Northampton's 'road to nowhere' is back on the cards after plans for 1,900 homes are approved

The Sandy Lane relief rod project now looks to be back on the cards, having stalled a decade ago.
The Sandy Lane relief rod project now looks to be back on the cards, having stalled a decade ago.

The decision to allow some 1,900 new homes on the edge of Northampton will give 'fresh hope' to a relief road project that looked to have been halted permanently, a council leader says.

The Sandy Lane relief road was dubbed the ‘road to nowhere’ after construction stopped nearly a decade ago when proposals for new homes nearby fell through.

But Norwood Development has now pledged to complete the scheme, after South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) approved their plans for 1,900 homes between Harpole and St Crispin yesterday.

Three parish councils, including Harpole, had strongly objected to the scheme.

But SNC says the development will see 'millions of pounds poured into public open spaces', a country park, play areas, a primary school, a mixed-use local centre community facilities and offsite healthcare provision.

Councillor Roger Clarke, SNC’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “The principle of building homes in that location is well established under the Joint Core Strategy (JCS), but the history of this site demonstrates how complex this kind of proposal can be.

“There will be those who object to these plans, but we can only restate that we have the interests of existing and future residents at the forefront of our minds when making decisions like these.

“Having a road to nowhere is blighting our landscape and collective conscience and is holding back plans for Northampton’s desperately needed ring road.

“These plans will unblock those proposals and help Northampton reach its full potential.”

The relief road would effectively sit parallel to the current Sandy Lane, which runs between the A4500 and Berrywood Road, Duston.

A minimum of 15 per cent of the first phase of housing will also be affordable housing and subsequent phases will be required to comprise a minimum of 17.5 per cent affordable homes.

While South Northamptonshire can demonstrate it has nearly 12 years’ worth of housing in the planning pipeline for the district, the Norwood Farm area is part of the Northampton Related Development Area (NRDA).

The NRDA forms part of the JCS and recognises that there is limited space within Northampton for housing developments. In doing so it allows homes built in South Northants on the outskirts of the town to be counted as part of Northampton’s contribution of new homes to the region.

Critics say this allows a neighbouring council to deposit large home builds on the outskirts of Northampton - though the new residents will not pay taxes to Northampton Borough Council.