Friday brief: ‘Left behind’ community centre lost without consultation

Plus a round up of some news from this week, a Cobblers update, regular feature Westminster Watch and the bonfire events taking place this weekend

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A community centre in one of Northamptonshire’s ‘left behind’ areas has been lost without any consultation with local residents.

Northampton Borough Council signed the centre in Kings Heath over to the local GP surgery under a ten-year lease in 2019. 

NN Journal recently asked local councillors about holding a community event in the area as part of our Levelling Up project. When they tried to book the community centre for the event they were told it is now being used as a Covid centre.

As well as having high deprivation levels, ‘left behind’ areas often have a lack of social focus points which research suggests can contribute towards poorer community engagement. 

When NN Journal visited Kings Heath, residents spoke about a lack of facilities and places to socialise in the area. 

Local Labour councillor Terrie Eales says prior to the decision being made about the building the council told her the GP surgery would be investing in the building and it would be kept as a community centre. 

“It sounded positive, then things went quiet and the lease was transferred with no further discussion. Since then we have had the pandemic and multiple lockdowns so it’s been hard to judge.

“I’m all for investment in the centre and more community involvement but as things stand it does feel like it will just be an extension to the surgery rather than an actual community centre.”

West Northants Council (which replaced Northampton Borough Council) says the decision was taken as they were unable to find anybody to run the community centre which it says had been empty for some time before the lease to the GP surgery. 

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News in brief:

  • As we exclusively revealed earlier this week a provisional agreement has been reached between West Northamptonshire Council and Northampton Town Football Club about the sale of some council land. Leader Jonathan Nunn has now announced the club can buy the land close to its stadium (for around £890,000) only when work on the East stand is completed. The long running matter, which has been complicated by the multi-million pound loan that went missing, will be discussed further at the next WNC cabinet on December 2.

  • Northants Police has made progress in its handling of FOI requests. The force was one of three singled out by the Information Commissioner's Office 12 months ago for untimely responses. It was given a series of recommendations and warned that regulatory action could be taken if it did not improve.

    According to information posted on the force’s website in July it responded to 97 per cent of requests in the allotted time scale of 20 days, although in the latest figures the percentage for September has now slipped to 38 per cent  with 215 outstanding responses. This is down from a high of 641 outstanding responses in April 2019


Westminster Watch

Owen Paterson, the former minister at the centre of a cash for access row resigned yesterday after an amendment put forward by South Northants MP Andrea Leadsom sparked controversy. 

The amendment was seen by many as an attempt to block the recommended suspension of Paterson after he was found to have repeatedly lobbied ministers on behalf of two companies he was being paid as a consultant by.

Tory MPs voted in favour of Leadsom’s amendment to review the way the standards process works and halt Paterson’s suspension while a new committee is set up.

The move sparked fury and accusations of corruption. Faced with growing anger, the government was forced into a major U-turn saying there would be another vote on the suspension. Paterson resigned shortly after.

MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone told the Commons his constituency office was vandalised yesterday morning due to his support for Leadsom’s amendment. 

His staff told NN Journal that the words ‘Tory Sleaze’ were sprayed onto the windows of his office and that the incident had been reported to police.


NN Culture

🎨 George Cattermole’s painting The Battle of Naseby will be the subject of a lecture being held this morning from 10.15am at the new Northampton Museum

🔥 There are bonfire events happening all over the county this weekend. 

Highlights for tonight (November 5) include a free public event at Corby Boating Lake from 7pm;  an event at Thrapston sports field in Chancery Lane from 6.45pm and a free event at Kingsthorpe golf club from 7pm.

Tomorrow night events include a show at the racecourse in Northampton organised by the new town council from 4.30pm with fireworks at 6pm; a free event at the Park E-Act Academy in Daventry  and a paid event at Wicksteed park from 5pm. Tickets here ​​

👀 A Preview of Network Arts Colour & Vision Art Exhibition is being held on Saturday at the Castle Theatre in Castle Way, Wellingborough from 12.30pm - 2.30pm.

💃 Garage musician and MOBO award winner Kele Le Roc will be doing a Live PA The Picturedrome in Northampton on Saturday from 8pm.


Independent of the week

RE in Sutton Street, Flore is an eco shop offering plastic free refills on hundreds of items as well as selling fresh bread and coffees.

Opened back in 2019 by Lindsay and Rav Shepherd-Singh the zero waste food store offers deliveries and mail order as well.

Check out their FB page here 


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