A plan to build nearly 26,000 houses in Northampton by 2029 has been narrowly voted through to consultation, amid claims the borough is being “stitched up” by politicians in neighbouring districts.
The proposals, which have been in gestation since 2006, say that 41,760 homes will need to be built across West Northamptonshire by 2029, with 25,758 of these in Northampton borough.
Residents and politicians say there are serious concerns over a lack of infrastructure, congestion on already-crowded roads, flood risk and pollution.
But the latest version of the report, which is called the joint core strategy, was voted through at a meeting of the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit last night.
Northampton borough councillors Phil Larratt, Penny Flavell, Jonathan Nunn and Tim Hadland all voted against the report, as did county councillors Andre Gonzalez de Savage and Michael Clarke.
But when the vote was tied, the chairman, Daventry councillor Chris Over, made the casting vote in favour, to cries of “shame” from the public gallery.
Under the proposals, Daventry is set to receive just 6,984 more homes, nearly 19,000 fewer than Northampton.
The report will now be subject to a public consultation, between January 14 and February 26 next year.
It refers to a number of sustainable urban extensions (SUEs), which could see large developments in places such as Hardingstone, Collingtree and Moulton.
Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Larratt (Con, East Hunsbury), said: “There is no point in putting out a plan which is so unsound. I don’t think what we have before us is a sensible vision for Northampton.
“These are all sites where developers want to develop because it suits them.
“I am not a puppet to the Government and I will not dance to their tune. This is a plan to stitch up and dump on Northampton.”
Several members of the public also criticised the report.
Patrick Cross, from Whitehills and Spring Park Residents Association, addressed concerns with plans for 1,000 homes on Buckton Fields.
He said: “The attractiveness of Northampton to businesses, as well as residents, will be undermined without a north-west bypass before expansion.
“This offers little mention of a traffic plan for today or tomorrow.”
West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit says the plan is necessary to ensure controlled housing developments.
Its head, David Atkinson, told the meeting: “The area needs a plan to guide development, which is of mutual benefit to us all.
“If we do not have a plan, there is a grave danger that speculative planning applications will come in, which do not have the infrastructure.”