A 525-home development between Brackmills and Hardingstone has been given outline planning permission by councillors.
Hundreds of homes will now be built to the south of the industrial estate with the land divided into two parcels by The Green, a minor single track road leading to Great Houghton.
The northern section of the site sits within Northampton Borough while the other sits in South Northamptonshire. NBC approved its part of the scheme last night (November 19), amounting to 115 homes, which was submitted by Martin Grant Homes Ltd & Harcourt Developments Ltd. The borough also decided not to raise any objections to the rest of the scheme that will be determined by SNC.
The planning committee meeting at The Guildhall was packed to the rafters, with Councillor Phil Larratt the first of four public speakers. He was speaking on behalf of ward councillor Penny Flavell and said the concerns of residents in Great Houghton were being ‘ignored’.
He said that developer funds to improve nearby infrastructure, known as section 106 funds, were being directed towards Wooldale Road in Wootton where there was no need. He told the committee that the S106 funds should be used in Great Houghton where ‘the real issues are’ and suggested putting in a weight restriction for vehicles going through the village.
Councillor Perry Thomas, from Hardingstone Parish Council, also spoke out against the application on traffic grounds. He said: “Newport Pagnell Road is at peak capacity and is thoroughly inadequate to cope with the extra traffic. The A45 is subject to a lot of accidents and more recently flooding. Can the emergency services cover all these new developments as well? Can any reassurance be given to Brackmills employees who struggle to get to and from work in a reasonable time?”
And Thomas Bowler, chairman of Great Houghton Parish Council, added: “The village was established long before the motorcar. It has become a rush hour rat run. The High Street was not meant to take more than a horse and cart.
“At present the major routes are frequently gridlocked as a direct result of extensive developments nearby.”
But Rob Barber, the planning consultant and agent for the applicant, told councillors: “We have worked considerably with officers to comply and also ensure that off-site facilities are delivered such as highways contributions.
“This will make a vital contribution to the council’s housing requirements. Residents will also enjoy the benefits of open green space.”
Committee member Cllr Brian Markham questioned him as to why the level of affordable housing only stood at 13 per cent, way below the council’s target of 35 per cent.
Mr Barber replied: “There are a number of significant costs with this development. Off-site highways is a substantial burden on the viability of the scheme.”
As councillors debated the application, planning committee chairman Cllr Brian Oldham said he could see no ‘justifiable reason’ why they should reject it.
And Cllr Arthur McCutcheon was ‘unimpressed’ with the amount of affordable housing and wanted to see more social rents on the site, but had no qualms with areas being ‘rat runs’ saying it was ‘part of urbanisation’.
The scheme was eventually approved by seven votes to one, with Councillor Markham the only member to vote against. The committee did however to write to the county council’s highways team to ask them to look at a potential weight restriction on traffic through Great Houghton.
With approval, the principal of the development has now been established. A second reserved matters application will come at a later date dealing with the design and layout of the homes.