This week’s Friday briefing has a tally of vaccine doses given in the county, plus the costs of hiring the mass vaccination centre. There’s also an update on the Conservative Party investigation into bullying and more on the Northampton Town missing millions scandal.
The county’s vaccination centre in Moulton will cost more than £500,000 to rent over a two year period.
Northamptonshire County Council has hired out the large office block on Summerhouse Road on the Moulton Park Industrial Estate for £10,833 per month and has paid £300,000 to adapt the premises. The arrangement has a three-month rent free initial period and a break clause after 12 months, if a one month notice period is given.
The decision was made by the council’s chief executive Theresa Grant using powers within the authority’s constitution to make urgent decisions. The report says the £586,000 rental costs will be payable by the NHS.
Data published by the NHS yesterday said that up until the end of January 106,845 vaccine doses had been administered in Northants. 29,770 over 80s have received their first vaccination (which is 91 per cent of that demographic) and of that number 7,587 (23 per cent) had received both doses. Those aged between 70 and 80 are now rapidly being vaccinated by a network of hubs run by GP practices as well as the mass vaccine centre.
The Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group says the vaccine programme for the county is now being delivered by a combination of centrally issued NHS letters and invitations from GP practices.
For more information about the vaccine programme visit here.
Bullying Investigation dropped after accuser speaks out
An investigation by the Conservative Party’s head office into bullying allegations against Wellingborough Council’s leader has been dropped because the complainant spoke to the media.
Jack Summer, 21, left the party last month after being de-selected as a Conservative candidate for Finedon in the upcoming unitary elections.
He was not told the reason why he was de-selected, however he thinks it was due to his centrist political opinions - which he says were disapproved of by the Wellingborough Conservative Association - alongside his complaint against leader Martin Griffiths.
After being told in October the party had got so far with the investigation and would be back in touch he heard nothing until the end of last month, when he was informed the investigation had ended without conclusion.
Conservative party worker Kayli Free wrote:
“ . . journalists have approached CCHQ with the confidential emails between us and the matter has been reported in the press. For this reason my investigation has been prejudiced. It would no longer be fair to continue, and I am closing my file”.
Asked whether closing the file was standard practice the Conservative Party head office said it did not comment on internal matters.
Last summer Cllr Griffiths faced a leadership challenge by some members of his party, in part due to bullying accusations. He had not wanted to comment on the investigation involving Jack’s allegations while it was ongoing. NN Journal has contacted him since the investigation was dropped but he has not responded.
Jack has now joined the Labour Party.
Date set for football club loan scandal to be raised in the Lords
Last week, we exclusively revealed that the Northampton Town FC loan scandal was due to be raised in the House Of Lords following an urgent question from Labour’s Lord Kennedy.
The issue is now set to be raised on March 3 and NN Journal understands ten other Lords will be called.
This comes after a damning report into Northampton Borough Council’s handling of the £10.25m loan to the football club. It found there had been “unlawful” decision making and “serious failings” by the local authority.
Push for postal voters
Residents in Northampton, Daventry and South Northants are being urged to register for postal votes ahead of scheduled local elections in May.
The new shadow unitary council for West Northamptonshire is encouraging people to apply to vote by post in the first elections to the new council before the deadline of 5pm on April 20 or 5pm on April 27 for those wishing to vote by proxy.
There have been fears that local elections could be delayed again due to the pandemic but the shadow West Northamptonshire council says that work is being carried out to ensure that votes can be cast safely.
However, there seems to be some hesitation from the new shadow North Northamptonshire council to join the calls for early registration for postal votes, as NN Journal understands its administration is waiting on more guidance from the Local Government Association.
Anna Earnshaw, Returning Officer for the West Northamptonshire elections and the Chief Executive of the new council, said:
“The Government has said they will be keeping the date of the elections under review which is right and proper given the fast-changing circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re currently preparing for them to go ahead as scheduled on 6 May, including putting robust measures in place to ensure everyone will have the opportunity to safely cast their vote in these historic elections for West Northamptonshire.
“Despite these extra measures, anyone who is clinically vulnerable or does not feel able to visit a polling station on Election Day should register to vote by post or proxy as soon as possible.”
Voters in Daventry District can apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01327 871100, Northampton residents should email email@example.com or call 0300 330 7000, and people living in South Northants should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01327 322128
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