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 (February 19), and approved all 19 of the applications it heard. Here’s a rundown of their decisions.
NORTHAMPTON BOROUGH COUNCIL APPLICATIONS
Two applications from the borough council themselves quickly waved through. These were for the addition of bird proof netting to some steps leading to the Courtyard Cellar at Abington Museum Manor House, and updated signage of the front of Northampton Museum, on Guildhall Road.
The museum signage was given approval, but the committee agreed that the design was 'bland', and have added this comment to their decision.
Development of a storage and distribution unit at Tithe Barn
A new distribution and storage warehouse will be built on an undeveloped bit of land neighbouring the grade II listed Tithe Barns.
Councillor Brian Sergeant, Hunsbury Meadows Parish Council and more than 30 residents all objected, due to the impact on the barns, and the loss of a Victorian farmhouse that would be demolished on the site to make way for the warehouses.
Peter Bovill, from Montagu Evans, speaking on behalf of the applicants Aviva Life & Pensions (UK) said: "We're confident this can be built quickly with minimal impact on neighbours."
Councillor Matt Golby pointed out that there have been no objections from Historic England for this application. He says: "We acknowledge there are some sensitivities, but no observations from Historic England is quite telling. They are the barometer for me."
Conversion of grade II listed building into 39 flats at Dunster Street
The old Globe Leather Works building, a Grade II listed building on Dunster Street, has been vacant for years. But councillors have now given planning approval for it to be converted into 39 apartments.
Planning officer Nicky Scaife told the committee that a precedent had already been set by approval of an overall site, including the former Hawkins building, for 105 apartments. This was granted back in 2016.
However, Colin Clayson, of applicants Clayson Country Homes, says he's struggled to find a buyer for the overall site. He says: "This is the easiest part of the building to save. I've been trying to save this overall site for years, but it's been difficult."
The whole site has been delayed because the windows are seen as an important part of the heritage of the building, and a compromise on the appearance hasn't been reached for the Hawkins part. Mr Clayson says this part of the site (Globe Leather Works) will be easier.
The application was granted planning permission unanimously, subject to agreements on the window replacements.
Installation of a hydroelectric turbine at Nene White Water Centre
Councillors quickly agreed to the installation of an AquaZoom vortex hydroelectric turbine at the Nene White Water Centre.
Papers say: "The turbine structure has a basin with a single vortex turbine installed in its base that would power a generator. The water would outfall into one of the lower pools associated from the existing white water course and then flow back in the river."
Large home extension at 67 Ringway, Briar Hill
The application was very quickly approved. The homeowners were due to speak, but elected not to after neighbours decided to withdraw their objections.
Conversion of dwelling to HMO at 26 Shakespeare Road
The applicants applied for a change of use from a dwelling to a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) for four occupants.
Northamptonshire Highways registered an objection, stating: "There is no residual parking capacity on-street and the proposed development would increase demand for parking during the peak residential period."
However, parking problems are not usually accepted as sufficient grounds on which to turn these applications down. Planning chairman Councillor Brian Oldham said: "We have several applications we have refused like this one where we're waiting on the planning inspector to make their decision. Historically, to about 95 per cent, they overturn refusals based on this."
The vote was tied in the end, so as the chairman Councillor Oldham got the final say, and his vote to approve the application was the decisive one.
Conversion of dwelling to HMO at 84 Towcester Road, Far Cotton
Another HMO application was discussed, this one a change of use for five occupants.
This application was called in by ward councillor Julie Davenport over issues with parking, noise and refuse, but the applicant spoke to say that the objections were not relevant on planning grounds.
There was no objection from Northamptonshire Highways this time though, so it was approved unanimously.
Conversion of dwelling to HMO at 94 St Leonards Road, Far Cotton
The third and final HMO application was to change the dwelling for three occupants. This was also called in by Cllr Julie Davenport for similar reasons to the Towcester Road application.
But committee member Councillor Dennis Meredith questioned why Cllr Davenport was not present at the meeting to make representations on either application.
With Northamptonshire Highways offering no comment on this application either, the outcome was the same with unanimous approval.
NORTHAMPTON PARTNERSHIP HOMES APPLICATIONS
The committee determined 10 applications from Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH), and granted approval for all 10. They were:
Construction of one new bungalow with associated parking at Newby Court (Eastfield).
Demolition of nine garages and construction of two new bungalows at lock up garages in The Briars (Delapre & Briar Hill).
Demolition of domestic garages and construction of one new dwelling with associated parking at Nethermead Court (Brookside).
Demolition of three domestic garages and construction of one new build dwelling at Greatmeadow (Talavera).
Demolition of 12 domestic lock up garages and construction of two new build dwellings at Collmead Court (Talavera).
Demolition of six domestic garages and construction of two new build dwellings at Greatmeadow (Talavera).
Demolition of six garages and erection of one new build dwelling and parking at Nether Jackson Court (Talavera).
Demolition of four garages and erection of two new build dwellings and parking at Fulleburn Court (Brookside).
Demolition of eight domestic garages and construction of two new build dwellings at Greatmeadow (Talavera).
Demolition of seven domestic garages and construction of one new build bungalow, also at Greatmeadow (Talavera).