‘Build thousands of new homes to north of Northampton, not south and west’ says county council

The site where the proposed Buckton Fields development would be built
The site where the proposed Buckton Fields development would be built

Plans for thousands of new homes south and west of Northampton should be blocked, according to Northamptonshire County Council.

The local authority will raise concerns about the West Northamptonshire joint core strategy, which outlines where future housing and employment growth will take place, at public hearing sessions next month.

A spokesman for the county council said: “Our major concerns are centred on the amount of development that is proposed for the south and west of Northampton and we consider that this growth could be better located to the north of the town, where better use could be made of the infrastructure that is required to support the development.

“These are locations where the council is seriously concerned about the impact of large scale development on the strategic and local road network.”

Although the revised document now proposes additional development to the north of Northampton, it also proposes substantially more to the west of the town and maintains the allocation of a 1,000 houses at Collingtree to the south.

The county council says that the delivery of infrastructure will be critical to the new houses and jobs and that this is also true of the development of 1,000 homes north of the Whitehills area of Northampton, which is known as Buckton Fields.

The planning inspector requested that further work be undertaken by the joint planning unit including a reassessment of the need for housing and jobs, taking on board the Government’s latest guidance. However, the county council says the revisions that are now proposed still do not address its concerns over the locations for growth and the delivery of the associated infrastructure.

Councillor Andre Gonzalez De Savage (Con, East Hunsbury) county council cabinet member for economic growth, said: “The joint core strategy provides the blueprint for future development in West Northamptonshire and as such it essential that we get it absolutely right.

“The county council continues to have some fundamental concerns about the proposals in the joint core strategy and it is important that they are raised at this stage so we can be sure that future growth in the county is sustainable.”

The strategy has been drawn up by the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (WNJPU) on behalf of the local planning authorities.

A Government planning inspector examined a wide range of representations to the original ‘submitted plan’, including concerns from the county council, at a series of public hearings held in April and May 2013.

This resulted in him asking for additional work to be done taking on board Government’s latest guidance including a re-assessment of the housing and employment numbers and the distribution of the developments.