Friday brief: No court apology, yet
Plus the latest on the Save Towcester campaign, news from Westminster and some things to do at the weekend
The long running saga of the Snooty Fox legal case took another turn yesterday after North Northamptonshire Council was unable to make its promised apology to Geoff Monks at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Last month the authority agreed a settlement with former Lowick publican Monks, 67, for £4m (the figure has not been publicly disclosed but NN Journal has been aware of the figure) for wrongful food safety prosecutions against him in the 2000s, which eventually saw him end up in a category A prison in the same wing as Ian Huntley.
Monks took out a civil claim in 2018 against the former East Northamptonshire Council suing them for damages for loss of earnings and claiming the former authority had carried out an ‘abuse of process’ in its prosecution of him.
But after the now defunct authority did not deal with the legal action before it was shut down the liability passed to the new NNC and to all council tax payers across the North of the county.
As part of the agreement the new council agreed to make a public apology to Monks in the High court, but just hours before the apology was due to be made yesterday morning by leader Cllr Jason Smithers, Mr Justice Soole queried whether it was within the court’s powers to deal with the apology in this way. (Apologies are more the norm in defamation cases).
NN Journal travelled down to the London court and spoke to Geraint Thomas from Monk’s legal team who said both sides need to make legal submissions on the matter to the court and are due to appear before the court again in early March.
The setback will end up costing NNC more money as the costs of the legal work will have to be covered.
News in Brief
Outline planning was approved for one of four major warehouse developments in Towcester yesterday.
The West Northants Strategic Planning Committee was split over the decisions but the chair voted in favour for the plans meaning they were finally passed five votes to four.
Campaigners, who staged a protest against the plans outside the meeting, say their fight will continue.
Local councillor Maggie Clubley told NN Journal she was very disappointed with the decision but that following an intervention from MP Andrea Leadsom, West Northants Council have agreed to prepare Strategic Planning Guidance to set out the size of new buildings and mix of businesses which she hopes will prevent further large scale developments in the area.
Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris has had a busy week. As well as meeting several international ministers of state and ambassadors as part of his role at the Foreign Office, he is also rumored to be a key player in a shadow whip operation deployed to bolster support for Boris Johnson. Both the i newspaper and the New Statesman report that he, Levelling up minister Chris Pincher and cabinet office minister Nigel Adams have been tasked with saving the prime minister ahead of the publication of Sue Gray’s report on alleged parties at No 10.
Independent of the week
The Italian Shop, Northampton
Tucked away in a residential area of Northampton, The Italian Shop is something of a hidden gem. Established in 2012, the deli stocks a great range of products, holds cookery classes and if you’re lucky enough to get a seat you can sit in for a coffee and a panini.
You can find them on the corner of Ashburnham Road or check out their website here: https://www.theitalianshopnorthampton.co.uk/about-the-deli.php
💃There are a small number of tickets left for a celebration of Luther Vandross at the Deco on Saturday night. https://www.thedeco.co.uk/events/
🥗 A vegan market is being held at Abington Park Museum in Northampton from 11am - 4pm.
🎤 There's an open mic night at the Olive restaurant and bar in Corby tonight from 6pm.
🤡 You can join in with Circus acts in Wellingborough on Saturday. The free event will take place between 2.30pm-4.30pm on Market Street.
There’s just a few days left of our January Sale. For less than £5 a month you will help support independent journalism for Northamptonshire
NN Journal is a reader-supported publication. To receive all our posts and support our independent journalism, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.