1,400 home development in Northampton approved by councillors

A new 1,400 home estate in Northampton has been given planning permission by councillors.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 11:05 pm
The proposed layout of the new Upton Lodge site
The proposed layout of the new Upton Lodge site

Members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee agreed to grant outline permission to the Homes England scheme at Upton Lodge when it met this evening (July 30) at The Guildhall.

It means the principle for the development has now been established, with firmer details regarding layout and appearance to come back before the committee at a later date.

The scheme, on land neighbouring St Crispin and Upton, will include a mixed use local centre, healthcare and community facilities, a new primary school, and public open space.

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Fifteen residents had registered objections against the scheme, raising concerns over encroachment on natural green land, loss of open space, the impact on wildlife, and making traffic worse on St Crispin’s Drive.

But no members of the public turned up at the planning meeting to register their concerns, leaving developers Homes England as the sole public speakers to address councillors on the committee.

Senior project manager Simon Dougal said: “This is the last major development land under our ownership within this vicinity. It will help deliver the new homes that are needed in Northampton, including an increase in affordable housing.

“Upton Lodge should be a well designed, attractive and cohesive community that integrates with the existing developments, and will be built in a way that anticipates other new builds nearby.”

Planning officers had recommended the scheme be approved subject to a section 106 agreement that would secure 15 per cent affordable housing – significantly less than the 35 per cent the authority usually targets – highways improvements, and secured agreements on the school, community centre and healthcare.

Addressing the smaller amount of affordable housing, planning chairman Councillor Brian Oldham said: “Fifteen per cent doesn’t go well with some members I know, but we are not going to achieve utopia with this. We don’t have a five-year housing supply, which is very important.”

Councillors Jane Birch and Cathrine Russell raised concerns about the narrow roads in a previous Homes England scheme at St Crispin’s Drive, and stressed that they would like to see the roads made bigger when the scheme returns to the committee for layout permission at a later date.

The application was approved by eight votes to two, with Councillor Brian Markham and Councillor Enam Haque the two objectors.