Northamptonshire joinery company says proposed industrial park would be too small

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A joinery company employing 600 people in Northampton has said a proposed industrial park would not be enough to allow them to stay in the town.

Jim McManus, a director of Howden, whose headquarters is in a one million square foot unit in Brackmills, told a planning inspector at Franklin’s Gardens yesterday the business was rapidly expanding.

He said a proposed warehouse estate near Harpole and Junction 16 of the M1 - which was the issue being examined yesterday – had no unit big enough to house the business nor would it be ready as quickly as needed, and implied they would be forced to move outside Northampton.

Mr Mcmanus said: “We do have an immediate requirement to vacate the site.

“The only site we have identified that is suitable is near junction 15.

“What we need is a very large single unit to supply our 600 depots across the country.

“We have 600 people at the moment and that will grow as we want to go from one million square feet to almost two million square feet.”

He added that when the current lease expires Howden would leave and Junction 16 was not suitable.

However he did say that if the development plan for Northampton that was being discussed – called the West Northamptonshire joint core strategy – could be altered to allow units near Junction 15 and Grange Park, there was a landowner willing to sell an appropriate site which would have a total of five million square foot of floor space.

Yesterday’s public hearing was the second day of five.

Today and tomorrow from 9.30am, the inspector, Nigel Payne, will hear evidence on the thousands of homes proposed for Northampton.

Those set to ask for the plans to be overhauled are 
residents’ groups, Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council.