Action group says there’s ‘one month to save Northampton’

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Ordinary Northampton people could force a halt to plans for thousands of new houses in the town if they speak out in the next three weeks, action groups have said.

In a call to arms for the town at a public meeting, the groups representing tens of thousands of residents living near to where 26,000 new homes are planned, said the time between now and March 18 could be crucial in the history of the town.

A public hearing about the plans, called the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy, will reopen at Franklin’s Gardens from March 18 to March 20, with an extension to March 21 likely.

In the meantime, it was said, people who felt they may be affected by extra traffic or flooding, or have a worse standard of living, can call or write to their local MP or councillor. They can tell them they want to call a halt until another plan, formed by the public, can be put forward.

The politicians will be speaking at Franklin’s Gardens and making their case to principal planning inspector Nigel Payne, against the current plans. And action groups reckon the more people who say they are unhappy with the quality of the plan, the better chance there is of sending it back to the drawing board.

Adrian Bell, of Hardingstone Action Group, said: “Our MP Andrea Leadsom and all these experts have said that if enough people make enough noise, they will have to listen to your concerns.

“This is your chance to change the course of events in your town instead of saying nothing will happen.

“We have to stand up and be counted.

“If in the end it doesn’t work, at least you can say you’ve done your best.”

Kate Servant, of Hardingstone Action Group, said: “Nobody will hear you if you don’t shout. So shout.

“Here’s your chance. What’s stopping you?”

Patrick Cross, of the Whitehills and Spring Park Residents’ Association, said: “People ask me why I bother, that we’re banging our heads against a brick wall.

“I tell them that if enough people bang their heads, the wall will come tumbling down.”

The action groups urged people to turn up in numbers at Franklin’s Gardens, in Weedon Road, to make sure the inspector is aware of the strength of feeling in Northampton on the issue.