Board members appointed to West Northamptonshire Development corporation

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has today announced two appointments to the Board of West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, the …

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has today announced two appointments to the Board of West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, the agency driving regeneration in West Northamptonshire.

Deirdre Newham has been appointed as Board member and John Weir has been reappointed as the Deputy Chair for a third term. The appointments will run for the remaining life of the Corporation.

These appointments form part of the restructuring of the Board of the Corporation to make it more locally accountable which will see it reduced from thirteen members to nine including six local authority members, giving the four local authorities a majority of seats on the Board (subject to parliamentary approval).

Andrew Stunell said:

The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation has started the last phase of its life where it has the role of delivering some key development projects but also becoming a more locally based body. This will prepare the way for a fully local delivery body to take over its role. Excellent working with local partner organisations, including councils and local businesses, will be critical to success. In this context I am pleased to announce the appointment of Deirdre Newham and the reappointment of John Weir, who, as part of a more locally accountable Board will help the corporation drive forward this work during its remaining life.

John Markham, Chair of the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, said:

I’m delighted to welcome Deirdre Newham onto the Board. She brings a wealth of experience and community involvement and I look forward to working with her.

I’m extremely pleased that John Weir has been reappointed. John has made an excellent contribution to the corporation over the last six years and I look forward to his continued support over its remaining lifetime.

The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation was established in 2004 to drive forward regeneration, improved infrastructure, investment and sustainable growth in the towns of Northampton, Daventry and Towcester. The Public Bodies Review announced in October that the corporation would be devolved into a local authority led delivery vehicle based on proposals to be submitted by the local authorities. The restructuring of the Board and the return of planning powers for applications below 200 units to the local authorities, which is due to take effect from 1 April 2011, are the first steps to achieving this goal.

Notes to editors

1. Deirdre Newham has been appointed to the Board until 31 March 2014. Remuneration will be £11,968.19 for three days per month.

2. John Weir has been reappointed as Deputy Chair for a third term until 31 March 2014. Remuneration will be £35,556.60 for two days per week.

3. The appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Brief biographies for those who have been appointed are below:

Deirdre Newham
Deirdre Newham has been a member of the Northampton Bench since 1977, serving as Bench Chairman from 1996 to 2000, and as Chairman of the Magistrates Courts’ Committee until March 2005, when the Magistrates Courts transferred to Her Majesty’s Court Service. She has been Chair of the Northamptonshire Police Authority since 2007.

Deirdre is well known in Northampton for her work with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, which she managed until 1992; she served with the Area Committee and the National Council of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux. From 1993 she was a freelance business consultant and a member of the Institute of Business Counsellors, and was formerly Chair of the Northamptonshire Manpower Board.

Deirdre is currently the Chair of the Governors’ Board for the University of Northampton and has been a Governor of Northampton High School for Girls since February 2010. She was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Northamptonshire in January 2011.

Political Activity:
Deirdre does not hold any other ministerial public appointments and has declared that she has not been involved in political activity over the past 5 years.

John Weir (Deputy Chair)
Raised in Derby, John is an architect. He studied architecture at Newcastle upon Tyne and Nottingham Universities and has spent most of his career in the development and house building industry. Starting his career with David M Adams Developments Ltd, he joined Wilson Connolly in 1984. His strong belief in the importance of the sustainability agenda was reflected in his launch of a Wilson Connolly subsidiary “The Lifebuilding Company”, which promoted the sustainability agenda.

John left Wilson Connolly in 2002 and is now Chairman of ‘Transform places’ a not for profit organisation working with communities and professionals to improve the design of neighbourhoods, streets, homes, and green spaces. He sits on the board of Design for Homes, a not for profit organisation promoting good housing design, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. John lives near Daventry, is married and has two sons.

Political Activity:
John does not hold any other ministerial public appointments and has declared that he has not been involved in political activity over the past 5 years.

4. Urban Development Corporations (such as the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation) objectives are to secure the regeneration of its area. This is to be achieved in particular through:

  • bringing land and buildings into effective use

  • encouraging the development of existing and new industry and commerce

  • creating an attractive environment, and

  • ensuring housing and social facilities are available to encourage people to live and work in the area.

For the purpose of achieving the regeneration of its area, the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation may:

  • acquire, hold, manage, reclaim and dispose of land and other property
  • carry out buildings and other operations
  • seek to ensure the provision of water, electricity, gas, sewerage and other services, and
  • carry on any business or undertaking for the purposes of regenerating its area.


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