Residents’ groups claim two thirds of new homes planned for Northampton are not needed

editorial image

Up to two thirds of the homes planned for Northampton by 2029 are not needed because a raft of population reports are years out-of-date, residents’ groups have claimed.

Housing action groups made the claim ahead of a planning inspector’s public meeting at Franklin’s Gardens next week, where he will hear evidence on the soundness of the housing joint core strategy for the town.

Great Houghton Action Group has spent years analysing the housing plans and said the given figure of homes needed had been completely outstripped by events in the town and the true figure was about a third smaller.

They pointed out that Office of National Statistics data population predictions had turned out to be over-optimistic every year since 2009.

However the estimates of houses that needed to be built in each particular year were getting smaller, it said.

Peter Hawkins, of Great Houghton Action Group, said: “There are big flaws in the official figures that this housing strategy relies on.

“For example, if we followed the official predictions, by 2012 we would have already built 2,500 too many homes.

“How can we start approving future homes when official predictions are that the numbers are going to be wrong by thousands?”

Campaigners said the housing strategy had made three key mistakes and are urging people to contact their MPs and councillors to ask them to object at the Franklin’s Gardens hearing.

They said the strategy overestimated population growth, had wrongly predicted that the size of the average household would decrease, and has wrongly included population growth from other local authority areas into Northampton.

The public hearings run from March 18. Among those against will be Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council.