Have your say on how decisions on massive business parks in Northampton are made

Move comes after controversial scheme won approval

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 12:46 pm

A review of how planning permission is given to ‘employment parks’ is going ahead after a controversial scheme near Northampton was given the go-ahead.

Earlier this week, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) had to give the go-ahead to a business park creating around 1,500 jobs after the Government decided not to call in the plans for further scrutiny. The development, to the north of Towcester, had prompted a strong objection from nearby residents and parish councils.

The plans had been supported by South Northamptonshire Council, which has since been replaced by WNC, leaving the council obliged to give the plans approval.

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Now the council wants to review how decisions are made.

At its meeting next Tuesday (28 June), members of West Northamptonshire Council’s Planning Policy Committee will consider plans to seek people’s views on a new draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for employment land allocations, which would sit alongside the South Northamptonshire Local Plan Part 2 to help inform decision-making on planning applications.

The draft SPD aims to provide greater detail and certainty to the public and developers by setting out overarching design principles for the future development of the employment sites identified in the Local Plan, including guidance relating to size, scale and density of buildings.

At their meeting next week the planning policy committee will decide whether to launch a six-week public consultation this summer to gauge people’s views on the draft SPD, which will include a series of local drop-in sessions where residents can find out more. View the committee agenda and report on the website for further details.

Cllr Rebecca Breese, West Northamptonshire Council cabinet member for strategic planning, built environment and rural affairs, said: “These employment sites are extremely important for the continued economic development of the area, to provide jobs and prosperity which will allow people to continue living and working in West Northamptonshire rather than going elsewhere.

“But it is so important for us to have clear and robust planning guidance in place for the appropriate, future development of these sites. This SPD will go a long way towards supporting our existing planning policies with further detail and will be a material consideration in our future decision-making.”