Warning that street protests will follow Northampton’s housing plans announcement

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OPPONENTS to plans to build seven large new housing estates around the edges of Northampton have warned the proposals will lead to ‘protests in the streets’ by angry residents.

Yesterday, the Chron revealed the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit’s (JPU) plans to allow 11,000 new houses to be built in Northampton between now and 2026.

The JPU has now revealed the exact spots where it is planned those houses will go.

The plans include potential development sites which are already well known, such as Buckton Fields near Whitehills, Dallington Heath near Kings Heath, and land near Collingtree, but they also include a number of new locations such as land off Sandy Lane, near New Duston, and an area between Wootton and Hardingstone.

Roger Kingston from the Northants Residents’ Alliance, which opposes any overdevelopment of the area, said many of the development sites would become the ‘Grange Parks of the future’, as they would be populated by people who live near Northampton but commute to work and shop outside the town.

He said: “It seems they just want to wrap all this development around the edges of Northampton, but these areas will become the new Grange Parks.

“And I don’t think it’s right to build what is effectively a new town around the edges of an existing town.”

The plans published by the JPU yesterday showed where 21,500 new houses should be built in Northampton, Daventry and Towcester over the next 25 years.

With plans for 11,000 homes, the vast majority of the new houses are on the outskirts of Northampton, but Daventry would also take 2,500, Towcester would take a further 2,500 and Brackley would have 1,760.

The plans replaced ones which were released in 2009 and met with a massive public backlash because they included plans to build new houses around a number of villages in the county.

But opponents to the new plans have criticised the fact the houses now appear to have been ‘dumped’ on the edges of Northampton and questioned whether they needed to be built at all.

Mr Kingston said: “Places like Moulton and Kingsthorpe already have terrible traffic problems, and with these plans it looks like they’re going to get worse.

“And I still don’t understand the logic behind the need for all these houses.

“There are hundreds of houses for sale in the town and I can barely pick up the Chron sometimes for the weight of the property supplement.

“I suspect the truth of the matter is we’re still being used as the overspill area for people who really want to live in London.”

Announcing the plans yesterday, the leaders of the JPU, which is made up of members of councils in Northampton, Daventry and Towcester, pledged no development would be carried out without improvements to such infrastructure as roads, schools and shops.

But Mr Kingston said he believed many people who lived near the proposed development sites would consider them a step too far.

He said: “There are going to be a lot of people who are very upset about this and I’m sure as it goes on, they will take to the streets to let people know they don’t like it.

“We’re going to have to fight this all the way, because unless we attack the politicians who are planning this, it will happen, and it’s horrible what they’re thinking of doing to Northampton.”

Opposition to the suggested development sites has also come from a number of politicians who represent the areas where new houses could be built.

The deputy leader of the opposition on Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Phil Larratt (Con, East Hunsbury) represents an area of Collingtree which has been earmarked for 1,000 new houses.

He said: “If there is to be development in that area of Collingtree, the big question is exactly how many houses there will be.

“We certainly don’t want any more traffic pushed through East Hunsbury or Collingtree because the roads are already badly congested.”

Borough council member, Councillor Michael Hill (Con, Nene Valley), who represents Wootton and Hardingstone, where it is planned to build a further 1,000 houses, added: “I think people will be strongly against this, and I’ve always said I’ll not support any unsuitable form of development.

“The concern is not so much that the plan would join up Wootton and Hardingstone, but that the considerable expansion of Hardingstone would make the village lose its identity and its village feel.”

The figures published by the JPU yesterday suggest a total of 50,150 houses needed to be built in the Northampton, Daventry and Towcester area between 2001 and 2026.

The number is a significant reduction from the 2009 plan, when it was suggested a total of 62,125 new homes were needed.

Of the 50,150 which are now planned for the area, a total of 15,500 have already been built and planning permission has already been granted for more than 13,000 more.

The number of houses already built or in the pipeline meant the JPU has had to find sites for the remaining 21,500 new properties.

The leader of the JPU, Councillor Chris Millar (Con, West Haddon & Guilsborough) said: “Putting these plans together has been a long journey.

“We recognise the plans we have will have to be delivered, but we want sustainable communities, so the housing growth has to be supported by the new infrastructure we will also need.

“And without a plan like this, we would be subject to speculative planning applications by developers, so it’s very important we have a plan in place.”

The expansion plans are due to be discussed by members of the JPU on January 31.

It is expected that they will then be put out for public consultation by the group between February and March.

The West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (JPU) has identified seven possible expansion sites for houses around the edge of Northampton.

If the plans go ahead, the new homes would be built between now and 2026.

In total, the seven sites would accommodate about 11,000 new houses.

The sites are:

South of Brackmills:

An area of land off Newport Pagnell Road. The development of 1,000 new houses on the site would link up the villages of Wootton and Hardingstone.

Northampton South:

The expansion of Collingtree would see the creation of 1,000 new houses.

Northampton West.

An area off Sandy Lane in New Duston would see 1,500 new houses built. Despite being on the edge of Northampton, almost half the site is officially classed as being in Daventry.

Northampton North:

An area of land on Kettering Road between Moulton and Overstone where 2,000 new houses would be built. Despite being on the edge of Northampton, the site is officially classed as being in Daventry.

Dallington Heath:

The area close to Kings Heath has been earmarked for development for several decades. The latest plans would see the development of 3,500 houses.

Sections of the site are owned by Northampton Borough Council and the Althorp Estate.

North of Whitehills:

The area of land above Whitehills, which is known as Buckton Fields, has been earmarked for development for some time.

The latest plans say 1,000 houses should be built there.

Despite being on the edge of Northampton, the site is officially classed as being in Daventry.

Upton:

The site on the west of Northampton is an extension to the new village of Upton.

The JPU has said a further 1,000 houses could be built on the site.