Firm denies claims it didn’t consult residents of a Northamptonshire village about huge warehouse plans

View looking north east towards the proposed site
View looking north east towards the proposed site

Head of investor relations at the UK’s biggest manufacturer of kitchen and joinery products, Gary Rawlinson, said the company did inform the parish council about two consultation events it held in nearby Colingtree and says it leafleted residents in both villages, as well as setting up a website about the proposals.

The proposed 2.66 million square foot site near junction 15 of the M1. Collingtree village is to the top left of the image.

The proposed 2.66 million square foot site near junction 15 of the M1. Collingtree village is to the top left of the image.

He added: “The fact is we are very happy to meet with anybody who has an interest in this. If the parish councils want representatives from the team to come and speak to them to talk about the proposals, we are more than happy to.”

The gigantic planned depot at junction 15, Mr Rawlinson claims, is the only viable patch of land in the county to move the company to now - after it considered alternative sites at Daventry Rail Freight Terminal and land off junction 16 of the M1, either too far away or too small.

He added: “We are a very successful company and we believe that we have got more successes in front of us.

“But at this time the warehouse in Brackmills is not big enough for us to keep going.”

Mr Rawlinson said Howdens has several bases around Northampton and has ties to the town linking back to 1980.

“These are skilled employees,” he said. “Howdens wants to retain those skills and that’s why we want to stay in Northampton.”

Both parish councils in Milton Malsor and Colingtree had expressed concerns over the amount of lorry traffic building such a large warehouse would create. However the company says it could take on as many as 400 jobs if it makes the move, as well as safeguarding those already employed in Northampton.

Mr Rawlinson says, as most of its heavy goods movements enter Northampton from junction 15 anyway, there will be only a negligible increase in traffic felt by those living nearby.

The planning application submitted to South Northamptonshire Council promises that improvements will be made to junction 15, which Mr Rawlinson says will improve traffic flow in the area and reduce pollution - which is worse when vehicles are standing still.

As regards the look of the enormous structure, which would be the size of 60 football pitches, he claims that only the top par of the building will be visible from Colingtree.