Morrisons car park ‘becoming a retail park’ bemoans Northampton councillor after latest planning approval

The car store will be built in the Morrisons car park at Spinney Hill
The car store will be built in the Morrisons car park at Spinney Hill

A Morrisons car park in Northampton is being turned into a new retail park ‘by stealth’ after the planning approval of a new car store.

That is the verdict of Parklands ward councillor Mike Hallam, after a new prefabricated car store was given planning permission by Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday evening (September 3) at The Guildhall.

The application was approved, and is the third application in little over a year for the car park at the Morrisons store on Kettering Road in Spinney Hill. A McDonald’s and Starbucks drive-thru have also been recent additions.

Councillor Hallam, a Conservative who is also cabinet member for the environment, has spoken out against all three new additions. He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “This is effectively developing by stealth a mini retail park. So you have a retail offering in a grocery store and supermarket, McDonald’s and Starbucks, and now a new car facility. It sounds awfully like Riverside doesn’t it?

“I would sincerely hope now that there’s not a fourth application coming down the track, because we’ve just had three in quick succession. The traffic we have can’t cope with any more.”

The disappointment felt by the councillors and a number of residents was tempered slightly however through a condition set by the council which means the pre-fabricated car store – which would offer somewhere for customers to come in and have their car valued – must be removed by September 2022. The planning committee said this decision was ‘in the interests of visual amenity’.

Four parking spaces will be lost as a result of the car store being built, which will open between the hours of 8am-10pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and from 10am-4pm on Sunday.

A planning statement by the Planning and Design Group (PDG) on behalf of Morrisons stated: “The offer of car valuation, sales and collection services on site would supplement the existing Morrisons retail offer. It will encourage visitors of the supermarket and ‘Car Store’ to use both facilities.”

Speaking following the decision to grant permission, a Morrisons spokesman said: "We welcome the decision made by Northampton Borough Council. We hope the unit will become a useful service to our customers. And we look forward to future support with more initiatives, such as the introduction of electric vehicle charging points.”