Northampton's biggest single social housing development for 30 years hits the rocks
A long-trumpeted plan to build 100 council houses together in Northampton is set to be scrapped after it emerged the council might run out of time to get Government funding.
Nearly three years since Northampton Borough Council revealed its intentions to build the homes at Dallington Grange near Kings Heath, the plan appears to have hit a wall.
The new social homes were to form only a small part of the 3,400 house Dallington Grange estate, which is a long-term development being devised by Persimmon Homes, Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes.
But in February the borough council said discussions over “infrastructure” were taking longer than expected.
As a result it risked losing out on the £8.6 million worth of funding from the Local Growth Deal, which required the monies to be spent by March 31, 2017.
A report to Wednesday’s cabinet meeting now proposes scrapping the original plans in order to fund social housing developments elsewhere in the town.
The report, co-authored by the chief executive David Kennedy, seeks: “The authority of cabinet to substitute the funding allocated for the 100 homes at Dallington to alternative sites, subject to the council receiving DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) and treasury approval.”
The council had managed to negotiate a time extension on the Local Growth Deal funds to March, 2018.
Even then, the report states, the Dallington Grange development might not be finished.
However the papers show the borough council is proposing to build 13 social houses on the site of the former Tanners pub in Thorplands.
The freehold is held by the council but the site is currently let to Trust Inns on a ground lease ending in 2074.
The former pub building is being marketed for sale.
Councillor Stephen Hibbert, council cabinet member for housing, said: “In order for us to take advantage of this funding, we must get on with the work.
“The Government has already agreed to extend the deadline for funding until March 2018 but it is still unlikely that Dallington Grange could deliver the homes within that period.
“As an alternative, council officers are proposing that we look to other sites which will be able to provide our new social housing promptly.
“Dallington Grange remains firmly in our council homes building programme, but with developers focusing work on their other sites, we feel we need to bring forward additional sites in the meantime.”
The council claims 100 new social homes will be delivered “within the required timescales.”
Other possible sites are currently being considered and the authority says these will be publicised individually as they are brought forward.