WNDC – Credit where Credit is due
After getting off to what I believe everyone agrees was an awful start it is time to recognise the positive impact that the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, the much maligned WNDC has and is continuing to have on Northampton.
Those who have followed the progress of the WNDC, including many who have or are on the board recognise that the major problem at its inception was to load it down with the bureaucracy of planning powers.
The problem was that it prevented the WNDC from doing what they were set up to do, to deliver infrastructures and development projects across the Borough and the Conservatives in particular were very vocal in demanding that it be scrapped.
Planning powers have now been returned to the local authorities and from my perspective especially to the Northampton Borough Council who will now decide on whether planning applications not only comply with the planning legislation but perhaps more importantly meet the needs of the people of Northampton.
This has led WNDC under the excellent leadership of John Markham to deliver the development projects for which they should be applauded and deserve full credit.
WNDC were directly responsible for the improvements around the Ransome Road/London Road junction which may not appear to be of significance until you realise that it has opened up the opportunity to take forward the regeneration and housing developments in the area that was first signed off by Labour in 2002.
It has been the WNDC who has negotiated the purchase of the disused rail line that divided the Ransome Road site and without which it would have been necessary to build a bridge across the disused line at a cost of over £4m.
There is no doubt that it was only when WNDC stepped in to provide £4m towards the relocation of the bus station that the project became possible and it was WNDC who have worked for a number of years with Government officials to bring forward the redevelopment of the train station.
Support for the University from WNDC for the Innovation Centre, students accommodation on St Johns and the proposals to build a new university on the Avon/ Nunn Mills site has been instrumental in making things happen.
What in my view has been the most positive contribution from WNDC was their very active support in the corridors of power at Westminster for the SEMLEP Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone bid in July 2011.
The value of the WNDC support cannot be underestimated and especially when you consider that the Northamptonshire County Council were reluctant in their support of Northampton’s bid for an EZ and SEMLEP.
Of course as local politicians will try to take credit for the projects that WNDC have and are delivering, which is a shame because people will just see those who are trying to take the credit as being at best disingenuous and at worst desperate and shallow seeking external affirmation of their worth.
If there is one thing people in the UK, and Northampton is no different dislike it is when they see someone else taking credit for their own efforts.
So let’s give credit where credit is due and even if you’re not happy with everything they have done there is no doubt the WNDC have delivered projects that if they had been left in the hands of the politicians would have seen multiple debacles on the scale of the Grosvenor Centre and Greyfriars Bus Station.
So to WNDC thank you and congratulations and to those who are trying to take credit for the WNDC’s success – !!!!!!!!