Up to 250 houses could be built on the site of the University of Northampton’s Avenue Campus when the institution moves to a new town centre site in 2018, it has been announced.
The outline proposal for the site on St Georges Avenue, off the Racecourse, includes plans for a mixture of flats, terraced, semi-detached and detached homes of two, three, four and five bedrooms.
It also features a new ‘woodland’ area with a play space, cycle and pedestrian links between Freehold Street, Trinity Street and St Georges Avenue, and a drainage area to store surface water.
While the plans involve selling the land to developers, the Grade II listed Newton building, which was first opened in 1915 as Northampton School for Girls, will be kept by the university for ‘non-student facing’ activities. The entry pavilions to the Maidwell building will also be retained.
Gill and David Lindsay, who have lived in St Georges Avenue for 21 years and viewed the plans in the Newton Building on Tuesday, said they were worried about the possible increase in traffic
Mrs Lindsay: “This is a reasonable idea for the site, but our concern is whether it will end up being sold to a developer who would want to put even more houses in.
Our concern is whether it will end up being sold to a developer who would want to put even more houses inGill Lindsay, St George’s Avenue resident
“The traffic could also be a problem because each house would have one or two cars each, while students who use the university now often use bikes and public transport. St Georges Avenue is already a busy road and is not adequate to cope with much more.”
Parmjit Nila, transport planner for CH2M, said she did not belive there would be much difference in the amount of traffic.
She said: “It’s more the direction of traffic: currently traffic is coming into the site during morning rush-hour and leaving in the evening, whereas it would be the other way around with a residential development.”
The current plan is being coordinated by Savills, who will take feedback from the public consultation events before submitting a pre-application to Northampton Borough Council.
An outline application will then be submitted in a few months, detailing the principles and parameters for the site, before the land is sold to a developer to carry out the work.
Building work would not begin until the university has completely vacated the site by summer 2018.
Savills associate director and planner, Catherine Mason, said: “We have had a strong turn-out for the public viewings and the feedback has been generally very positive. People are expecting something to happen, they just want to know what, and have been asking practical questions about things like site access.”