We will fight to protect our border from 2,200-home development vows Northampton Borough Council

Prime development land? Councillors have opposed the land near the Washlands area in Northampton being used for housing.
Prime development land? Councillors have opposed the land near the Washlands area in Northampton being used for housing.
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Councillors ramped up the rhetoric on protecting land near Northampton's border from a possible 2,200 homes after all three political parties at the Guildhall vowed to fight proposals just south of town.

One Tory member even quoted Winston Churchill in describing his feelings for South Northamptonshire Council and its proposals to designate a swathe of the Nene Valley Gravel pits as prime housing land.

The Washlands near Upper Nene Gravel Pits are a known beauty spot home to rare nesting bird species.

The Washlands near Upper Nene Gravel Pits are a known beauty spot home to rare nesting bird species.

The neighbouring authority wants to earmark sites east of Wootton and south east Northampton as reserve areas in its local plan, suitable for 2,200 homes.

But at a Guildhall meeting, the borough council said the homes could put untold pressure on the A45 and place houses on Northampton's border with none of the council tax benefits.

All three parties voted in favour of a motion to oppose South Northamptonshire's draft plan.

Nodding to a famous Churchill speech, chairman of the planning committee Brian Oldham, said: "Never in the annals of political conflict has so much been forced on so many by so few.

South Northants' plans to earmark land near the protected Upper Nene Gravel Pits for 2,200 homes has put the authority at odds with its northern neighbours.

South Northants' plans to earmark land near the protected Upper Nene Gravel Pits for 2,200 homes has put the authority at odds with its northern neighbours.

"It's a one way street flowing all the way into Northampton. This isn't fly-tipping it's house tipping, because we have to put up with all the mess that goes with it.

"Just because we are neighbours with them - it doesn't mean we have to be neighbourly."

The proposals being put forward by South Northamptonshire would also impact on areas such as the Washlands, which supports a thriving bird population including the mute swan and the gadwall.

Cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland, (Con, Old Duston) added: "We must fight this as strong as we possibly can and we must continue fighting until this is killed off."

National planning policy states each council needs to make available enough land to satisfy demand for homes on a rolling five-year period.

The area where the 2,200 homes are being earmarked is known as the Northampton Related Development Area (NRDA) which includes parts of the South Northamptonshire and Daventry districts, as well as all of Northampton borough. About one in four of all houses in the NRDA will be built in Daventry and South Northants areas.

At present, the NRDA does not meet that five-year rule, meaning those two sites south of Northampton could be made available if the NRDA continues to underperform.

South Northamptonshire Council leader, Councillor Ian McCord, told the Chron last week: “I welcome the fact the borough is engaging with the process and fulfilling their legal duty to co-operate with other neighboring councils.

“There is nothing that I could not sign-up to in this motion and, as it states, this is a proposed reserve site that will only be brought forward should the failure to build the right number of houses within the NRDA continue."

The proposed South Northamptonshire policy also acknowledges that access, road improvements and ecology issues that are of concern to the borough council must be resolved before any planning permission are granted on the site.