Planners cancel meeting with residents group worried about plans for 26,000 new homes in Northampton

Residents at a previous meeting at the Guildhall
Residents at a previous meeting at the Guildhall

Residents trying to discover since December how plans for 26,000 homes in Northampton will affect them have been told their meeting with planners has been cancelled due to “insufficient business”.

Whitehills and Spring Park Residents’ Association (WASPRA) are trying to find out what the effects of recent changes to the plan will be in terms of extra homes, congestion and the overload of local amenities.

Although five members of the public asked the as-yet-unanswered questions at a meeting of the council-run Joint Planning Unit three months ago, they have not recieved a single answer or reply.

And the meeting set for later this month has now been cancelled due to “insufficient business”.

The residents asked how changes to the plans - approved by the independent Planning Inspector last year - will affect them; why no promised steps are being taken to encourage motorists to stop using their cars and; who is in charge of planning for the promised new North West Bypass.

Patrick Cross, chair of the residents’ group, said: “We asked the questions at a 45 minute-long meeting in December, but they are missing from the minutes, which we had to prompt them to publish.

“All our emails to get answers have been ignored too yet they tell us there’s nothing to discuss.

“This is not democracy nor transparency. Our questions are real issues for our community and we believe we are just ignored by the JPU.”

Councillor Breese, currently the JPU chair, a position which rotates among the councils of Daventry, South Northamptonshire and Northampton, said because the homes plan - called the Core Straregy - was approved by the inspector, there is no need to discuss it further with residents.

She said “WASPRA’s case was taken into account when the inspector decided to recommend the adoption the plans.

“The continuing concerns of WASPRA are noted, but the core strategy is now a key consideration for the future planning of the Northampton area.

She added: “Given that there wasn’t any business for the committee, it was deemed sensible to cancel the next meeting.

“All democracy and transparancy has stopped since the Inspector gave the ‘plan’ a green light.

“Our questions are above and beyond the Inspector’s decision, especially about the North West Bypass, which is not properly planned resulting in more chaos in our area.”

However Mr Cross said that there has always been provision for the plans to be tweaked.

“Our questions are above and beyond the inspector’s decision, especially about the North West Bypass, which is not properly planned resulting in more chaos in our area.”