Lessons can be learnt from past

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A DAVENTRY man has taken over the helm at the district council as it faces serious financial challenges.

Ian Vincent (pictured) took over as the new permanent managing director of Daventry District Council at the start of April.

As a trained architect who has been with the council for 26 years, Mr Vincent says there are lessons to be learnt from past successes and failures in the town’s growth.

He said: “I joined the council here because it was a step up from what I was doing before at Stratford-upon-Avon.

“I started off in Daventry heading up the architect team, which was big. It was the end of the Birmingham-Daventry-Northampton development project, and the focus was falling to us to finish off the northern development of Daventry.

“We had our own council housing stock back then and there was a Government scheme which allowed us to spend money improving those homes, and we would then get the money back to spend on non-council housing projects.

“We were spending one or two million a year on housing improvements. That’s how we funded things like the new leisure centre.”

Key projects overseen by Mr Vincent’s team were the Ashby Fields, Lang Farm and on-going Middlemore housing estates.

He said: “One thing we’ve done well in Daventry is providing footpaths and cyclepaths, starting with the Southbrook.

“The Southbrook’s design is a product of its age, but you can easily walk in and out of the town centre without crossing main roads.

“That’s an approach we’ve used and developed further on other estates.”

A major problem facing the authority is funding. The Government, the council’s biggest source of money, has cut the amount the authority will get.

Mr Vincent said: “We were ahead of the game in that we cut our budget last year, before the coalition reduced the money we get, but we still need to save money, and there could be more cuts in future.

“Daventry has already cut its board from four members to two, and now it’s my job to cascade that down through the organisaiton.

“I see the future as being a small, efficient management for the district overseeing broader partnership work with other authorities, or done nationally.

“We have recently agreed to work with Northampton on our waste collection, our payroll has been done with South Northamptonshire for a while, and we’re working with Rugby to develop plans for a crematorium.”