Friday brief: 'Shame on you'
Campaigners lose planning battle, plus a focus knife crime, an update on a safeguarding review at Temple Court and the latest on the Council Tax rebate
First of all sorry for the earlier mishap. IT issues (again, apologies).
Plenty going on in this week’s Friday round up, but devastating news for the campaigners from Save Weekley Hall Woods who have lost part of their battle (read more below).
Our exposure this week of the two unitary council’s lack of action on the council tax rebate prompted action by both councils and residents now have more of an idea of when the money may go into their banks.
Our news is reaching more people than ever before, but if you could help spread the word to friends and family and share our posts we’d be grateful.
Have a nice weekend and we’ll be back on Monday (with a story combing both national and local politics that you won’t want to miss).
NN Friday Focus
There were cries of ‘shame on you’ as councillors agreed a plan to build on part of the Weekley Hall Wood site last night.
IM Kelly had its warehouse plan approved despite the huge demonstration of public anger at the plans - 20,000 have signed a petition against the site development.
This was the smaller application - a larger one by landowner the Buccleuch Group for five warehouses on an existing wildflower meadow will come to the planning committee in coming months. Buccleuch Group had been part of this current application but at last night’s meeting IM Kelly’s agent said it no longer was.
Campaigners were visibly deflated after the decision was approved by the North Northamptonshire Council’s planning committee last night, in which three councillors voted against the application and five voted in favour.
Independent Jim Hakewill had argued the application should not be agreed and should be deferred, as it was last August, when the need for a masterplan for the area was thought necessary. Last night despite no* agreed masterplan, the application was agreed, as the officers told the committee the site in question only made up 4 per cent of the masterplan area and so was not needed.
But there were rumblings of possible legal action last night from Save Weekley Hall Woods Campaign founder Dez Dell - now himself a green party councillor.
“We’re gutted and very deflated but the campaign continues and we will save the meadow. If the Duke (Of Buccleuch) wants to ruin his reputation he is going the right way about it.”
After the meeting the assembled crowd chanted in defiance outside the council chamber and campaigner Frankie ODowd said: “I think the only thing we can do is get some legal opinion. This seems like our next step.”
The councillors who voted against deferral were all Conservative (Cllr Smyth, Cllr Brown, Cllr Marks, Cllr Carter and Cllr Thurland) and three of the five did not say a word during the application hearing.
*This incorrectly said ‘an’ instead of no agreed in our original version.
People are coming together in Northampton this weekend to take a stand against knife crime.
To mark the arrival of the Knife Angel to the county a march will take place in the town centre and will be followed by a number of performances and speeches organised by the Wellingborough anti-knife crime group Off The Streets.
The event comes as police put out an appeal this week regarding yet another stabbing in the county.
The force is appealing for witnesses to a robbery in the Semilong area on April 23rd which resulted in a teenage boy being stabbed in the back.
Local councillor Cathrine Russell said the incident has left the community shocked.
“The levels of crime and anti-social behaviour we are seeing, not only in my ward but throughout the town, is unacceptable to myself or my residents,” she said.
“In the same week the Knife Angel was placed in the town centre, we learn that a young man has been stabbed for the contents of a rucksack.”
It is the latest in a string of incidents in the county involving a young person being either the victim or perpetrator of a knife offence.
Now, the Knife Angel campaign is looking for 10,000 across Northamptonshire to sign up to be ‘anti-violence ambassadors’ with a pledge to ‘turn away from violence and aggression as a solution to disagreements and conflicts’.
NN Journal has recorded a podcast with young people from our county talking about the effects of knife crime on them. They also interviewed the police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold. Any teachers who want links to the podcast and the resource pack for classroom discussion can email email@example.com
News in brief
A Safeguarding Adults Review into what happened at Temple Court in Kettering during the pandemic is reaching its final stages.
The care home was closed down by the Care Quality Commission and local health chiefs after a series of Covid deaths in April and May 2020
The care home has always insisted its troubles began after patients were discharged untested from the county’s two acute hospitals into the home. A CQC report found residents were at risk when they visited and some were identified as being malnourished and dehydrated.
Last week the High Court ruled the government’s decision to discharge residents from hospitals into care homes was unlawful. Health Secretary Matt Hancock had always insisted a protective ring was being put around care homes. The death toll at Temple Court was among the highest in the country.
Since our story earlier in the week about confusion over the £150 council tax rebate to help with energy costs both unitaries have provided more information. In a members briefing in the West the council says it is aiming to begin payments to 99,000 direct debit payers. Around 48,000 residents who do not pay by direct debit will then be contacted in the week beginning May 16th about how they claim the money.
North Northamptonshire Council’s website has now been updated to say the authority is aiming to start making payments from May 9th for those who pay by direct debit with other residents due to be contacted shortly with more details.
MP for Kettering Phillip Hollobone raised the issue of marriage in the Commons recently. He asked the MP representing the Church Commissioners what the Church of England was doing to support family relationships and marriage.
“According to a recent report from the Centre for Social Justice marriage has become a middle-class secret. Among high income couples…83% have tied the knot; among low-income parents…only 55% are married. This ‘marriage gap’ is a social justice issue.
“Is the Church of England concerned about that, and if so, what is it going to do about it?”
In response he was told churches could learn from those that “have often provided not only a service full of love and meaning but free, individually tailored wedding dresses, with the congregation helping with food, drink and flowers.”
George Row in Northampton has a new addition, plant shop Not Another Jungle. Run by Tony Le-Britton the shop stocks the usual house plant fare plus some rarer types of greenery.
You can check it out on Instagram, here @NotAnotherJungle
The Headlands and Eastfield Community Festival takes place tomorrow from 1pm to 4pm with a concert starting at 4.30pm. Find out more here
The Waendal Walker’s Club is holding a walk from the Montagu Arms in Barnwell from 10 - 3pm on Sunday.
There’s a free comic book day at Close Encounters on Abington Square in Northampton on Saturday from 9.30am - 5pm
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