Northampton village gears up for neighbourhood plan referendum on Bonfire Night

A referendum will be held in Duston on November 5, in which the village will decide whether to adopt a neighbourhood plan.
A referendum will be held in Duston on November 5, in which the village will decide whether to adopt a neighbourhood plan.

Ballot papers are being delivered to more than 6,700 homes in Duston as the village prepares for a referendum on whether to adopt a neighbourhood plan.

Duston Parish Council has spent the past two years drawing up the plan, which, if adopted, would effectively provide a blueprint for where homes, shops and play areas are built in the village and what they should look like over the next 15 years.

The plan also aims to protect green spaces in Duston from development and ensure that any new building remains in-keeping its surroundings.

Polling cards have now started arriving at homes in Duston, asking the question: “Do you want Northampton Borough Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Duston parish to help it decide planning applications in the Neighbourhood Area?”

Villagers will be required to vote “yes” or “no” on Thursday, November 5, by taking their ballot card to their designated polling station.

Chairman of Duston Parish Council, Councillor Frances Jones, is urging people to cast their vote next month in what will be the first neighbourhood plan referendum to take place in Northamptonshire.

She said: “I absolutely do think this plan reflects what people want in Duston.

“Everybody has been consulted and everybody has had a chance to have their say.

“Mostly the responses have been positive, and the negative ones we have tried to address in the final plan.”

One of the policies states that any new plans for houses or conversions in the Newton Road area should reflect the “tight formal layout of this area,” retaining the good elements of “Radburn” layout which includes small common spaces and pedestrian access to the front and rear.

In Chiltern Way, it states that new building should “reflect the spacious setting of

1950/60s semi-detached and other houses.”

The plan would also discourage the change of use of ground floor premises to non-retail uses, and aim to support businesses through initiatives such as improvement grants and shop-front competitions.

It makes a commitment to providing more parking in Duston and improve cycleways and pathways.

While the plan makes no specific new housing requirements, it does give scope to allow alternate uses for the undeveloped parcel of land once occupied by the Timken manufacturing factory off Main Road.

Councillor Jones said the plan if adopted, would also allow Duston Parish Council to have a greater powers to shape any new plans submitted to the borough council for approval.

She said; “The idea of this plan is that things don’t happen in Duston that people don’t want to happen.

“With all the people we have talked to, we feel we have got the plan right.”