Our new council needs to listen more!

By John Padwick on March 27, 2021

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Time after time, our Conservative run Kettering Borough Council has carried out consultations that just haven’t cut the mustard. Just two examples:

  • The Public Spaces Protection Order for the Market Place 2016: reviewed 2019:
    • The Order is useful in some respects, banning anti-social behaviour.
    • But it also bans skateboarding, excluding many young people from the heart of their town.
    • Despite many objections the ban on skateboarding has still continued.
    • The Market Place is a key part of the town and should be vibrant and full of life.
    • A proper consultation would have listened effectively to the whole community, including skateboarders and young people.
  • The Museum and Art Gallery extension:
    • This should have been a flagship project for the town, welcomed by everyone.
    • Instead it has been greeted by huge criticism because of a lack of proper consultation with the community.
    • Both in respect of the Heritage Quarter Trees and the Blitz Café, we believe there are questions to be asked.
    • Kettering Labour supports and welcomes the project but believes that something like this needs to carry the community with it.
    • A full and transparent consultation would have helped to avoid the negative publicity and the damage that has been done, and come to a positive result for everyone.

We really need our councils to get better at this! The new North Northamptonshire Council is an opportunity to put Kettering and North Northamptonshire under new management, and to do things differently. We believe that the best way to do this is with different councillors in charge that can direct the council to carry out better consultations.

They should include more residents from more backgrounds. This would gather more opinions. Then the council and councillors should listen to what people are telling them. Because this way a more informed council can make better decisions to #MakeLivesBetter for more local people.

John is the Campaign Co-ordinator for Kettering Labour. He's lived in Geddington for 30 years and is a longstanding parish councillor. He is a teacher, running his own tuition & consultancy business and is an active campaigner on LGBT issues. He is also a keen actor in the village and more widely and champions rural touring arts, regularly promoting live performances in Geddington Village Hall.

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