Plans to build 2,300 new homes on green space near Hardingstone and Collingtree have been labelled ‘insanity’ by villagers, as they backed a Northampton Borough Council objection to the scheme.
The authority voted unanimously in favour of lodging a formal objection to policies N5 and N6 of the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy at last night’s full council meeting.
The major planning blueprint, which began to be formed in 2007, shows which areas are suitable for housing expansion in the west of the county and was ratified in December.
But villagers in Collingtree and Hardingstone have strongly objected to the strategy since it first emerged – with 1,500 signing a petition against building on the green areas between the villages.
Last night, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Duston), cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said the council would throw its weight behind efforts to get the strategy amended.
He said: “Quite clearly Collingtree is not sustainable, in terms of educational provision, pollution, flooding, you name it.
“Anyone who has experienced the traffic infrastructure in that bottom right hand corner of Northampton knows that the traffic really is creeping and beginning to effect the economy of Brackmills businesses.”
Several Collingtree and Hardingstone residents spoke during the meeting to commend the council on its objection.
In relation to the 1,000 homes plan at Collingtree, considered as a ‘sustainable urban extension’ in the strategy, Rod Sellers said: “The same basic issues about this have been raised time and time again. There are few economic benefits.
“You could not find a site more likely to encourage the use of a car – it’s hemmed in on all sides.”
Housing developers Bovis, has already submitted plans to build 1,000 homes on the Collingtree site.
But the council also objected to what the authority has called the “limited provision for a north-west bypass,” set out in policy T7 of the Joint Core strategy.
The proposed plan would only see a single carriageway road start from New Sandy Lane, but stop less than two miles away near the Windhover pub in Chapel Brampton.
Councillor Hadland said: “Who in their right mind would propose building a bypass starting in the middle of the proposed route.
“It’s effectively a road from nowhere to nowhere.”
Councillor Hadland said the council could support the rest of the joint core strategy providing the Collingtree and Hardingstone sites were removed and the bypass route amended.
So lets see what the inspector said last year in his binding report on Collingtree.
Concerns over potential traffic problems, particularly on Rowtree Road, are understandable with a scheme of this scale. However, funds from the development will be provided to deliver local road and bus service improvements, as well as towards the programmed works on the Wootton Interchange as part of the NGMS (GLD 24). Together with other measures envisaged under other plan policies to help achieve “modal shift”, these should be sufficient to deliver a suitably integrated transport network to satisfactorily serve the site for the scale of development planned, albeit the overall targets are acknowledged to be challenging.
On flooding he said it was acceptable (Northampton officers did not even raise his as a major concern in their report ,nor education provision,
As the inspector concluded
In short, this is a suitably located and well contained site that is physically capable of delivering a SUE, starting in the first part of the plan period.Subject to appropriate detailed design and layout, it should relate well to the existing housing nearby in visual and physical terms and provide positive impacts overall, as noted in the SA, including importantly in respect of local flood risks.
What a joke why have up to date local plans if cllrs pander to localised objections and ignore independent reports about whether these have weight, This case will go to appeal, costs will be awarded and the possibly the district auditor will seek to recover costs from cllrs. This is precisely one of the cases of unreasonable behaviour in the costs circular.