Cllr Haque on Regeneration at NBC Council meeting

I want to speak to you about the Regeneration of this town.

The Northampton Forward document is an exciting vision for the future of our town. It is very impressive and I truly hope that it becomes a reality, however given the track record of the administration I have my reservations.

I have been thinking about the contribution I can make to regeneration in the town.

I am a business man as well as a politician. Can I use that experience to inform our debates?

I am rooted in a BAME community- how can I use that to help?

These are my ideas. I hope you find them useful.

First.

I want to see local jobs for local people. We have already agreed that. But to achieve it we need to address the skills gap and work with the college, university and businesses to create high end apprenticeships.

We need to create well paid jobs. I was shocked to read in the cabinet papers the gap between men’s annual earnings in Northampton, and women’s annual earnings.

I wonder how many of those low paid women are BAME women?

We need to focus on green businesses, renewable energy, waste reduction, reuse, recycling.

We need to future proof what we build, making our buildings energy efficient.

We need an integrated transport system to minimise the use of cars and maximise walking, cycling and public transport.

We need to provide safe spaces for theses alternative form of transport.

Second

As a local business man, I can tell you that we do not have the right infrastructure to help small businesses thrive. SMEs are 80%of our local economy.

What does this authority do to help and support these small businesses?

I have spent some time with small businesses in my ward. They have lots of issues.

For example, time spent doing paper work. A shared services infrastructure would help here.

Another issue is parking. SMEs need to be brought into plans to create parking for unloading, parking for employees, parking for customers!

Business rates is a big issue. We need to reward loyalty and commitment.

Established businesses watch new businesses being supported while they themselves feel left out in the cold.

Where is the local SME forum where we can debate these issues and find some answers?

Third

I want to ask how we are using the energy, commitment and aspiration of BAME communities to regenerate the town?

15% of our population is BAME.

They are here because they want to contribute, to make a good life for themselves and their families.

We have an aging demographic in the town. BAME communities tend to represent a younger demographic.

That means they are working age and contributing to the economy, with families that are creating demand.

They are nurturing the workers of the future.

It is in our interest to ensure those communities are fully represented in service delivery to our town. How are we going to do that?

We need to recognise that members of the BAME community have skills and talents that are at present underutilised.

Why has an Multicultural centre not been included in the master plan for the town centre?

What a great idea that is. It would benefit the whole town.

We need to think about other benefits BAME communities bring. For example- extended families provide child care and adult social care within the family. This takes huge pressure off the state.

But in order to do that, it has to be recognised that extended families need bigger houses.

Day centres run by BAME communities take pressure off the state.

We need to include in our planning for regeneration community-based provision that supports statutory services.

In summary.

Please can I say that we need a joined-up approach to regeneration.

An approach that looks at the contribution SMEs can make. That looks at the contribution the communities can make. An approach that looks at the supply and demand side of the economy.

We need an approach that harnesses the energy, the commitment and the vision of all of us.


Right to reply

I have heard what you have said

However, lets look at the actions not the words

You have cleared Greyfriars and left a desolate island of rubble

You have built a new Bus station that is NOT fit for purpose and is in fact gassing the town with its noxious pollution

You seem to have created areas of derelict rubble in 4 Waterside…how much longer will it stay like that. What a great advert for the town!!!

Horizon house has stood empty for how many years, when if ever will you find a tenant and bring in much needed income.

We must not forget the half finished stand that removed well-used athletics track at sixfields

Again the actions speak much louder than words

So with Northampton Forward you have the best opportunity available to actually make a difference to this town, you have the best opportunity to finance the project as the government will be keen to pork barrel the town in an effort to hide the failure of local government.

Lets just make sure that you don’t blow it!!!


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