District councillors support asset transfers to Daventry Town Council

Daventry Town Council offices
Daventry Town Council offices

Daventry District Councillors have broadly supported transferring a number of assets and services over to the Town Council, ahead of the reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire.

The district council will be abolished in 2021, when it is replaced by a new unitary council serving the whole of West Northamptonshire.

But the reorganisation won’t affect the Town Council, and it has approached its district counterparts to see if assets such as the town’s cemeteries can be transferred over.

Some councillors see this as a chance to have Daventry assets remain in control of Daventry councillors, rather than as part of the wider unitary.

Councillor David James, the district council’s cabinet member for the economy, regeneration and employment, said: “We have been in discussion for some months with the town council. In the new unitary, half of the population will live in Northampton. You can understand why the town council needs to take ownership of some services to give it a sense of being and to protect its own area.”

The district council has put together two packages of services and assets for possible transfer to the town council.

The first package includes transferring Welton Road Cemetery and Daventry Market.

An additional package is proposed, which would only proceed if Parliament approves replacing DDC with the new unitary authority. This includes public open spaces and play areas, including New Street Recreation Ground, but would exclude Daventry and Borough Hill Country Parks, which serve the wider District.

Under the proposals the new Mulberry Place public square, when finished, would also be looked after by the town council, as well as the responsibility for maintaining the Holy Cross churchyard and roadside verges.

Councillor Wendy Randall, who sits on both the district and town councils, said: “This has been heavily discussed at the town council and everyone is fully in favour of this. We would have liked to have done this years ago actually.”

And Councillor Alan Hills added: “I believe with unitary coming up we need to have a town council that’s going to be nearer to the grassroots level, and a lot of things on this list I believe the town council could take on.”

But Councillor Colin Morgan, while supporting the idea, said he didn’t want to see local precepts rise for residents as a result of the transfer.

The asset transfer was discussed at the district council’s strategy group meeting on Thursday (July 4), but the council will formally decide whether or not to proceed with the proposals at the next full council meeting on July 25.

James Averill , Local Democracy Reporting Service