Huge expansion vision for towns

Massive new plans which could see more than 40,000 houses built around the edges of Northampton, Daventry and Towcester have been revealed.

The documents, which have been published by the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (JPU) show the largest potential development site is land between Grange Park, Wootton and Little Houghton where 18,000 homes could be built.

The scheme could also see an extra 5,663 houses built between Moulton and Overstone, 2,200 built on the edge of Collingtree and 6,900 built on the edge of Duston.

And further expansion would also see more than 5,300 houses built around Daventry and almost 5,000 more in South Northamptonshire.

Revealing the plans at the Guildhall yesterday, the leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Tony Woods (Lib Dem, St Davids), acknowledged some of the proposals would be unpopular with people living close to the possible development sites.

He said: "Inevitably this is going to be hugely controversial and there will be a number of people who will not be happy with the proposals we're bringing forward.

"We understand that feeling, but if people are putting objections in, they need to provide alternatives."

The housing plans have been put together as part of the Government's long-term scheme to increase the size of Northampton and the surrounding area.

The expansion plan was first put forward several years ago by the Government as a means of relieving the pressure on housing markets in the south-east of the country.

Major development have already been seen in locations such as Upton and Duston, but this is the first time areas for more new houses have been identified.

Although it is not yet confirmed, the houses will be built in the newly-identified areas, Councillor Woods said the specific locations had been chosen to make sure they would fit in with neighbouring towns.

He said: "For Northampton, I think the key factor is to maintain it as a compact and accessible city.

"We don't want characterless, urban sprawl. We want real communities with all the services people need to live."

Exact details of what could be built in each area have not yet been revealed, but the JPU has said the expansion would see the creation of schools, leisure centres, shops and green areas.

The document has also suggested Northampton town centre would be improved by the redevelopment of both the Grosvenor Centre and the town's railway station between 2011 and 2016.

There would also be a new road linking the M1 with the A45 at Great Billing Way and another around the north-west of Northampton linking Weedon Road with the A43 while both Towcester and Daventry would get their much-wanted bypasses.

The plans will be discussed by members of the JPU on July 6 and are expected to be put out to public consultation for six weeks before being submitted to the Government in November.

Councillor Woods said: "This is not a done deal, it's a set of proposals. It's very much the start of the process, not the end."

Full details of the scheme are available on the website www. westnorthamptonshirejpu.org.