We asked, you said, we did

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

We asked

In December 2023 we started a consultation to ask for views from residents, local partners, and other stakeholders, on our budget proposals for 2024/2025. The budget for West Northamptonshire Council is a financial plan that ensures we can appropriately prioritise and fund projects and services. 

During the consultation period which ran from 13 December 2023 to 23 January 2024, people were invited to make comments on any part of the Draft Budget.  

Comments were also invited on proposals contained within the Draft Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget 2024-2025 and Medium-Term Financial Plan.

You said

The West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2024-2025 consultation received a total of 654 responses, the majority were via an online consultation. 

The following is a summary of responses to key proposals: 

  • 38 per cent of respondents said they strongly agree or tend to agree Council Tax should increase by 2.99 per to address additional costs of our service provision while 52 per cent said they tend to disagree or strongly disagree. 10 per cent neither agree nor disagree. A total of 306 comments were received for this proposal. 
  • 37 per cent of respondents said they strongly agree or tend to agree that Council Tax should increase by a further 2 per cent to fund the increase in costs of providing Adult Social Care while 46 per cent said they tend to disagree or strongly disagree. 16 per cent neither agree nor disagree. A total of 242 comments were received for this proposal. 
  • 50 per cent of respondents said that they strongly or tend to agree to the proposal to increase some fees and charges in line with inflation, in order to help fund services. 32 per cent tend to disagree or strongly disagree, 18 per cent neither agree nor disagree or do not know. 121 comments were received on the proposal.  
  • An invitation to comment on the Draft General Fund Capital Programme 2023-2027 received 63 comments. 
  • Additional comments on the Draft Budget were invited, 60 further comments were received. 
  • 57 per cent strongly agree or tend to agree to the Draft Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Budget proposal to increase rent by 7.7 per cent across the councils housing stock in line with national government policy. 28 per cent tend to disagree or strongly disagree, 16 per cent neither agree nor disagree or do not know. 60 comments were received on this proposal.  
  • 65 per cent strongly agree or tend to agree to the Draft HRA proposal to increase garage rents and commuter surcharges by 7.7 per cent. 12 per cent tend to disagree or strongly disagree, 23 per cent neither agree nor disagree or do not know. 
  • 51 per cent strongly agree or tend to agree to the Draft HRA proposal to increase general service charges by 7.7 per cent in line with current inflation. 29 per cent tend to disagree or strongly disagree, 20 per cent neither agree nor disagree or do not know. 
  • 54 per cent strongly agree or tend to agree with the planned investment within the HRA of £54m for social housing during 2024/25. 25 per cent tend to disagree or strongly disagree, and 21 per cent neither agree not disagree. There were 93 comments made on this proposal. 
  • Additional comments were invited on the HRA Capital Programme, 23 comments were received. 

For more information about the responses to the West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2024-25 Consultation, please see the below consultation analysis report. 

We did

The Council considered all feedback from the consultation and has agreed on income and savings which means it could set a balanced budget for 2024/25.

The Council’s Cabinet approved the 2024-2025 Budget for West Northamptonshire and recommended the Budget to the Full Council meeting on 22 February 2024.

Budget 2024/25 Consultation Analysis Report Appendix H WNC Budget Report 2024-25.pdf (moderngov.co.uk) 

Full details are available on the Cabinet and Full Council meeting papers: 

We asked

West Northamptonshire Council along with consultation experts, Deetu and lead architects, Studio Egret West, held a first round of engagement between December 2023 and January 2024. For this we shared an emerging vision to transform the Greyfriars area in Northampton town centre.

You said

Over 1,500 residents, businesses, community organisations and visitors answered the survey. This helped to understand ideas for how this part of Northampton's town centre could be revamped.

You can read more about the results from the previous engagement on the dedicated Amplifying Greyfriars site - What you told us in December 2023 (site opens in a new window).

We did

From the first round of engagement and taking all feedback into consideration, the vision for the Greyfriars area has been refreshed, and a further round of engagement seeks views on this which will complete that stage of the visioning work.

For further information please visit the Amplifying Greyfriars site (site opens in a new window).

We asked

A four week consultation took place between 23 October and 19 November, asking people for their thoughts on a proposal to renew a gated a pedestrian route known as Dunster Street Alley through use of a Public Spaces Protection Order. This was to combat illicit and anti-social behaviour that has been evidenced in this location.

You said

There were 17 responses to this consultation, 12 of which were local residents and member of the public, and one response on behalf of the local church and its members. 70 percent of respondents had witnessed Anti-social behaviour in the alley prior to gating, with 47 percent saying it impacted them all of the time. Since the alley was gated, 64 percent of all responses said they had noticed a reduction in anti-social behaviour. 

More than 70 percent of all respondents supported the renewal of the order to keep the alley gated for up to another 3 years.

We did

All responses were considered and presented to the Executive Director of Communities and Opportunities as the delegated officer with powers to renew the order. A decision was made to renew the order to gate the area from 8 March 2024. 

For updates on this and other WNC PSPOs please visit our Public Spaces Protection Orders webpage.

We asked

In Autumn 2023, we conducted a survey seeking views on a proposed new way of delivering activities and respite (short breaks) for disabled children in Northamptonshire. It was important that we gave as many people the opportunity to feedback via an electronic survey and through face to face sessions. 

Conducted throughout October and November, the survey received an overwhelming response, with 150 individuals contributing their valuable insights and a further 134 attending the various workshops. 

You said

The following sets out the key findings:

  • The idea of a single referral pathway is beneficial to help avoid families having to tell their stories repeatedly.
  • Any assessment that is already in place should be used for access to the short break’s services. Some respondents did want to keep self-referrals.
  • Respondents agreed with the principle of reallocating funding, however, they did not agree with closing the residential short breaks unit 1 day a week.
  • That daytime activities preferred included swimming, activities involving animals, cooking or musical activities.
  • The need for better links with activities already taking place in communities and support for children and young people to access them.
  • The need for 1:1 or 2:1 staffing, followed by secure environments and small groups to access services.
  • The sleep service should not be added to the short breaks group of services.
  • Sensory impairment services should not be added to the short breaks group of services.
  • Adding personal care and support services to the short breaks group of services would be positive.
  • That in general, respondents agreed with some parts of the proposals but not all of it.

We did

The survey covered a broad spectrum of topics allowing us to review the entire provision and receive appropriate feedback. Thanks to this, a new model of short breaks and respite will be implemented; this will consist of:

  • A single referral route into the short break’s services.
  • Existing assessments being used to access the short breaks services and allowing parents to self-refer.
  • Residential short breaks unit reducing the bed capacity rather than closing 1 night a week; analysis shows this will still enable the need to be met.
  • The Sleep Service (and budget) will not be included in the Short Breaks group of services.
  • The Sensory Impairment services will not be included in the short breaks group of service.
  • Consideration of adding PCaS services during the 2nd year of the contract after modelling the viability of this.

Next steps 

  • Commissioning the new services to be in place by November 2024.
  • Complete a whole service review of the sleep service and agree a joint plan to reduce the waiting list.
  • Ensure the transition from the current services to the new services are as smooth as possible to avoid any negative impact on children, young people, and their families.

To read more and see the report you can visit the Northamptonshire Childrens Trust News page

We asked

During October and November 2023 we launched a consultation to seek views from all stakeholders including residents and residents' families about the future options for Ridgway House Care Home in Towcester.

This was to review the current and future uses of the home and to enable decision makers to understand the impact of any decision that is made on the future running of the home.

We also engaged with those affected most, by any future decision, by visiting the home to have a more in-depth conversation about the options available for the home in future.

The options consulted on were to either make no changes to the home and continue as it is, or to commence with a safe closure programme of the home. There was no option to update the building or facilities to a standard that would meet the current Minimum Care Homes Standard.

You said

There were 187 responses to the consultation, of which 181 people submitted responses online.

Amongst the online responses: 63 per cent were members of the public, 12 per cent staff, 11 per cent residents or their families.

Summary of responses: 

All responses from the people who have experienced life at Ridgway House commented on how satisfied they were as a result of the quality of care they had received.

The top aspects of a good quality care home identified by respondents were:

  • People being treated with respect and dignity
  • Feeling safe
  • Staff being helpful and caring.
  • The quality of food and drink available
  • Having privacy when wanted

When asked questions about the two proposed approaches for the future of Ridgway House, the responses are summarised as follows:

  • Approach 1 – No change: There was a slight preference towards agreement with this proposal, with the strongest preference coming from residents and their families; the most frequent reason cited for this was to avoid disruption for the residents and for them to remain close to their families. However there was a general recognition across respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with this option that the facilities in the home need to improve.
  • Approach 2 – Safe closure programme: Responses from all groups of respondents showed a preference towards disagreeing with this as an option; this was on the basis that it would cause disruption for residents, families and staff, and also because there is a lack of alternative care provision in the Towcester area. Again however there was a general consensus from responders that facilities within the home need to improve to support the people living there in future.

We did

All responses were considered along with a review of the options available, with the recommendation put forward to Cabinet is to close Ridgeway House Care Home as part of a safe closure programme whilst also responding to the concerns raised by responders to the consultation.

The decision to close the care home as part of a safe closure programme was made at Cabinet Tuesday 16 January 2024 (Item 102, WNC Cabinet, Tuesday 16 January 2024).

The Council has continued to work closely with the residents of Ridgway House and their families to find suitable, alternative accommodation, much better suited to their needs, and have supported them throughout this transition.

Related information: Consultation Analysis Report

We asked

From 29 September to 12 November 2023 we sought feedback on the three priorities we had identified for an interim bus policy and if they would be supported.

The needs of our communities to access employment, education, healthcare, retail and leisure is recognised and this mobility can be achieved through the provision of high quality, efficient and reliable public transport. The policies were:

  • Priority 1: The Council will encourage the commercial operation of local public transport services, through partnership working and infrastructure investment.
  • Priority 2: Where there are unmet needs and gaps in the commercial bus network provision, the Council will seek solutions through supported local bus services or community transport initiatives, where funding is available and it is consistent with Council policies and priorities.
  • Priority 3: The Council will fund and administer concessionary travel for elderly and disabled residents in line with national regulations.

You said

There were at total of 734 responses. 527 of these completed the survey fully, 207 partially completed the survey and did not respond to all of the questions.

A review of the 527 fully completed survey responses gave the following results  

  • Priority 1: The Council will encourage the commercial operation of local public transport services, through partnership working and infrastructure investment. 82 per cent of respondents agreed with this priority.
  • Priority 2: Where there are unmet needs and gaps in the commercial bus network provision, the Council will seek solutions through supported local bus services or community transport initiatives, where funding is available and it is consistent with Council policies and priorities. 77 per cent of respondents agreed with this priority.
  • Priority 3: The Council will fund & administer concessionary travel for elderly & disabled residents in line with national regulations. 72 per cent of respondents agreed with this priority.

Respondents were also asked if they wished to provide further comments on the priorities or on the bus service generally. This provided some useful feedback, the following themes were identified (in no particular order):

  • Improvements needed to rural services including villages around Brackley, Towcester and Daventry,
  • Maintaining and Improvements needed to existing services (frequency, hours of operation etc.),
  • An urban service to connect West Hunsbury to Northampton needed,
  • Improved connectivity for villages close to the boundary with Milton Keynes (Deanshanger and Potterspury),
  • Positive feedback on Ability Community Transport.

We did

The consultation results and feedback will be discussed at the Enhanced Partnership (bus) meeting in January 2024 to determine potential options. The Enhanced Partnership is a forum between key stakeholders and local bus companies. The forum works collaboratively to look at the best investment choices for local bus services in West Northamptonshire. Further details can be found on the West Northamptonshire Council website.

We asked

We carried out an annual survey during September and October 2023 to find out how prepared people are for emergency situations.

September is Preparedness Month, and this work helps with on-going research by the #30days30waysUK national campaign, and developing a wide understanding of community preparedness in the UK.

The survey consisted of questions relating to perception, and personal and community resilience.

You said

There were a total of 215 responses to this year's engagement.

Key findings:

  • There is a high percentage of confidence in emergency preparedness (82 per cent),
  • Almost 40 per cent of respondents maintain home supplies that could last at least 8 days, that they feel are critical,
  • At least 21 per cent of respondents have put together a "grab bag" in case of emergencies,
  • In respect of community preparedness, 79 per cent of respondents are aware of community plans, and 88 per cent of respondents would be willing to volunteer or offer support.

We did

As we increasingly experience emergency events impacting communities across the UK, raising risk awareness, and providing information and support for personal and community preparedness is of vital importance and the 30days30waysUK helps with this.

The information from this activity helps to provide people with understanding on emergency preparedness, allows people to reflect on their current provision, along with helping with important research.

The annual report can be viewed on the #30days30waysUK website (link opens in a new window)

We asked

From 4 September to 29 October we asked for your views on how we were proposing to develop our libraries as thriving community hubs, guided by the priorities we have identified, ensuring we continue to support people of all ages and backgrounds.

Our draft strategy was developed through engagement with staff, partners and stakeholders and sets out West Northamptonshire Council’s ambition for the library service for the next 4 years (up to 2027), which will apply to the public libraries we are responsible for.

We sought views on the draft strategies priorities and what you felt we could do to improve the service.

You said

There were 598 responses to the online consultation. A further 5 were submitted in written form (email/letter).

The priorities identified within the draft strategy were mostly supported, with a number of suggestions to make improvements to the strategy wording.

There was also feedback on awareness of the services currently provided through our libraries, that the draft strategy needed more information, and suggestions of other partners we could work with.

We did

All responses to this consultation have been considered and we have made some changes to ensure that we can help deliver this strategy and help guide the future improvements and use of this service.

Our draft strategy has been amended to provide further understanding where it has been suggested we do so through the consultation. We have also taken feedback on board to help us to promote the services and look at ways we can communicate our quiet times and offers to certain groups with varying needs and abilities. We have also updated out list of partners we can work with.

Update 2 February 2024: View the current West Northamptonshire Council Library Strategy 

We asked

Between 22 October and 25 September 2023, we carried out a consultation on the renewal of the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Daventry to help tackle nuisance or problem behaviour.

An order was introduced in 2020 to help respond to issues of (or those that cause) anti-social behaviour, this order required renewing.

There is a legal requirement to have evidence to show the need for PSPOs to be adopted, varied, or extended, we therefore asked for people’s views, evidence, and information to determine if the renewal was suitable, as well as general views to extend the PSPO.

The Daventry PSPO additionally included plans to expand the number of issues covered.

You said

There were 33 responses to this consultation, 31 were full responses, 2 were not completed entirely. Most respondents were concerned with activities deemed to be anti-social within the defined area with 18 people personally experiencing some form of this nuisance behaviour. 42 per cent of respondents felt that the current PSPO helped address issues, 15 per cent disagreed, 12 per cent neither agreed or disagreed, the rest had no opinion or did not answer. 72 per cent of all respondents felt that the PSPO should be renewed with only 9 per cent disagreeing (the rest were unsure or had no opinion).

We did

All responses were considered with the decision to approve the PSPO for Daventry being made on 18 December 2023. There was no recommendation to go to Cabinet for approval as there were no changes to the PSPO provision that already existed.

To note that the proposal for the Daventry PSPO to additionally include plans to expand the number of issues covered was not supported through the consultation, therefore the Order remained as it was.

The Order remains for a period of three years.

For updates on this and other WNC PSPO's please visit our Public Spaces Protection Orders webpage.

We asked

A four week consultation took place between 23 August and 8 October, asking people for their thoughts on a proposal to renew a gated a pedestrian route known as Marble Arch, through use of a Public Spaces Protection Order. This was to combat illicit and anti-social behaviour that has been evidenced in this location.

You said

There were 26 responses to this consultation, 23 percent of which were local residents, and 46 percent described themselves as visitors or members of the public.

More than 64 percent of respondents described anti-social behaviour as a problem at Marble Arch. 

72 percent of all respondents supported the renewal of the order to keep the alley gated for up to another 3 years with 50 percent in agreement that the alternative routes were acceptable.

We did

All responses were considered and presented to the Executive Director of Communities and Opportunities as the delegated officer with powers to renew the order.

A decision was made to renew the order to gate the area from 8 March 2024.

For updates on this and other WNC PSPOs please visit our Public Spaces Protection Orders webpage

We asked

From 19 September to 23 August 2023, we asked people for their thoughts on a proposal to permanently gate a pedestrian route called Emporium Way through use of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

This was to combat illicit and anti-social behaviour that has been evidenced in this location, and also find out if people would like to see the area regenerated or repurposed in the longer term.

You said

There were 107 responses to this consultation, 86 were full responses, 21 were not completed entirely but did provide some views. 60 per cent of all responses said that they felt anti-social behaviour or crime was an issue in Emporium Way, with just over a third of people personally experiencing issues and a majority of respondents feeling unsafe if using the route. 

60 per cent of all respondents supported the gating of the route, with almost 70 per cent wishing to see the area regenerated or repurposed.

We did

All responses were considered and presented to cabinet 14 November 2023, where powers to grant the order were given to the Executive Director of Place and Economy. A decision was made to gate the area from 8 January 2024.

Cabinet meeting decision and outcome (Item 79. of the 14 November 2023 Cabinet Meeting, link opens in a new window).

For updates on this and other WNC PSPOs please visit our Public Spaces Protection Orders webpage.

We asked

In August 2023 we carried out a six-week consultation on the renewal of the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Northampton to help tackle nuisance or problem behaviour. 

An order was introduced in 2020 to help respond to issues of (or those that cause) anti-social behaviour, such as drug use, street drinking and urinating in public places. this order required renewing. 

There is a legal requirement to have evidence to show the need for PSPOs to be adopted, varied, or extended, we therefore asked for people’s views, evidence, and information to determine if the renewal was suitable, as well as general views to extend the PSPO.

You said

There were 186 responses to this consultation, 158 were full responses, 28 were not completed entirely. Most respondents were concerned with activities deemed to be anti-social within the defined area with 131 people personally experiencing some form of this nuisance behaviour. 33 per cent of respondents felt that the current PSPO helped address issues, 29 per cent disagreed, 18 per cent neither agreed or disagreed, the rest had no opinion or did not answer. 68 per cent of all respondents felt that the PSPO should be renewed with only 5 per cent disagreeing (the rest were unsure or had no opinion). 

We did

All responses were considered and presented to cabinet, with the decision to approve the PSPO for Northampton being made on 12 December 2023 (Item 94. Cabinet Meeting 12 December 2023, link will open in a new window).

The Order remains for a period of three years.  

For updates on this and other WNC PSPOs please visit our Public Spaces Protection Orders webpage. 

We asked

During July 2023 we launched a consultation to seek views from all stakeholders including residents and residents families about the future options for Boniface House.

This was to review the current and future uses of the home and to enable decision makers to understand the impact of any decision that is made on the future running of the home.

We also engaged with those affected most by any future decision by visiting the home to have a more in-depth conversation about the options available for the home in future.

The options consulted on were to either make no changes to the home, to renovate and refurbish the home, or to commence with a safe closure programme of the home.

You said

There were 42 responses to the consultation, of which 28 people submitted responses online.

The quality of the care and support recieved has been overwhelmingly praised by the residents of Boniface house and their families.

Summary of responses: 44% are supportive of making no changes. Those who were supportive of changes highlighted the need for the facilities in the building to improve and the associated safety issues with the design and layout of the building.

82% of respondents supported the option of the redeveloping the home, on the basis that residents remained in the home whilst building work was carried out. In contrast to this, of the residents and families who responded to the consultation less than half of them agreed or strongly agreed with this approach.

62% of responses, largely from staff and other stakeholders strongly disagreed with the option of commencing a safe closure programme, citing the impact on residents, staff, and the local community as being the main reason for this; the main support for this option came from the residents and families with 42% agreeing or strongly agreeing with this option, with a preference for only moving once and residents needing to receive the best possible care being given as the main reason for this.

We did

All responses have been considered and will help to shape decisions by the council on the future proposals for Boniface House. The findings of the consultation will be considered and presented to Cabinet later in 2023.

The consultation analysis report is available as part of the reports presented to Cabinet and are available to view at West Northamptonshire Council - moderngov.co.uk

We asked

During July 2023 we carried out a consultation with residents aged 40 – 74 to gather their views and experiences of the local NHS Health Check offer. 

This was to inform and support the improvement of the NHS Health Check programme across West Northamptonshire for future delivery.  

They survey gained insight to the Health Check invitation process, awareness of the offer and what could be done to improve the service. 

You said

There was a total of 67 responses to the consultation, the highest response rate by age was those aged between 40 to 49 and 60 to 69. 

Summary of responses:  

  • Around 62.5% of the respondents had never received an invite to take of the NHS Health Check offer. 

  • Of those who were invited for the Health Check 88% of the response received their invite to the Health Check programme by letter, followed by text message (22.2%) and through other methods including events, emails (11.1%). 

  • Respondents indicated the need for additional route to access the NHS Health Check programme. 

  • It was also indicated that the availability and accessibility of the service required improvements to improve residents' opportunities.   

We did

All responses collected have been used to help shape and improve the local NHS Health Check programme.

We asked

Between May and June 2023, we launched a consultation to understand how people feel about the local Healthwatch services in Northamptonshire. The information from this activity helped us to understand people's views and experiences and allow us to ensure we can develop the best model for Healthwatch in Northamptonshire for the future by shaping future design and focus of health and social care services.

You said

There were 120 responses to the online consultation.71 of the responses were from individuals and 1 on behalf of an organisation or community group.

The results from the consultation showed throughout that a small number of people have heard of, or know what Healthwatch do.

61 per cent of people had not heard of Healthwatch Northamptonshire,17 per cent of people responded to have contacted Healthwatch previously and of those 67 per cent responded to say that the service was Good or Very Good.

80 per cent of people believe that Healthwatch Northamptonshire could improve awareness of its services to local people. Of which 96 per cent gave comments and ideas about Healthwatch being not widely known, and that the service needs to be promoted and established across the wider Northamptonshire area.

The demographics of the consultation were captured across the districts, this was not an even representation across each authority: 25 per cent from West Northamptonshire areas, 72 per cent from North Northamptonshire areas, and 3 per cent selected not applicable.

We did

All responses were considered and have helped to shape the future direction of the Healthwatch services aligning the work of Healthwatch in partnership with the respective local area to best serve the public in each Northamptonshire location.

As a Healthwatch Organisation acts as an independent consumer champion for people who use health and social care services, they ensure local voices are heard and that people’s views and experiences are used to improve existing services and to help shape future services. The decision has since been made for a local Healthwatch service in each local authority area, for West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire.

As the consultation did not give an even representation across the demographics, a recommendation to do another online consultation in Spring 2024 for each local authority area to understand our local population, local health and care services and for improved community engagement in the use of a local Healthwatch service.

We asked

In April and May 2023, we launched a consultation to seek and understand the views of families, staff and other professionals on the future shape of the way that short breaks are provided for children with disabilities.

This was to review and check the feedback received from families in 2020 about what was not working well with short breaks and what they wanted to see in the future. The online survey asked parents/carers, staff, practitioners and members of the public about their feelings on the proposed new model of short breaks, such as, having one lead provider for all of the short breaks services. It also asked about their needs and preferences of what short breaks could look like in the future.

You said

There were 195 responses to the online consultation, with the highest proportion from parents/carers of someone who uses the Short Breaks services (32%), followed by members of staff working in Short Breaks services (21%).

Summary of responses: 25% of responses agreed with bringing residential and non-residential short breaks services together to support the needs of children with disabilities. 32% of responses agreed with having a staff team that could flex support across residential and non-residential short breaks and potentially also support in the home. 40% of responses agreed with one referral point and joined up assessment and reviews for all of the short breaks services. 16% of responses did not feel that improved access and flexibility of non-residential short breaks would reduce their need/or the need for residential short breaks. 12% of responses asked for more support when using direct payments.

We did

All responses have been considered and will help to shape the future direction for short breaks. The information received will be used in the development of the specification for the tender of short breaks. The new model of short breaks will be in place by Spring 2024. There will be a further consultation survey and some workshops happening in Autumn 2023 which will give families and practitioners another opportunity to engage and discuss the new proposed model of short breaks.

We asked

Between March and May 2023, we consulted on the Arthingworth Neighbourhood Plan Submission Regulation 16 Consultation 2023 that was submitted by Arthingworth Parish Council and the Arthingworth Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Committee Group.

You said

There were 11 responses to the online consultation 

Once the consultation ended the responses were sent to the independent examiner who considered them in an examination of the plan. As part of the examination the examiner held a hearing on 4 October 2023.

The purpose of the examination was to review whether the neighbourhood plan met the basic conditions and whether it could proceed to referendum. The Examiner's report on the neighbourhood plan was received on 19 October 2023 and published on the Councils website.

The Examiner recommended that with modifications the plan met the basic conditions and could proceed to referendum which was reported to Planning Policy Committee on 22 November 2023, who agreed to put the plan to referendum.

Agenda for Planning Policy Committee on Wednesday 22 November 2023, 6.00 pm - West Northamptonshire Council (moderngov.co.uk)

We did

Following a majority vote in favour at the referendum held on 8 February 2024, West Northamptonshire Council formally made the Arthingworth Neighbourhood Development Plan on 9 February 2024 in accordance with the decision of its planning policy committee on 22 November 2023. The plan now forms part of the Statutory Development Plan and will be used when determining planning applications in the Arthingworth Neighbourhood Area.

Further information is available on the Council’s website: Planning policy | West Northamptonshire Council (westnorthants.gov.uk)

We asked

Between 1 February and 15 March 2023, and 3 April to 15 May 2023 we consulted on proposed active travel improvements around Abington Park, Northampton to upgraded the cycling and walking networks.

The project encompassed enhancements like segregated cycle lanes and upgraded crossings at Abington Park Crescent, Bridgewater Drive, Park Avenue South, and the Billing Road/Rushmere Road Junction.

The scheme sought to create a safer and more accessible environment for those walking and cycling in the specified locations.

You said

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) employed a comprehensive approach for inclusive stakeholder engagement, including discussions with local politicians, consultation events, postcard distribution, an informative brochure, and a virtual room. A survey gathered 281 online responses and 125 written responses.

Overall, most respondents supported proposed enhancements. Support varied across areas, with 44% in Abington Park South, 54% in Bridgewater Drive to Bridgewater Primary School, and 51% in Park Avenue South. The Billing Road/Rushmere Road Junction had the highest support at 64%.

A third of respondents (33%) believed enhancements would encourage more walking or cycling. Safety improvements, especially at Billing Road/Rushmere Road Junction, were endorsed. Support for upgraded crossings, wildflowers, improved landscaping, and Park Avenue South path resurfacing was noted.

Common feedback included concerns about parking and traffic management, especially at the King Edward Road junction. Worries about impacts on the tennis and bowls club due to lost parking spaces and questions about the scheme's value for money were raised. Safety concerns regarding e-scooters and cyclists on new paths were mentioned. Respondents emphasized extending proposals throughout Northampton for better connectivity and maintaining existing footpaths.

We did

A comprehensive consultation report has been prepared and will be presented to West Northamptonshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Environment, Highways, Transport & Waste Services. The input received during the consultation will guide the intricate design of the project, facilitating the eventual construction of the final proposal. The phased construction is scheduled to commence in 2024, with the aspiration for the scheme to be fully operational by early 2025.

We asked

We asked for your views on varying the existing Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which is in place across Daventry and South areas to also cover the Northampton area, require dogs on leads at all times in Upton Country Park Phase 2 (land between Kislingbury and Upton) and also in Northampton Town Centre.

The consultation ran for 4 weeks from 16th March 2023 to 17th April 2023. We asked for your views on the following 13 proposals. 

You said

We received 436 responses to the online consultation. 9% were received on behalf of a business, organisation, voluntary or community group.  91% were individuals who responded to the consultation.

Support was received for all 13 proposals. A brief summary of the proposals and results are listed below:

Proposal 1 - The geographic extent of the PSPO. 95% of people responded to this proposal. 62% of responses strongly agreed or agreed that the PSPO (Dog Control and the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places) 2022, that is in place in the Daventry and South Northants Areas should be extended to cover the Northampton Area.

Proposal 2 - Failure to clean up after your dog. 93% of people responded to this proposal. 98% of those who responded believed that persons in control of a dog must clean up and remove its faeces from the area and place it in a bin or take it home for disposal.

Proposal 3 – Having the means to pick up after your dog. 93% of people responded to this proposal. 97% supported having the means to pick us after your dog with 67% experiencing issues with dog owners or walkers failing to remove their dog’s waste from public places and/or not carrying the means to do so in the Northampton Area in the last 6 months.

Proposal 4 – Dog exclusion zones. Persons in control of a dog must not take it into or onto certain areas. 91% of people responded to this proposal, of those, 77% agreed with this proposal.

Proposal 5 – Dogs on leads in specific open spaces. Persons in control of a dog must ensure the dog is on a lead in specified areas. 90% of people responded to this proposal with 76% of responses strongly agreeing or agreeing with this proposal.  35% of responses stated that they had encountered issues with off lead dogs in these specific areas.

Proposal 6 – Dogs on lead by direction. 90% of people responded to this proposal with 83% strongly agreeing or agreeing that persons in charge of a dog in the Northampton area must put the dog on a lead if asked to do so by an authorised officer. 54% of those who responded stated that they have had issues where dogs have been off lead and not under proper control.

Proposal 7 – Maximum number of dogs. 90% of people responded to this proposal. 55% strongly agreed or agreed that persons in charge of multiple dogs should not be allowed to walk any more than four at any one time. 21% of respondents had encountered issues.

Proposal 8 – Prohibition of smoking in specific public open spaces in the Northampton area. 88% of people responded to this proposal. 79% agreed with 43% respondents have experienced issues with persons smoking in specified open spaces.

Proposal 9 – Breach of the PSPO. 87% of people responded to this proposal with 70% agreeing to the proposal to charge the £100 maximum fine for breach of the PSPO and match the charge already set in Daventry and South areas.

Proposal 10 – Variation to the existing PSPO to enforce the requirement to keep dogs on leads at all times in Upton Country Park Phase 2. 85% of people responded to this proposal with 44% of respondents strongly agreeing. 16% stated they had encountered problems with off lead dogs in this area.

Proposal 11 – Variation to the existing PSPO to include the requirement for dogs to be kept on a lead at all times when in Upton Country Park Phase 2 in the PSPO.  49% strongly agreed or agreed with this proposal.

Proposal 12 - Variation to the existing PSPO to enforce the requirement to keep dogs on leads at all times in Northampton Town centre. 85% of people responded to this proposal with 83% of respondents agreeing.  13% stated that they had encountered problems with off lead dogs in this area.

Proposal 13 – Variation to the existing PSPO to include the requirement for dogs to be kept on a lead at all times when in Northampton town centre in the PSPO.  76% strongly agreed or agreed with this proposal.

We did

All feedback was considered and a draft Order prepared.  Cabinet approved the variation to the Public Spaces Protection Order, 19th September 2023.   The variation to the Public Spaces Protection Order will remain in place across West Northamptonshire until October 2025.

For more information on this and other WNC PSPO's please visit our Public Spaces Protection Orders webpage

We asked

West Northamptonshire Council along with the Governing Body of Croughton All Saints CE Primary School proposed to lower the age range from 4 to 11 years to 3 to 11 years from 1 September 2023.

As part of the statutory decision-making process for school organisational changes of this nature the Council is consulted on its proposal sought views.

You said

There were no comments or objections to the proposal.

We did

At the June Cabinet meeting the Council considered the proposal to lower the age range at Croughton All Saints CE Primary School.

The full report for the Cabinet meeting of Tuesday 13th June 2023 is now available. The Cabinet approved the Proposal to lower the age range. Further information Council's Agenda and decisions pages: Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday 13th June 2023, 6.00 pm - West Northamptonshire Council (moderngov.co.uk)