As regular readers will know, I have been very vocal in my criticism of the previous leadership at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC).
NCC have since made very positive changes to their leadership, including the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Theresa Grant with whom I met last week to discuss progress. The Leader of the County Council Cllr Matthew Golby was also present. I made clear that my priority is my constituents and protecting crucial services – such as libraries – that my constituents rely on and I am pleased to report that I was given positive reassurances about this.
One of the main issues surrounding NCC at present is libraries; the previous leadership sought to remove funding for our county’s libraries which would have only made minor savings to their budget yet would have had such an adverse effect on so many of my constituents. I am pleased to say that the new Chief Executive has conducted a new review into library provision in the County and has published proposals on their new plans to keep all 36 libraries open.
These proposals have been part of a public consultation. In Northampton North, it is proposed that both Kingsthorpe and Abington libraries will become community managed services. I am pleased that there are proposals to save both of these libraries especially as I had previously stressed the importance of keeping both libraries open. There are also very positive plans for Weston Favell Library.
You can read the full proposals on libraries here: https://northamptonshire.citizenspace.com/bipm/librariesproposal/supporting_documents/ProposalsForIndividualLibrariesByDistrict_FINAL.pdf and you can respond to NCC’s ongoing consultations here: https://www3.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/Pages/current-consultations.aspx. The consultation ends on Friday, 8th February for the first 28 libraries including Kingsthorpe whilst the deadline is Friday, 22nd March for the 8 libraries in which solutions are still needed including Abington library.
I am encouraged by the steps that the new leadership of NCC are taking but I will of course continue to make representations on behalf of my constituents in order to ensure essential services are kept open.