A tale of two allowances

Plus updates on HS2 protestor Larch and the latest on the campaign to help Greg

This week’s Friday brief takes a look at the allowances that will be given to the new unitary councillors, brings good news on Greg’s new home and an update on Kettering’s climate change activist Larch Maxey.

It looks like there will be a divide between the North and West unitary councils about how much they pay in allowances to their councillors.

The North has agreed a proposal to pay its leader £39,500 and give its members £12,500. Members of the executive will each receive £13,500. The West however is proposing much higher allowances. The leader is set to receive £48,125, cabinet members £24,063 and all councillors £13,750.

The shadow west executive was supposed to vote on the matter on Tuesday night but ran out of time.

The matter proved to be a contentious point with the Labour group proposing a cut in the proposed allowances as part of its budget amendments. The proposal was voted down. Both Labour and the Lib Dems hit out at the high levels with Labour’s Danielle Stone saying it was ‘absolutely not in perspective’ and Lib Dem Sally Beardsworth said the politicians should  understand the tough times some local residents are facing. Conservative Sam Rumens argued in favour of the level saying lower allowances ‘shut out’ some people from standing for election. 

Elections to the unitaries will take place on Thursday, May 6th. 

Dr Larch Maxey on terra firma

After more than four weeks underground HS2 activist Larch Maxey has been evicted from the tunnel underneath Euston. Larch, who is originally from Kettering and has family in the town, was taken out of the tunnel on Monday by bailiffs. This week he appeared at a London magistrates court and pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated trespass, criminal damage and obstructing bailiffs . He was released on conditional bail and will face trial in July.

Larch and a group of fellow protestors had gone into the tunnel on January 26 after digging a network of tunnels in secret. They had done so in order to try and raise awareness of the damage the HS2 rail build will do to land and trees across the country.

Three more protestors - including the famous Swampy - left the tunnel yesterday and only one tunneller now remains.

A new home for Greg

What a week it has been for Greg! After the car he had been living in for six years was taken away by police last Friday, the local community of Titchmarsh swung into action to help him. Within 24 hours he had been put up in a Travelodge and after social media users complained to the chief of Northamptonshire Police Nick Adderley about the way he had been treated his car was returned at no cost. 

Since then, around £3,000 has been raised to help him and a caravan has been donated for him to live in. The caravan has been cleaned up and kitted out with all the essentials and is now parked on private land which is owned by a local company. 

Greg moved into his new home on Wednesday and is thrilled with it. Local residents have been taking it in turns to drop off home-cooked meals and make sure he has everything he needs to settle in. 

Trees felled to make way for new cultural quarter

Campaigners are saddened after work to fell two trees in Kettering began yesterday. A silver birch and 100 year-old scots pine will be taken down as part of £3.9m plans to redevelop the facilities in the area and create GLaM - Kettering Gallery, Library, and Museum.

Campaign group Save Kettering’s Heritage Quarter Trees had successfully lobbied to lessen the number of trees on the site that were to be felled, but were unable to save the Scots Pine and Silver Birch as Kettering Council moved ahead with the works.

Twitter avatar for @dezzahdDez Dell @dezzahd
Alas the Scots Pine and Silver Birch were felled today. I recorded this livestream to bear witness.
fb.watch/3TyWjPsljB/ The achievement of the campaign group is amazing, as a large number more trees should have been felled today if it wasn’t for their efforts. #Kettering ImageImageImageImage

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