Council Spotlight: Newport Pagnell Town Council
Newport Pagnell Town Council runs five allotment sites, three community centres, and has a large leisure portfolio, including a swimming pool, sports and leisure facility, and a new £1.1m fitness suite, attached to the swimming pool. The council are also just about to take on the Newport Pagnell Youth Club under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme from our principal authority.
In May 2016, the Newport Pagnell Neighbourhood Plan went to referendum. The plan was unique compared to other neighbourhood plans in that it proposes three times the amount of housing required by the core strategy, effectively increasing the size of the town by nearly 30%. It includes specific s106 policies - defining contributions that must be made by developers and it also contains a Development Brief for the Principal Development site of some 1,200 new homes.
The council not only offers a large range of services, but costs each of these including staffing costs down to the nearest penny for every household, so that residents can see exactly what is being spent out of their precept fees on each service component. Therefore they know whether they want to pay for town centre flowers or not, whether public toilets are that important to them, and what the costs of each sport and leisure facility are.
We work in partnership with our leisure partners, Places for People, to delivery leisure services to the community, and to the greater community within Milton Keynes. Working in partnership has meant the council has been able to add a £1.1m gymnasium and fitness centre at no extra cost to precept.
Not only was our neighbourhood plan shortlisted for the Neighbourhood Planning Award offered by The Planning Society UK, it went on to win this award! But more than that the neighbourhood plan also won the very prestigious overall Editors Award from The Planning Society UK, for making with most significant contribution out 40 different award categories across the UK for both place making and planning.
As a town council they do everything differently. Not content with providing and running the usual parish services, the council questions everything they do on a regular basis, seeking maximum opportunities for devolution of powers from their principal authority. For example, the council are now in discussions with the principal authority about procuring through their newly placed parking enforcement contract, an additional service of parking enforcement provision for Newport Pagnell, aimed at those areas of parking issues around schools and tight corners in the town. Everything the council does is costed exactly, so that residents can make the right choices about which services they feel are valuable, and residents get consulted before the council takes on new services.