We asked, you said, we did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

West Northamptonshire Council proposed to make land owned by the Local Authority, to the West of Thorpeville, Moulton, known as ‘Wantage Farm’ available to the Department for Education (DfE) for delivery of a new secondary free school.

New free schools are funded and delivered by the DfE and WNC’s involvement in this matter is limited to providing the site for the proposed new school.

The ‘Proposal by West Northamptonshire Council to make Land West of Thorpeville, Moulton, available to the Department for Education for delivery of a new secondary free school’ consultation ran from Wednesday 4 August to midnight on Friday 3 September 2021.

You said

At the point the period of consultation concluded on 3 September 2021, 688 responses had been received, broken down as follows:

  • 660 online questionnaires
  • 34 written responses by emails or letter
  • 18 comments on the Council’s social media channels, of which 3 resulted in further replies

Responses received to the consultation clearly emphasise that respondents agreed with WNC’s assessment that

  • an increased number of school places are required to serve Northampton (74%) 
  •  there was a need for a new secondary school in the town (71%)

However, responses in respect of questions relating to whether or not stakeholders believed Wantage Farm to be the right location for a new school were mixed.

  • 49% of respondents ‘tended’ or ‘strongly’ disagreed that Wantage Farm was a suitable site for a new secondary school
  • just under 44% of respondent ‘tended’ or ‘strongly’ agreed that that the site was suitable.

The 34 written responses in the form of letters and emails are not included in the numerical analysis above. Of these, 29 expressed general opposition and 5 expressed general support.

We did

On Wednesday 15 September 2021, West Northamptonshire Council Cabinet authorised the Assistant Director Assets and Environment to enter into an Agreement for Lease which would commit the Council to granting a 125-year lease for the construction, and ongoing use, of the site for new secondary school at Wantage Farm, Moulton, Northampton.

Reasons for the decision

  1. There is a significant need for secondary school places in northern Northampton. Meeting that need through expansion of existing schools is unlikely to provide sufficient suitable capacity. Therefore a new school is required. The Council has a statutory duty to ensure the provision of sufficient school places for pupils from its area. Page 278
  2. The Government via the Department for Education (DfE) and Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is willing to fund a new free secondary school which will meet that need. This would be operated by the NSB Trust, which operates the ‘Outstanding’ Northampton School for Boys.
  3. Consideration of options has identified land owned by the Council at Wantage Farm as the most credible site for the new school. No other viable or more suitable sites have been identified, despite examination.
  4. The DfE will only invest in the new school if it has secure title to the land, by way of an AfL which would, if planning permission is granted, result in the grant of a 125-year lease to the academy trust.
  5. The Council has consulted on the proposed disposal. The consultation has identified recognition of the need for a new school, alongside majority opposition to this site. The reasons given by respondents have been carefully considered and none were found that would justify not proceeding. In particular, many objections relate to matters more appropriately tested by the planning system.
  6. If the Council did not enter into the AfL it would still need to provide the school places. This would probably result in the same site being used, but at the Council’s cost. This is estimated at £25 million.

For more information about the proposal, consultation and decision, please see the agenda for  Cabinet on Tuesday 14 September 2021.

The proposed Cabinet decision would in no way impact on the consideration of the proposed planning application. That would provide a forum where issues such as transport and the impacts on the local area would be resolved.
 

We asked

We asked residents to give their views on proposals requesting changes to parking restrictions on streets in The Mounts area of Northampton:

  • TM01: Charles Street
  • TM02a, TM02b: Connaught Street / Charles Street
  • TM03a, TM03b, TM03c: Margaret Street
  • TM04a, TM04b, TM04c: Cranstoun Street
  • TM05a, TM05b, TM05c, TM05d: Dunster Street
  • TM06: Alcombe Road
  • TM07a, TM07b, TM07c: Queens Road

For information about each proposal, please see the supporting information for the Traffic Regulation Order: The Mounts, Northampton activity.

You said

We received 28 responses in total for the Traffic regulation order: Spring Boroughs, Northampton and the Traffic regulation order: The Mounts, Northampton activities.

We did

There was majority approval for each proposal and so all proposals were submitted to the Highways department to be reviewed at the annual Traffic Regulations panel.

We asked

We asked residents to give their views on proposals requesting changes to parking restrictions on streets in the Spring Boroughs area of Northampton:

  • SB01: Castle Hill / Chalk Lane
  • SB02: Bath Street, Chalk Lane, Fort Place, Herbert Street, Little Cross Street, Lower Cross Street, Moat Place, Upper Cross Street and Spring Lane
  • SB03: Crispin Street

For information about each proposal, please see the supporting information for the Traffic Regulation Order: Spring Boroughs, Northampton activity.

You said

We received 28 responses in total for the Traffic Regulation Order: Spring Boroughs, Northampton and the Traffic Regulation Order: The Mounts, Northampton activities.

We did

Following feedback from Traffic Regulation Order: Spring Boroughs, Northampton activity:

  • SB02 was amended to remove Herbert Street from the proposal, before submission, due to objections
  • SB03 (Crispin Street) was not submitted due to low resident agreement

The remaining proposals deemed acceptable have been submitted to the Highways department to be reviewed at the annual Traffic Regulations panel. Only responses where there was majority approval were included in the final submission. 
 

We asked

Update on 14 May 2021: The links below have been updated following the transfer of committee meetings to the West Northamptonshire Council Moderngov website.

The first draft budget for West Northamptonshire Council was approved for consultation by the Shadow Executive on 5 January 2021.

The following summarises the main features of the proposed draft budget:

  • A balanced budget achieved in challenging circumstances
  • The protection of existing service levels
  • No reductions in any service provision
  • Efficiency savings of £13.4m
  • Average Council Tax increase of £6.20 per month for a band D equivalent property
  • Incorporation of contingencies to mitigate the potential uncertainties associated with the first year of operation
  • Preservation of all current capital schemes across West Northamptonshire

The draft budget was subject to a full public and business consultation exercise which ran for four weeks from 6 December 2021 and closed on 2 February 2021.

The consultation focused on the draft budget proposals that would likely affect residents and service users. However, respondents were invited to comment on anything within the draft budget.

You said

Using the various means available to consultees, local people and organisations contributed to the West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation 457 times. 

Council Tax harmonisation proposals:

  • 54.72% respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree that all Council Tax Bands A–H should be harmonised for residents of West Northamptonshire, while 33.47% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 45.85% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree that the Council should use an Average Council Tax approach to recalculate the Council Tax Bands A–H, while 38.34% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 45.41% said they would prefer the harmonisation to be introduced within the first three years, with 17.90% saying they would prefer harmonisation within the first year. However, 23.58% said they would rather harmonisation be implemented as late as possible and opted for year seven

Council Tax increase proposals:

  • 47.58% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed general Council Tax increase of 1.99%, while 39.20% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 40.18% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed 3% precept increase for Adult Social Care, while 44.64% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree

Housing Revenue Account (HRA) proposals:

  • 48.06% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed increase to rent by 1.5% on average across the Council’s housing stock in line with national government policy increase, while 26.22% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 43.00% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed increase to general service charges by 0.5%, increase, while 19.50% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree

For more information about the responses to the West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation, please see Appendix I – West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation Analysis Report from the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority meeting on 23 February 2021.

We did

On Tuesday 23 February 2021, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority approved a budget of £326.6 million to provide services to residents and businesses in West Northamptonshire.

For more information about the 2021 to 2022 budget for West Northamptonshire, please see the:

We asked

Update on 14 May 2021: The links below have been updated following the transfer of committee meetings to the West Northamptonshire Council Moderngov website.

From April 2013, each Local Authority has been required to determine a LCTRS, which replaced the national Council Tax Benefit scheme.

Prior to 1 April 2021, each District and Borough in West Northamptonshire had a different LCTRS that gives different levels of support to working age people. From April 2021, the current schemes will end and a new scheme will need to be agreed.

At the meeting on 27 October 2020, the Shadow Executive agreed six proposals, for consultation purposes only, and approved a consultation period of six weeks.

The consultation ran from Monday 2 November 2020 until midnight on Sunday 13 December 2020 and included an online form open to all residents, stakeholders and people representing organisations.

The proposals that were included in the consultation are shown below:

  • Proposal 1: Level of contribution for working age claimants. The proposal for consultation was to harmonise the minimum contribution to 26.5% of Council Tax liability for working age people
  • Proposal 2: To disregard 100% of War Widows and War Disablement income
  • Proposal 3: Removal of the family premium for new claims
  • Proposal 4: To limit the child allowance to two children when assessing new claims for LCTRS
  • Proposal 5: To apply a minimum value to the income of those people who are self-employed when assessing LCTRS
  • Proposal 6: to harmonise the rates of non-dependant deduction to the prescribed amounts set by Government

You said

The West Northamptonshire Council Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS) Consultation 2021-22 received 368 responses of which 309 were fully completed.

159 responses were from Local Council Tax Reduction recipients and 123 from other Council Taxpayers. The remaining responses were from people representing organisations and housing associations or from people who preferred not to say.

Feedback on the six proposals:

1. Level of contribution for working age:

  • 43.28% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 43.27% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

2. War Widows and War Disablement:

  • 74.62% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 6.04% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

3. Family Premium:

  • 50.47% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 15.89% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

4. Child allowance in the calculation of LCTRS:

  • 57.82% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 15.62% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

5. Minimum self-employed income:

  • 44.34% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 18.87% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

6. Non dependant deductions:

  • 59.05% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 7.94% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

For more information about the feedback received, please see the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS) Consultation Results report.

We did

A greater level of feedback was received to proposal one, the level of contribution of 26.5% to be paid by working age customers. There was a moderate level of support for this proposal as detailed in the report on the consultation outcome.

Having considered the consultation process and the ongoing economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a 20% scheme was recommended for adoption moving forward.

On Tuesday 26 January 2021, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee: 

a) Noted the contents of this report and the previous report received by the Shadow Executive on 5 January 2021;

b) Agreed, under 3.2.2 of the report, the following proposals:

  • Proposal 1 - The minimum level of contribution was set at 20.0%;
  • Proposal 2 -War widows and war disablement income to be disregarded;
  • Proposal 3 - Removal of the family premium for new claims;
  • Proposal 4 - Limit the child allowance to two children when assessing new claims;
  • Proposal 5 - Apply a minimum level of income to those people who are self-employed;
  • Proposal 6 - Harmonise the rates of non-dependant deduction to the prescribed amounts set by Government; and

c) Granted delegated authority to the Section 151 Officer to make amendments as required to the Local Council Tax Reduction Regulations up to and including 31 January 2021 including the income uprating announced by MHCLG. 

For more information about the West Northamptonshire Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2021-2022, please see the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee meeting papers of 26 January 2021.

We asked

Update on 14 May 2021: The links below have been updated following the transfer of committee meetings to the West Northamptonshire Council Moderngov website.

The West Communications & Engagement Task and Finish Group were given a Brief, in June 2020, to come up with ideas for a Visual Identity / logo for the new West Northamptonshire Council.

The Consultation Hub was utilised to facilitate a widely publicised survey for residents, members and staff to give their opinions and suggestions on the 3 shortlisted draft logos.

The ‘Have your say on the new West Northamptonshire Council logo’ survey ran for 3 weeks from 17 August to 6 September 2020.

You said

The ‘Have your say on the new West Northamptonshire Council logo’ survey received 1,740 responses. 

  • The favoured design received 576 votes
  • The second design received 342 votes
  • The third design received 283 votes

539 respondents did not give a preference.

The preferred design was that of four interlinked rings, but as to be expected, there were also some very useful comments and suggestions which were used to create the final version of the logo.

Suggested amendments following survey comment analysis:

  • Include three rings in the design, not four – although the new West Northamptonshire Council will also include NCC, this wasn’t something which was clear with the four rings design
  • Some comments drew similarities between the logo outline and the county rose emblem. Adapting the design to incorporate the rose emblem could address other comments which stated that the logo lacked relevance and historic links to the county

For more information on the ‘Have your say on the new West Northamptonshire Council logo’ survey, please see:

We did

On Tuesday 24 November 2020, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee:

  1. Approved the final logo design;
  2. Noted that this design was shaped around the feedback from the online logo survey which went out to staff, Trade Unions, Cllrs, partners and the public; and
  3. Noted the use of talented in-house staff in the development and iteration of the logo throughout and avoidance of any extra cost to the FN Programme and the taxpayer

Amendments following survey comment analysis:

  • Three interlinking rings show the joining of South Northants Council, Daventry District Council and Northampton Borough Council into one West Northamptonshire Council
  • The colour of each ring is the primary colour of each existing council logo – SNC - Blue, DDC - Green and NBC – Red
  • A simplified outline of Northamptonshire’s ‘Rose of the Shires’ emblem has been added to give a clear link to the county and its heritage, plus a nod to the current Northamptonshire County Council Rose Logo

We asked

Update on 14 May 2021: The links below have been updated following the transfer of committee meetings to the West Northamptonshire Council Moderngov website.

Prior to 1 April 2021, each sovereign council in the West Northamptonshire area had their own customer services opening hours.

In June 2020, the Programme Delivery Group approved in principle the harmonisation of hours for customer services opening hours for the North and West Northants subject to consultation with the public on preferred hours.

The consultation was limited to four options to manage expectations and enable the customer services opening hours to be harmonised with minimal impact on resources. Respondents had the options of:

  • 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • 9:30am to 5:30pm
  • I don’t mind

The ‘Customer Services opening hours in the new Northamptonshire unitary authorities’ survey took place from the 27 July to 23 August 2020.

You said

In total, the ‘Customer Services opening hours in the new Northamptonshire unitary authorities’ survey received 1,225 responses from residents of Northamptonshire.

Feedback on preferences:

  • 8:30am to 4:30pm preference – 157 responses
  • 9:00am to 5:00pm preference – 181 responses
  • 9:30am to 5:30pm preference – 131 responses
  • I don’t mind / no preference – 151 responses

There was a clear preference of 9:00am to 5:00pm from respondents in West Northamptonshire.

We did

On Tuesday 27 October 2020, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee approved the recommended customer services opening hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm for West Northamptonshire Council.

The analysis of consultation feedback alongside the telephony call volume data informed the recommended opening hours.

For more information about the approval of the customer services opening hours for West Northamptonshire Council, please see the: