Let’s ‘reverse’ design flaws in Northampton’s eastern district, says forum

A new neighbourhood plan out to consultation in the Eastern side of Northampton is about reversing design flaws of the past, one of its forum members says.

A new neighbourhood plan out to consultation in the Eastern side of Northampton is about reversing design flaws of the past, one of its forum members says.

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A new neighbourhood plan out to consultation in the eastern side of Northampton is all about giving the power to the people - not the planners - according to the forum leading it.

Feedback is currently being sought for the Growing Together Neighbourhood Plan, (GTNP) which proposes to protect the green areas around Blackthorn, Cherry Lodge, Goldings, Lings, Lumbertubs and Overstone Lodge, as well as ensuring all new designs are up to a modern standard.

The plan, which has been in the making since 2014, is now in its final draft stage and residents in the area have until September 22 to make comments on it.

If the draft passes an independent examination, the plans would then have to be approved by a referendum in the area, which could happen as early as next spring.

Peter Strachan of the Growing Together Neighbourhood Forum is now hoping people can get behind the proposals.

“We have been speaking to people in the area for two years now and we can honestly say this plan really does reflect what people want to see here.

“We just need people to vote for it - without that it won’t become law.”

Neighbourhood plans came into effect under 2011’s Localism Act and allow forums to draw up their own planning conditions for a given area.

Recent plans have been approved in Duston and Spring Boroughs.

Mr Strachan said the six estates, often referred to as the ‘Eastern District’ of Northampton, were designed to an outdated 1960s template, which needs “reversing” over the next two decades.

If approved, the neighbourhood plan will make it a requirement that new houses built there “integrate refuse and recycling storage facilities to mitigate the visual impact” and create “well-defined, attractive and secure streets and spaces, faced by active frontages.”

“When these estates were built in the 60s and 70s, the wisdom was planners and builders knew best,” said Mr Strachan.

“They came up with a design that looked great on paper then, when people moved in there, they realised there were problems.

“What our plan does is to reverse that, to say, ‘local people know best’.”

The borough council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland, has urged people to take part in the consultation.

He said: “The Growing Together Neighbourhood Forum has pulled together this plan with the aid and consultation of key stakeholder groups since the beginning.

“What this next stage of consultation does is offer a chance to review the proposals so far and ensure the plan meets the needs of the communities involved before it is put forward for examination – the next step in getting it put into action.

“This neighbourhood plan will directly affect the communities involved and so I urge everyone in these areas to look over the proposals and take the time to participate in the consultation.”

The consultation will run until 5pm on Thursday, September 22.

All comments received will be put forward for consideration during the independent examination of the plan.

The draft plan and supporting documents are available on the council’s website along with instructions and options for participating in the consultation - HERE