Battle lines drawn for housing fight

editorial image

ANGRY community leaders from around the county have pledged to join together to fight plans for more than 21,000 new homes in the area.

The West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (JPU) published proposals last month that included plans for 11,000 houses on the outskirts of Northampton, 2,500 in Daventry, 1,500 in Towcester, and 1,760 in Brackley, in a report that provoked outcry from many residents.

A meeting hosted by the main opposition group to the plans, the Northants Residents’ Alliance, and attended by Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire Andrea Leadsom, took place at Kislingbury Village Hall on Monday night.

At the meeting community leaders, including local and parish councillors and community activists, voted to co-ordinate protest action against the plans in their communities to try to ensure their voices were heard.

The group now plans to set up a joint website to plan and document protests and petitions against the proposals.

The JPU’s new plans replaced a similar scheme published in 2009 which met with widespread protests after suggesting 40,000 houses could be built in the area.

Addressing the meeting, the leader of the alliance, Roger Kingston, urged residents to fight again. He said: “I am sad and somewhat annoyed we have been forced to gather again under these circumstances.

“Those of you involved with the great protest march – as I call it – and petitions of 2009 will appreciate how effective residents’ combined efforts were. The end result knocked the JPU and its half-cocked plans back and added another 15 months on to their project plan.”

“So does protesting have any value? The simple answer is most definitely, yes.”

He continued: “This is the time we need to strike and have it scrapped.

“We have a room full of community leaders who really care about this. We can all see this bus coming and we have very few options open to us. I actively believe public action is the only one open to us now. It worked in 2009 and it will work again.”

The JPU’s plans are out for public consultation until March 31.