Rural Northants village wins fight against ‘urban’, ‘unimaginative’ homes scheme

A development of 54 homes off Whites Lane, Harlestone, has been turned down by planning committee.
A development of 54 homes off Whites Lane, Harlestone, has been turned down by planning committee.

Northamptonshire villagers claimed a David versus Goliath victory against one of the country’s biggest housebuilders, after their protest over a homes scheme got it thrown out.

David Wilson Homes wants to build 54 new homes in land off Whites Lane, Harlestone, which had previously been earmarked as a possible site for around 2,500 homes in the west of Northampton.

But even though it falls within a designated Sustainable Urban Extension area, the village parish council says its bigger counterpart Daventry District Council has failed to put forward a meaningful masterplan for how those homes should be built.

The David Wilson plan received 28 objection letters from the small village - many of whom also felt the hombuilder’s plan to include a block of flats in the scheme would see an urban design dropped in the heart of a rural area.

But it was refused by Daventry District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday night.

At the meeting, chairman of Harlestone parish council, Sam Dobbs said: “Passing this would set us up for potential future application, without the required infrastructure.

“Sustainable it isn’t and infrastructure there isn’t.”

And on the block of flats he said the design would be totally inappropriate, featuring an “unimaginative street scene wholly alien to the beautiful parish.”

The scheme had been recommended for approval by Daventry District Council officers.

But the planning committee councillors threw it out in absence of a masterplan for the area.

It was felt that if the an was passed it would set a precedent for other developers to build in the Harlestone area, with limited school places available.

Committee member, Councillor Richard Auger, said: “We should have a masterplan, we should have a strategy of how these new developments will fit in.”