Residents of Hardingstone showed their delight when an application for a development of 1,000 new homes was refused on Tuesday night.
The scheme, which also planned to include shops and a primary school on a site just outside of Hardingstone, was rejected in a 6-2 vote by members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee.
The decision followed the summary of 1,500 objections from residents, councillors and local businesses who insisted that the area’s transport infrastructure would not be able to cope with the addition of a possible 1,500 extra vehicles.
During the meeting, senior planning officer Nicky Toon said the development would form a “vital” part of the central government’s ‘five-year housing supply’ requirement and that the impact on traffic and wildlife in the area would not outweigh Northampton’s “need for growth”.
The council and project designers LDA Designs and Parsons Brinckerhoff added that they had made a £1.25 million contribution to the Highways Agency to support traffic management projects, which included an improved bus route and a proposal to reduce speed on Langdimore Road from 40mph to 30mph, as well possible provisions to begin building a secondary school.
But residents at the meeting laughed in disbelief as speakers for the development insisted that there would be a ‘no long-term detriment’ impact on traffic congestion.
Nene Valley Councillor Jonathan Nunn said: “The roads are significantly over-used already and this traffic increase would mean that, when there are accidents and during peak times, the queues on the A45 will reach all down the M1. The premature traffic projects would not be possible given the cost and available space.”
Daniel Punter, Hardingstone resident and member of the Hardingstone Action Group, said: “Research shows that socially and economically it is more sensible to have smaller and stronger communities rather than endless and short-sighted urbanisation.
“Doubling the size of Hardingstone with this plan would destroy our village identity and character and the plan would open the door for further developments that will swallow up other villages until the whole of Northampton bumps into Milton Keynes.”
Chairman of Hardingstone Parish Council, Gordon Crowe, added: “Not only would this development would be a carbuncle on the outskirts of Northampton, but, practially speaking, it is negligent on a truly epic scale as the local infrastructure cannot sustain the strain of extra traffic without making an expansion to the A45.
“The council has three options: to incur the wrath of Hardingstone villagers by increasing congestion, to incure the wrath of Northampton by increasing taxes to expand the A45 itself, or to refuse the application.