Parish council near Northampton says “enormous” warehouse would destroy village

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

A gigantic warehouse plan near the M1 outside of Northampton will turn a “pleasant rural village into an “industrial area”, according to Milton Malsor Parish Council.

Kitchen suppliers Howden Joinery Group, which is already based in three locations in Northampton, has applied to build a new national distribution centre and office near Junction 15 of the motorway, on the edge of Collingtree.

The firm says it would invest £250 million into the “local economy”, see improvements made to Junction 15 and safeguard 580 jobs by keeping Howdens operations in the town.

Last week Colingtree Parish Council objected to the plans because it said such a development would impact on the area’s air quality.

This week Milton Malsor Parish Council has added its call to the objections, because it says the 2.6 million square foot building is in the open countryside is contrary to the approved West Northants Joint Core Strategy.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “The proposed site will consume a third of Milton Malsor parish and consign a pleasant rural village that appears in the Domesday Book and is a weekend recreational lung for Northampton, into an industrial area.”

The parish council also called the consultation process around the new plan ‘negligible’.

It says two public exhibitions were held at the Hilton Hotel, Collingtree, but leaflets were not distributed to residents in Milton Malsor, though the village is as near to the proposed site.

And it says Howden has not considered the impact other large housing developments nearby will impact on the two villages.

“They do not take account of the 1,000 plus new homes already approved for Collingtree Park and more than 300 extra houses to be built in Roade,” the spokesperson said.

“Ikea were refused planning permission at this same junction for reasons of traffic; how can this proposal be accepted?”

The parish council has backed those in Colingtree who fear the warehouse, which would be one of the largest facilities to be built on countryside land in Europe, would carry a serious health risk for those living nearby.

The spokesperson added: “The M1 and A45 corridors are designated air quality control areas where the pollution levels have already reached a critical point for health.

“Central government has stated that air pollution is about to become the second highest killer after lung cancer. “Do we want to allow a further 100 plus diesel trucks onto Junction 15 operating day and night?”

Finally the council says the warehouse would be unsightly, despite assurances from Howden’s chief executive Matthew Ingle, that the building would be “out of direct sight lines”.

The authority has produced a Neighbourhood Plan which only allows for a “small housing development” near the village borders.