New apartments given green light in Spinney Hill despite locals’ traffic concerns

Highfield House (top) is to be converted into apartments
Highfield House (top) is to be converted into apartments

A large home in Spinney Hill will be converted into 10 apartments and four new homes after councillors gave it planning permission.

Highfield House, a three-storey building on Kettering Road opposite the Spinney Hill pub, will be converted into six apartments. The plans will also see the demolition of the current garage to be replaced by an extension for four further apartments.

The scheme, submitted by Northampton based Snedker and Smith Developments, will also see a further four homes – each of which will be two-storey with three bedrooms – built on land at the back of the existing house.

There was a strong public turnout from neighbours as Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee met on Tuesday evening (November 19) to discuss the application.

Also speaking out against the application was Conservative ward councillor Mike Hallam, who has argued against a number of recent applications in the area including the new McDonald’s and Starbucks drive-thrus and a new car store in the Morrisons car park.

Addressing the committee, he said: “I’m becoming something of a regular feature at every planning meeting you have.

“All of the applications I have spoken out against have one core thread, which is the concern over the level of traffic in that area. Residents said the traffic couldn’t get worse, but since that McDonald’s opened, my God has it got worse.

“This is not a small development. We’re going from one or maybe two cars to potentially 20 cars on a section of road that is regularly gridlocked.”

A next-door neighbour, who has lived in the home with his family for 30 years, also told councillors that their property would be overlooked and they would have ‘no privacy whatsoever’. He added that the homes would add ‘more noise, more pollution and more traffic’.

Another nearby resident called for construction vehicles to be banned from accessing the site from Mountfield Road if planning permission was granted. He accused the developers of a ‘cavalier approach’ during the clearance of the site.

But Roy Hammond, on behalf of the applicants, said the site was in ‘a highly sustainable location’.

He added: “The design has been carefully considered with the character of the area and will provide an attractive and safe environment for the future occupiers.”

And Ben Snedker, one of the two directors of Snedker and Smith, told councillors: “This will be an investment in local infrastructure, traders and suppliers. We will also be ensuring that the construction phase is carried out in a manner that is acceptable.”

Members of the committee debated the application, with Cllr Arthur McCutcheon saying it was a ‘good use’ of a site that is too small for a care home but too large for a single use home.

But Cllr Jamie Lane was not happy with the access onto Mountfield Rd and said the application was ‘out of keeping’ with the surrounding area.

Councillor Lane was the only councillor to object, as the remaining seven members of the committee voted to approve planning permission.