Chair of planning says Dallington Grange decision 'was never going to please everyone'

The planning committee gave outline planning approval to the Dallington Grange development
The planning committee gave outline planning approval to the Dallington Grange development

The chairman of a planning committee that granted a controversial 3,000 home development believes that the decision was never going to please everyone.

Councillor Brian Oldham oversaw proceedings last night (October 31) as the Dallington Grange scheme was given outline planning approval.

He was one of seven members of the Northampton Borough Council panel to vote in favour of the scheme, with two against.

And while admitting that the plans have their drawbacks, the Conservative councillor felt that there were more positives than negatives.

He said: “We were never going to get people to accept everything, it was too much, it was too big an application. We were not going to come out of it 100 per cent agreeing to it.

“But for me the five-year housing land supply, that’s a mega thing that we need to be careful of. These 3,000 homes were within those figures, it wasn’t going to be added to it. If we had taken them out it would have been catastrophic for the people of Northampton.

“It was totally a situation of weighing up all the advantages and disadvantages. And I looked and looked. Yes,there’s disadvantages with it, no two ways about it. So we have to police these things, and we have to make sure that what we said tonight happens.”

The development, located between Lodge Farm industrial estate and Kings Heath, will also see a new local centre built comprising a food store, six retail units, a restaurant, pub and takeaway, as well as a nursery, two primary schools and a secondary school.

Critics highlighted potential traffic problems with the scale of the development, and also that the number of affordable homes was lower than the council’s policy of 30 per cent of any development. Dallington Grange only offered 10 per cent.

But Councillor Oldham said: “Even though it’s only 10 per cent, the affordable houses was a major part of it. What we had in front of us is something we haven’t got. We haven’t got 300 affordable homes, or 100 council houses. 3,000 houses is a big thing.

“To me, I can’t see with the housing climate that we could say we wouldn’t want them. Is saying we don’t want to build any homes a price worth paying? The residents spoke very passionately, and we took that on board. But I feel like it came to a constructive end.”