Public meeting cancelled as housing planners say ‘nothing important to discuss’ over Northampton growth plans

Guildhall steps, protest by anti Buckton Fields campaigners. ENGNNL00120111018204046
Guildhall steps, protest by anti Buckton Fields campaigners. ENGNNL00120111018204046

Planners responsible for placing 26,000 homes in Northampton, and easing the resultant traffic congestion, have cancelled a public meeting, saying there was “little or no business of importance” to discuss.

Members of the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (JPU) gave the emailed reply to residents’ action groups, who said they have had four out of seven meetings cancelled in the last 12 months.

It comes only a fortnight after a public examination of massive housing plans which featured four days of evidence, with the planning inspector sitting from 9.30am to 5.30pm each day.

Patrick Cross, chairman of Whitehills and Spring Park Residents’ Association (WASPRA), said: “I can’t believe they can say there’s nothing to talk about when there’s clearly so much at stake for the whole town.

“Lots of issues are still contentious, from the warehouse units at junction 16 of the M1 to how one in six motorists will be expected to walk or cycle to work.

“What a ridiculous reason to give.”

One email from Councillor Chris Over to Mr Cross, giving reasons for the cancellation of the April 7 meeting, said: “It was my understanding that we had little or no business of importance to discuss.”

Another, from David Atkinson head of the JPU: “On this occasion, as on occasions in the past, it was noted that there is insufficient business on the agenda for the Committee to consider.

“In the interests of making best and most effective use of time, the chairman, in consultation with his partnership colleagues, including councillors, decided that cancelling this meeting was the most appropriate course of action. This has now been done.”