Council to discuss how Northampton finds room for an extra 5,000 homes over the next five years

Northampton Borough Council needs to find ways of delivering a further 5,000 homes within the next five years.
Northampton Borough Council needs to find ways of delivering a further 5,000 homes within the next five years.

Northampton needs to find room for another 5,000 homes - on top of the 8,328 already planned - over the next five years, or it will find itself at the mercy of a raft of half-baked developments.

Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet is set to consider how it tackles the huge shortfall in its five-year housing supply when it meets a week today.

At the Guildhall meeting, the Conservative authority will consider whether to approve a series of proposed measures to tackle the problem.

Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, Councillor Tim Hadland, said: “If we don’t do something to tackle this situation, more and more undesirable developments could be approved at appeal.

“New planning policies are weighted in favour of developers where sufficient land supply in other areas cannot be demonstrated.

“Ours is not a unique position – local authorities across the country are in a similar predicament – and the measures suggested in this report could help us address that.”

Under current planning rules, councils across the country are required to demonstrate they have an adequate supply of land for “anticipated housing need.”

The lack of a five-year supply means that, when a planning application is refused, developers are much more likely to win their appeal.

Northampton is currently only likely to see 8,328 built during the next five years, against a Government expectation of 12,703.

But in areas which are felt to have persistently under-delivered, the Government also requires an additional buffer of 20 per cent.

Northampton is one such area after it missed it’s previous target between 2011 and 2016 by 712 homes.

This means 13,415 homes would be expected to be built in the borough during this time.

Currently the authority is lagging way behind that by 5,087 homes.

As a result, in recent months, the secretary of state has allowed two large developments in Hardingstone and Collingtree, which were previously refused by the borough council’s planning committee.

The possible measures being proposes at cabinet include clamping down on buildings sites not progressing as expected, working in partnership with Daventry and South Northamptonshire councils to find land to build on and “exploring new methods of housing delivery,” such as building it’s own new council homes.