Concern at new housing proposal

MAJOR housing expansion plans for Northampton have raised serious concerns among officials at Northamptonshire County Council.

In January, the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (JPU) published plans showing where 11,000 new houses could be built around the edges of Northampton by 2026.

The plans were met with immediate concern by anti-expansion campaigners in the town and now officials from the county council have also expressed concern.

In documents presented to the council, officials have warned plans to build 1,000 new houses at Collingtree are ‘poorly located’ and said plans to build a further 1,500 in an area of land off Sandy Lane in New Duston could be ‘better built elsewhere’.

The view has been backed by council cabinet member, Councillor Ben Smith (Con, Greens Norton).

Explaining the need for any developments to be backed by critical new infrastructure such as roads, schools and shops, he said: “We certainly must have infrastructure and if we don’t have guarantees on a way forward, we’ll say ‘this is not acceptable’, it’s really as simple as that.

“Because these plans are not just about building houses, they’re about creating communities.

“So it’s all about things like medical facilities, roads and open spaces and that must be the way forwards if we’re going to have this growth.”

The leader of the opposition on the county council, Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre) backed the calls for improved infrastructure as part of the expansion plans and pointed out improvements would also have to be made to the A43 between Kettering and Northampton.

He said: “Unless there are improvements to the A43, I can see the villages of Moulton and Overstone are going to get really jammed up if the expansion plans around there go ahead.

“There won’t be any traffic able to come down the roads at all, they’ll be that full of cars.”

Details of the JPU’s housing expansion plans are available on the organisation’s website, www.westnorthamp and members of the public can comment on them until the end of the month.