EXCLUSIVE: Outrage at latest plans for 21,000 new homes in the county

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LATEST plans showing where thousands of new houses could be built around Northampton, Daventry and Towcester were published this morning, to the anger of many residents and politicians.

The West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (JPU), a group made up of officials from Northampton, Daventry and Towcester, have outlined where more than 21,000 houses could be built between now and 2026.

The plans replace a similar scheme published in 2009, which suggested 40,000 houses could be built in the area.

Despite the reduction in the number of new houses expected to be built, critics of the plans have attacked them for being imposed on the three towns.

The Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, Andrea Leadsom, said: “I’m absolutely livid. Local planning is in such a mess, It’s got to be handed back to the people, and stop all this top-down stuff.

“All they’ve done with these plans is pick a number that’s smaller than last time and say ‘let’s see if we can get away with it’. I’m absolutely disgusted.”

When the last set of housing plans was published in 2009, hundreds of people from a number of small Northamptonshire villages took to the streets of Northampton in protest, claiming the developments would wipe out their communities.

The latest plans do not mention specific villages as areas of redevelopment, but do highlight areas such as Upton, Kings Heath, Whitehills and Brackmills.

The Conservative MP for Northampton North, Michael Ellis, took part in the 2009 protest march.

He said: “These new plans sound very disappointing. I took part in the 2009 march to support the people who opposed the ill-thought-through expansion and it’s imperative the people of Northamptonshire now have a proper say in the future of the area.”

But not all of the area’s MPs have opposed the latest plans. The Conservative MP for Northampton South, Brian Binley, opposed the 2009 scheme because it included plans to build 18,000 houses on a site stretching from Grange Park to Little Houghton.

He said the removal of that scheme, and the reduction in overall housing figures in the latest plans, should be welcomed: “The figures delight me in one major respect, because the crazy plan for 18,000 houses to the south west of Northampton, which would have straddled a number of villages, has been scrapped.

“I’m delighted the planners who thought that would be a sensible solution to some of Northampton’s problems have seen sense. It is true however that there is a need for more houses in Northampton for the people who haven’t been able to buy them. And we need them to be affordable so people can actually get mortgages to buy them.”

Members of the JPU will meet next week to discuss the plans further before they are put out for public consultation.