Councillors met this week to determine a series of planning applications in Northampton.
The borough council’s planning committee convened at The Guildhall on Tuesday evening (January 22), and here are the applications they discussed.
Outline application for 132 dwellings - Devon Way, Parklands
The most contentious application of the evening kicked this meeting off, and there was a packed public gallery and even people waiting outside the room as Parklands turned out in force.
But unfortunately for those residents, who were firmly against the application, the decision didn’t go their way.
Councillors granted outline planning consent for the site, which is the former Parklands Middle School on Devon Way.
Variation of conditions to 81 new dwellings - Birds Hill Walk, Brookside
The second application was a variation of conditions for the former Emmanuel Church Middle School site on Birds Hill Walk. The scheme was granted full planning approval in March 2018, but this application was to relocate the flats and reconfigure the parking layout.
Councillors very quickly approved the scheme.
Erection of 118 dwellings - Land west of St Crispin Drive
Taylor Wimpey was proposing to build 118 homes, open space and vehicular access to Berrywood Drive on land to the west of St Crispin Drive. The development would comprise of two to five-bedroom properties up to two-and-a-half storeys in height.
There were no objections from statutory consultees, but there had been 13 letters of objection (and one of support) from residents. Neighbours against the application feared there would be increased traffic, the loss of green fields and that local doctors and schools were already over-subscribed. The solitary neighbour in favour felt it would link up with the adjacent development cycle path and with Harpole, which would allow children to ride safely to school.
Joanne Althorpe, of agents Marrons Planning, says there is a commitment to building the affordable housing.
The scheme was unanimously approved.
Change of use from nursery and warehouse to mix nursery and children party venue - 4 Harrowden Road, Brackmills
Totstop Day Nursery owner Jenny Black says they saved the nursery a few years ago, and with it 15 jobs for staff and 45 children. They are currently at full capacity and want to expand the indoor play area.
Councillor Jane Birch says: "I think it's good to see such a place where so many people work."
The application was quickly approved unanimously.
Change of use from dwellinghouse to House in Multiple Occupation for five occupants - Whitworth Road, Northampton
In the first HMO application of the evening, councillors heard how the county council highways team, as it does with most of the new HMO applications, had raised objections.
Councillor Danielle Stone, speaking from the public gallery, says she 'strongly objects' to this application. She adds: "This area is unbalanced and we struggle for community cohesion. We are losing family homes to HMOs. It's overpopulated and residents struggle to park."
The home’s owner Christian Nammour said: "No neighbours have objected to this, and they all have our email address. We want to refurbish the house. A HMO will not produce any more waste than a family home."
The application was turned down, with the committee basing it on highways issues and parking.
Previously the council has used that reason for refusal and had decisions overturned, and head of planning Peter Baguley says that he believes a refusal 'will not be accepted' by an inspector.
Councillor Dennis Meredith says that NBC has to send a message to the inspectors that parking should be something that they consider in their decisions.
Retrospective loft conversion with dormer - 4 Harold Street, Northampton
A ‘genuine error’ meant that the owner built this loft conversion not knowing they were in a conservation area. Councillors refused the retrospective application as they felt it would set a precedent, as the dormer was out of keeping with the local area.
Other planning decisions:
Two HMO applications were approved. These were a change of use from a three-bedroom HMO to a five-bedroom HMO at 68 Charles Street, and a change of use from a dwellinghouse to a HMO for four occupants at 36 Florence Road, Abington.
There were also nine applications from Northampton Partnership Homes. All were approved by the committee.
They included the demolition of existing garages in Thirlmere Avenue in Eastfield, Old Barn Court and Tyes Court in Brookside, Southwood Hill in Castle and two sets of garages off land to the west of Ringway in the Delapre & Briar Hill ward. All the garages in each of these six applications will be replaced by two new dwellings.
The three remaining applications saw the conversion of an existing community room at St Barnabas House, on Lower Harding Street, into a residential dwelling, and the construction of car parking sites in Eastfield off of both Rosgill Place and Grange Road.