Delivery bodies unite to pursue growth ambition

Two Northamptonshire delivery vehicles will merge to pool resources and drive forward ambitious growth plans for the area, it was revealed last week.

Growth area delivery vehicle North Northants Together and urban regeneration company (URC) Catalyst Corby will join forces, subject to consultation, to form a new URC.

Announcing the merger, ODPM minister Baroness Andrews said the new company will be able to "amalgamate effort, resources and expertise" to champion sustainable development across north Northamptonshire.

It will spearhead growth and regeneration in Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire. North Northants Together had previously been tasked with delivering growth plans, while Catalyst Corby had a specific brief to mastermind urban regeneration efforts in the former steel town. Andrews said that a "strong, proactive and focused body" is vital to manage high-quality sustainable growth.

Final approval for the merger could be granted in the new year, with a view to the URC being up and running in April 2006. It will be funded by English Partnerships, the East Midlands Development Agency, the ODPM and local authorities in the area.

Speaking at last week's north Northamptonshire summit - a conference in Kettering to discuss the growth plans - education minister and Corby MP Phil Hope said the URC will "build on and add to the regeneration of Corby" but also spread this work to the rest of north Northamptonshire.

"The merger does not detract from the current delivery plans," he stressed.

Catalyst Corby chief executive Bob Lane welcomed the move, saying that the merger will improve the effectiveness of the delivery operation in the area, subject to the regeneration of Corby remaining the priority.

"The partnership has worked very well in Corby," he added. "The challenge now is to get a good structure of partnership working right across the area."

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