play equipment, a community orchard and outreach for council services.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s scandalous to have over £40m in reserves and I’m not seeing a penny being spent in Talavera. I was asked to prepare a list [of what it could be spent on] for Cllr Longley and I have done that.”
Cllr Meredith said that he had worked with Community Spaces to have plans drawn up for a new community centre to be placed on the sports field in Southfields.
“I have contacted the officers concerned asking for a meeting to be arranged so I can take the plans to them…so far to date I have not had any response to my emails asking for a meeting which I’m totally annoyed about.”
Leader of the council Jonathan Nunn told the councillor:
“I get it and understand your passion and we all admire your passion for your area…I think we would find that most service areas are spending at least proportionate in Talavera, there’s clearly further ambitions, we don’t mind keeping the dialogue open.”
Things got more heated when deputy leader and cabinet member for housing Adam Brown said that Northamptonshire Partnership Homes are investing in the area with two new housing developments and added that additional housing is fundamental to tackling poverty and the cost of living.
At this point Cllr Meredith stormed off saying the cabinet was just ‘just making excuses’ and was then told by Cllr Nunn that “the last ten minutes of our lives have not been productive”.
Speaking to NN Journal after the meeting, Cllr Meredith said he was very disappointed by the cabinet’s response.
“It’s disgusting, they came out for a walk about in my area and said they were listening yet nothing has been done, so what was the point? It’s all words and no action.”
News in brief:
Three pubs and bars in Northampton have signed up to tackle sexual harassment in their venues.
The Shout Up! Scheme is being funded by the police commissioner’s office with training being given by charity Northamptonshire rape Crisis.
NB’s Cocktail Bar and Club, The Picturedrome and the Old White Hart should now be safer spaces for women after staff have been trained in how to spot the signs of sexual harassment and how to step in safely.
The venues have been given certification which lasts for two years with six-monthly assessments and also requires them to have a publicly available sexual harassment policy.
The scheme was launched in Newcastle a few years ago.
Dawn Thomas, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire Rape Crisis said:
“The response to Shout-Up! has been extremely positive with pubs and venues enthusiastic to be involved in the scheme and promote it to others.
“We all want the same thing; that our pubs and clubs are a safe place for everyone to go. Northamptonshire Rape Crisis will be delivering Shout-Up! training to venues across Northampton and Kettering and we hope to roll the scheme out county wide later in the year.
“We’re delighted that some of the most well-recognised Northampton venues have come forward to get involved at this early stage, and that they are determined to be the best premises they can be.”
The move comes following a number of drink spiking incidents in Northampton last autumn, which left women in need of hospital treatment.
Two of the incidents were at NB’s which afterwards brought in devices to help customers cover their drinks.
A Kettering street was closed down and given a thorough clean after two Green Kettering councillors stepped in.
Havelock Street in Kettering was given a thorough going over by residents, volunteers and the north unitary council’s street clean after councillors Emily Fedorowycz and Dez Dell decided the street needed some TLC.
Cllr Fedorowycz said:
“For the past few years we’ve been trying to clean up Kettering with litter picks and there were certain streets that used to be worse than others with regards to litter. Havelock Street was one of those, and seemed to need a fair bit of love - so that’s what we decided to give it.”
“Seeing the street before and after was amazing. We had residents coming out of their houses just to stare at the street. No one here had ever seen anything like this before, let alone the street being that free of cars! It was quite the spectacle.”
“I’m so grateful to the amazing officers Wayne, Ben, Mike, Ian and Geoff for helping make this possible. We have such an amazing street cleansing team and I know the residents are so grateful for this.”
Ben, one of the officers who helped on the day, said, “In all my years working for the council, I have never seen this street this clean.”
Northampton North MP Michael Ellis took to Twitter this week to pledge support for the prime minister following the announcement that Johnson was fined over Covid rule breaking. Ellis said:
“The prime minister has my 100% full support. Boris Johnson has delivered for this country in getting Brexit done, in world class leadership over the pandemic and in standing up for democracy in Ukraine. I know he is focussed on continuing to deliver for the people of the UK.”
There’s plenty going on this bank holiday weekend
🍫Today from 3pm to 5pm there’s an Easter Egg hunt at Priors Hall Golf course near Corby.
🐤There’s a free Easter egg for every child who goes on the Easter bunny express ride taking place from Rushden Station on Sunday and Monday.
🎩There’s an egg trail at Stanwick Lakes all throughout the Easter weekend.
🎭Children’s favourite Justin Fletcher is on stage at Royal and Derngate, Northampton on Sunday at 11am
A Northamptonshire woman you need to know about
This week we sent to our paying members the story of Ada Salter from Raunds, an amazing woman who became London’s first mayor.
To read Ada’s story, sign up here
For just £5 a month (or £54 for an annual subscription) you can read our full archive of stories that we’ve published over the past 12 months. We’ve covered a wide range of subjects from special reports on health, education and politics.
As its the bank holiday we won’t be publishing this Monday but will be back with news from our county on Tuesday. Happy Easter
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