Save Towcester Now gets 800 signatures in just one week to fight 'massive' warehouse development

Opposition to the proposal even reaches Westminster

By Max Pearson
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 11:09 am
In its current form, a single warehouse would dwarf Towcester's town hall
In its current form, a single warehouse would dwarf Towcester's town hall

A petition by the Save Towcester Now Campaign has reached 800 signatures to push back against what they call a 'massive' warehouse development in the area.

The numbers have been achieved just a week after the campaign launched on Monday, December 13.

Campaigners have been stirred by a series of intended developments, which would see four 'giant' warehouses being built in and around the historic town of Towcester.

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The first of the developments, a 76 acre, 80ft high DHL warehouse site next to The Bell Plantation on the A5, is due to go before West Northamptonshire Council Planning in February 2022.

Others are planned around the A43/A5 roundabout and Tiffield, spanning 85 acres and standing up to 78ft high, between the A43/A5 roundabout and the Towcester Rugby Club,11 acres and up to 11 metres, and above the A43/Whittlebury junction, 31 acres and up to 49 ft high, plus land elevation.

Together, all four developments will total four million square feet of mainly warehouses, many of them up to 40 percent higher than industry average.

Save Towcester Now calculate that this could generate up to 10,000 extra traffic movements each day in and around an 'already overcrowded' Towcester road network.

Louise Croft, co-founder of Save Towcester Now, said: "These warehouses belong by the motorways, not on the edge of a historic town.

"The traffic chaos, 24-hour air, noise and light pollution in over four million square feet of industrial development up to 82ft (25 metres) in height will impact on our local environment, health, quality of life & destroy the character of Towcester forever."

The founder also pushed back against claims that the new development will create 2,800 jobs for Towcester and surrounding areas, citing just 160 people on the Jobseekers register in the town, possibly meaning people will need 'bussing in' from elsewhere.

Towcester Town Council recently opposed the proposal and several other parish councils including Whittlebury, Tiffield, Roade, Litchborough and Pattishall have all written or will be writing to West Northamptonshire Planning to voice their concerns.

Isla Whitcroft, campaign manager of Save Towcester Now, added: "Had these four developments been submitted for planning as one, then it would have almost certainly triggered a review at national government level with widely publicised consultations.

"Instead, possibly because of Covid, the public consultation was limited and inadequate and as result the developments have stayed ‘under the radar’.

"It is extraordinary how many people in Towcester have simply no idea that these warehouse developments are being planned and are horrified when they hear the facts.

"However, collectively we can make a difference. There are some very simple but effective steps which every resident of South Northants can take to ensure that these developments do not go ahead in their current form."

The campaign says that the proposals are 'in direct contradiction to the South Northants Local Plan', which was approved by their Council in July 2020.

It states that developments should 'conserve the tranquillity of the natural and built environment in South Northamptonshire through high quality design that is respectful to heritage assets and their settings, bio-diversity and the environmental character of the locality and the surrounding landscapes.'

Even Dame Andrea Leadsom, MP for Northampton South has weighed in against the proposals.

The MP said: "Hundreds of constituents have written to me with their grave concerns about the extent of development in our area, particularly of industrial units and logistics warehousing.

"Towcester is a historic town, full of character and its fantastic community spirit must be protected."

Anyone who would like to learn more about the campaign can visit their website or sign their petition.