Buyers at proposed Northampton housing estate advised not to open windows because of M1 noise

editorial image

Owners of some homes at a proposed housing estate near Northampton have been advised not to open their windows because of noise from the M1.

The 1,000-house estate near Collingtree was rejected by councillors in January for several reasons, including noise pollution.

Plans for Northampton South SUE, showing the homes closest to the M1

Plans for Northampton South SUE, showing the homes closest to the M1

But developer Bovis Homes has appealed through a public inquiry at Franklin’s Gardens, saying people can keep their windows shut to stay within permitted decibel levels.

Machines will be able to suck in air, the firm says, to provide ventilation and keep homeowners cool.

But Nigel Mapletoft, a retired engineer and member of the Collingtree Park Residents’ Association, said occupiers will be uncomfortably hot.

In evidence that will be put before the independent planning inspector next Tuesday, he says: “[Bovis] admit in their paper that, not only will residents suffer from the effects of intolerable noise, but also many of their houses will be overheated

“Indeed, their bedroom target of 26 degrees Celsius is a whole eight degrees hotter than the Government’s recommendation, making them feel to UK residents more like a sauna than a place to sleep.

“That target makes their bedrooms hotter than any bedroom in the Mediterranean and, indeed, in most of Africa. As a target, it’s unbelievable.

“The worst-affected houses will be those closest to the motorway, occupied by the poorest residents who could ill-afford to maintain air conditioning systems let alone purchase a replacement system every 5 or 10 years.”

The site, officially called Northampton South Sustainable Urban Development, is between the M1 and A45, which carry 160,000 vehicles a day.

Bovis admits in its own evidence that windows will need to be kept shut most of the time. But it argues that the maximum temperature will only be exceeded during seven per cent of the bedroom’s occupied time.

A spokesman for Bovis Homes said: “Only a handful of our proposed properties closest to the M1 is potentially going to be fitted with mechanical ventilation.

“This (with the agreement of the Council) is to ensure provision of a satisfactory internal noise environment, which allows affected properties to be properly ventilated without requiring the opening of windows – you can open the windows, but you don’t have to.”