The big applications granted planning permission in Northampton this week

The Starbucks drive-thru and the demolition of garages in Keswick Drive were amongst the decisions given planning approval this week
The Starbucks drive-thru and the demolition of garages in Keswick Drive were amongst the decisions given planning approval this week

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 (March 19), and approved all 17 of the applications it heard. Here’s a rundown of their decisions.

APPROVED: Change of use from house to House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for three occupants at 7 Victoria Promenade.

The opening application of the evening was quickly voted through by the planning committee.

APPROVED: Drive-thru Starbucks coffee shop with associated car parking at Morrisons supermarket, Kettering Road.

The first of the ‘contentious’ applications, a Starbucks drive-thru in the Morrisons car park, was approved. A number of residents joined Councillor Mike Hallam in objecting to the scheme on traffic grounds.

It comes just months after a McDonald’s drive-thru was approved by the committee in the same car park, and for which building work started a day prior to this planning hearing.

Councillor Hallam said: "The cumulative impact of the McDonald's and the new housing development coming at Parklands Middle School make approving this Starbucks incomprehensible. People in my community don't want this and the people who will get caught up in the traffic don't want it either."

But Gary Swarbrick, acting on behalf of applicants Morrisons, says: "Clearly Morrisons would not propose an application that would be detrimental to our own car park. This will generate 20 jobs, it's a sustainable development that will enhance the offer for shoppers and residents."

It was a tight vote in the end, but the application was passed by four votes to three. Read more about the decision here.

APPROVED: Two storey and single-storey rear extension, and to convert a building into four residential units at 186 St James Park Road.

Councillors had no objection to this scheme and quickly granted planning permission.

APPROVED: Change of use from care home to supported living accommodation comprising 14 apartments at Kingsley Nursing Home, Kingsley Road.

The application proposed to convert the nursing home, which closed for a second time last year, into 14 flats for supported living accommodation for vulnerable adults with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

Two letters of objection had been received regarding noise. Neighbours say they already hear fire alarms, banging doors, and shouting from neighbours in the house and garden and were concerned this would increase.

Councillor Jane Birch had originally raised concerns but says complaints about sound had been dealt with professionally by the applicant. She said she would now be happy to see the application go ahead.

Read more about the context surrounding the closure of this nursing home, and the new proposals, here.

REMAINING HMO APPLICATIONS

The committee then swiftly granted planning permission for three new HMOs. These were:

Change of use from house to House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for four occupants at 11 Clarke Road.

Change of use from House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for five occupants to HMO for six occupants at 169 Adnitt Road.

Change of use from House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for four occupants to HMO for five occupants, with single-storey rear extension, at 6 Holly Road.

NORTHAMPTON PARTNERSHIP HOMES APPLICATIONS

The remainder of the meeting focused on 10 applications from Northampton Partnership Homes (NPH), most of which were to knock down residential garages and build new homes.

Matthew Berry and Nicky McKenzie, both representing NPH, said all the applications needed to be taken in the context that they formed part of a scheme to create 200 new homes in the town.

Most of the applications went unchallenged, but two were met with fierce opposition from residents and were discussed first.

APPROVED: Demolition of 20 garages on Keswick Drive to build two new homes

More than 165 residents signed a petition to save the Keswick Drive garages, but their appeal was not enough in the end.

Residents Ann Brooks and John Connolly were joined by ward councillor Paul Joyce in attempting to persuade the committee to keep the garages.

But in the end, the committee could find no planning grounds on which to refuse the application.

You can read about the decision in more detail here.

APPROVED: Demolition of 10 domestic garages and construction of one new dwelling with car parking spaces at Maidencastle.

The last remaining residents in the public gallery for the evening contested this application as well. One neighbour said their light would be blocked, and it will make it difficult for emergency service vehicles to access their home. They also argued there would be a reduction in parking spaces on site – and there was already a shortfall of parking spaces in the area.

But councillors again felt there was no planning justification on which the application could be refused, and again highlighted the importance of replenishing the housing stock.

REMAINING NPH APPLICATIONS

The remaining eight applications from NPH were unchallenged by members of the public, and were all approved by the committee. They were:

Demolition of 34 garages and construction of three new dwellings at Gloucester Avenue.

Demolition of two garage blocks and construction of one new dwelling to north-west of 40 Tyes Court, and formation of a parking area to south-west of 37-40 Tyes Court.

Demolition of eight domestic garages and construction of two new dwellings at land to the rear of 33 Southwood Hill.

Development of six new dwellings with associated parking at the lock-up garages at Swale Drive.

Installation of hydraulic car park barrier to the existing car park at Caledonian House in Argyle Street.

Demolition of three domestic garages and construction of one dwelling and parking at Maidencastle.

Demolition of six garages and erection of two new dwellings and parking at the lock-up garages at Smyth Court.

Alterations to the design of two-storey extension previously approved at 10 Toms Close. Includes change in ground floor UPVC door from double to single door, insertion of an obscured, top opening window to the first-floor side elevation and a change in dimensions.