Student flats approved despite ‘parking misery’ concerns for Kingsthorpe residents

Kingsthorpe residents could suffer a parking and traffic ‘misery’ according to councillors – after plans to build student flats were approved for a second time.

By James Averill
Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 4:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 4:34 pm
The former Bective Works will be replaced by student accommodation,
The former Bective Works will be replaced by student accommodation,

Members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee had approved a scheme earlier in May this year to allow a 356-bedroom apartment complex for university students on the former Bective Works site on Bective Road.

They had approved the scheme with a planning condition enforcing a clause to be inserted in students’ tenancy agreements that banned them from bringing cars to University.

But the scheme came back before councillors on Tuesday evening (November 24) after they were told such a planning condition was illegal due to a 2017 Court of Appeal decision.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A sketch of how the flats will look.

The scheme was condemned by Conservative councillor Mary Markham and Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Sally Beardsworth.

Councillor Markham said: “I’ve opposed these plans for 11 years, but no more so than now. The impact this will have with no restrictions on bringing cars into a terraced road where people have lived their whole lives doesn’t bear thinking about.”

And Councillor Beardsworth added: “This is totally the wrong place to put this. This to me is just a money making scheme that doesn’t help the people of Kingsthorpe at all. To have no parking for 356 people is just absolutely ridiculous to even contemplate. The misery it will cause local residents is awful.”

Instead of the parking clause the county council’s highways team asked the applicants, U3 Developments Ltd, to contribute to a bike scheme in the town which it is hoped students will use instead.

The former boot factory will be converted into a student hub.

Jennifer Smith, speaking on behalf of the applicants, eased to move councillor concerns by stating that as landlords of the building their management plan would retain the clause to ban car use in their tenancy agreement, though it would be up to them to enforce it.

She also said that the applicants still believed there was a demonstrable need for student accommodation in the area, despite the University of Northampton’s move away from the Boughton Green Road site to the new Waterside campus.

The scheme will see the former Bective Works on Bective Road and Yelvertoft Road demolished. It will also utilise a partially derelict grade II listed building, the former Abraham Lee shoe factory, as a new retail and student hub unit.

The flats would be spread across six blocks, with blocks A to D forming a three-storey terrace row from Bective Road and Yelvertoft Road. Blocks E and F would form one three-storey building to the south of the existing listed building in line with Yelvertoft Road.

The application also includes a basement car park with 36 spaces, but NBC planning officers said these would be reserved for blue badge holders and staff.

As was the case earlier in the year, the scheme was somewhat reluctantly approved by the committee as there was already a previous planning consent for student accommodation on the site – established in 2016 – that would make it unlikely to justify refusal should the applicants appeal.

Councillor Brian Oldham, the chairman of the planning committee, said: “If the applicants themselves want to state that the students can’t have a car, then that is up to them. But we cannot enforce it ourselves, which is the major difference. The rest of it we approved in May. In my opinion it’s accepting a legal situation.”

The scheme passed with four votes in favour, two against and one abstention.