Fight against 1,000 home plan not over for Hardingstone

Protest posters around Hardingstone
Protest posters around Hardingstone

Developers have refusedto rule out an appeal over a council decision to refuse 1,000 new homes on land in Hardingstone.

Residents were delighted when the decision was made by Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday night, but their fight may not be over as developers said yesterday they are now considering their next steps.

The scheme, which also included shops and a primary school on a site just outside the village, was rejected in a 4–2 vote by members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee because the road network would not be adequate.

The decision followed 1,500 objections from residents, councillors and local businesses who said that roads in the area would not be able to cope with a potential 1,500 extra vehicles.

Councillor Jonathan Nunn (Con, Nene Valley) said: “The roads are significantly over-used already and traffic increase would mean that, when there are accidents and during peak times, the queues on the A45 will reach the M1.”

Daniel Punter, of the Hardingstone Action Group (NAG), said: “Doubling the size of Hardingstone would destroy our village identity and the plan would open the door for further developments that will swallow up villages until Northampton bumps into Milton Keynes.”

But a spokesman from the Homes and Communications Agency, the applicant, said: “Following the planning decision for our land at Hardingstone, we will now be considering the options available to us.”

Anticipating such a response, HAG chairman, Adrian Bell, said: “We recognise that appeals will follow.

“But we won’t go away and we have gathered momentum in our direction.

“The refusal was made on facts and figures, taking in the negative impact increased traffic would have on Brackmills Industrial Estate, and shows that there are huge practical issues that are about more than residents wanting to keep their country view.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, developers and committee members backed the Hardingstone development plan on the grounds they would provide much-needed housing in Northampton.

Senior planning officer, Nick Toon, said the development would form a “vital” part of the central government’s ‘five-year housing supply’ demand and that the impact on traffic and wildlife would not sufficiently outweigh Northampton’s “need for growth”.

Speakers from LDA design and architectural company, Parsons Brinckerhoff, outlined measures to manage traffic increase and insisted they would prevent the development plan from causing “long-term detriment”.

The comments caused some residents at the meeting to laugh in disbelief.