Nearly 500 residents sign petition to stop social houses being built on 'beautiful' Northampton park

"It's with a heavy heart that I think this spot would never be considered for destruction if it were in a more affluent area"

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 7:39 am

A Northampton councillor has slammed possible plans to build 125 social houses on a green field in his ward - and nearly 500 people in the area have signed a petition to stop the proposals.

Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH) could submit plans to build 125 'affordable' homes on green land in Fraser Road, Thorplands.

The field has been earmarked as a site to be developed on in West Northamptonshire Council's (WNC) Local Plan Part Two.

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Councillor Dennis Meredith of the Talavera ward. Photo: Leila Coker

However, the land is a popular open space and is reportedly used by many Thorplands residents including children and dog walkers.

And now the Liberal Democrat councillor for the Talavera Ward, Dennis Meredith, is demanding the plans are scrapped.

He said: "If this goes ahead it's going to be a beautiful place lost. It will cause devastation to Thorplands Brook. I think it's very ill thought out.

"I'm not against council houses, I want to see more. But there are certain places that shouldn't be built on because it would be denying the right to open spaces.

"I've had an online petition from residents with nearly 500 signatures. I'll take the petition to the next full council meeting and ask that the park becomes a designated place for the residents.

"It's really badly thought out by NPH. I hope I can make them change their minds. The council isn't aware at how the space is used by residents."

The councillor also said building on the land could 'set a precedent'.

He said: "Would they build on Abington Park? They should not be allowed to build on parks. Building on this site could set a precedent.

"Thorplands and Talavera are some of the most forgotten about areas of the country, according to a recent government report. So if NPH goes ahead with the plans, it is denying people the right to go and enjoy the facilities.

"There are 1000s of empty houses in the town that are not occupied at the moment. Why don't the council spend more money getting those houses done up?"

The petition set up by local residents has, at the time of writing, 468 signatures calling on people to 'save the park from bulldozers'.

The petition reads: "This is the only free open space for miles where we can safely let the dogs off the lead, sunbathe, play ball games and let the children run free. It's an oasis of beauty in an otherwise very built up area.

"The natural beauty of this park has to be seen to be believed. Please make some time this week to visit the park to fully understand what they plan to destroy. You will be surprised!

"Many local residents have told us "it's the only place I feel safe". We should not be forced into our cars to visit an open space.

"It's with a heavy heart that I think this spot would never be considered for destruction if it were in a more affluent area. Would this public park be bulldozed if it were in a posh area?"

NPH said in a statement released earlier this week that there are more than 200 families who are in need of housing in the Thorplands area.

NPH said residents will be able to submit feedback on the plans between Monday August 2 to August 19.

NC has been contacted for comment.