Local elections for parish and district councils that were scheduled for May 2019 have been postponed in Northampton.
The announcement from the Secretary of State for Local Government, James Brokenshire MP, came on the same day that a delayed government consultation on the proposed reorganisation of local government in the county finally went public.
There had initially been fears that residents may not get the opportunity to comment on the proposals in the consultation, but those fears have been allayed, with members of the public able to submit comments alongside local councils and organisations.
The proposal will see the seven district and borough councils, and the county council, abolished to make way for two new unitary authorities, which would oversee all services - unlike the current two-tier system where the county looks after services such as adult social care and the districts and boroughs over services such as planning and rubbish collection.
This would see Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Daventry merge under one roof as West Northamptonshire and Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby forming North Northamptonshire.
Consultees will be asked whether they feel the proposals will result in better value for money for residents and improve service delivery.
The consultation is running for eight weeks, with the deadline for comments ending on January 25.
Mr Brokenshire has also announced that the elections scheduled across the county for May 2019 have been suspended until May 2020, which is when the proposed unitary authorities would hope to be up and running.
The secretary of state said: “Elections in such circumstances risk confusing voters and would involve significant costs that would be hard to justify. Accordingly, I have concluded that irrespective of whatever my future decision might be on the restructuring proposal, the right course is to postpone these elections.”
It comes after requests were made from all eight councils in Northamptonshire to postpone them.
The consultation can be viewed online here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-proposed-reorganisation-of-local-government-in-northamptonshire