Local Planning Issues
East Northamptonshire Local Plan
We recently submitted our response to the final round of consultation.
Two applications for housing, one for 69 and one for 74 houses, have been refused. Both are contrary to the Core Strategy and Local Plan.
The Blakesley Hill application has now gone to appeal.
An Outline application for a large scale employment park off Tiffield Lane alongside the A43 approach to Towcester has been submitted. Although this is included as an allocated site in the Local Plan, the application does not follow the site specific policies and could be considered as overdevelopment of the site with detrimental impacts on Easton Neston Park. An objection has been lodged and some modifications have been made to the original application. A decision is awaited although it is recommended for grant.
The Peterborough Diocese has informed Titchmarsh Parish Council of their intention to market 114 acres of Glebe Land for employment use despite an impact assessment.
An application for housing development impacting on the setting of heritage assets and the interface with the open countryside, previously refused, has been further modified, and a decision is awaited.
A possible extension of the Sustainable Urban Extension to the south has now been included in the Local Plan to provide additional housing to compensate for shortfalls in Rushden and Irthlingborough. This site was chosen in preference to a site next to Rushden Lakes which Natural England opposed.
An application to build a garden village of 1500 houses on the former Deenethorpe Airfield to be known as Tresham Garden Village is expected later this year.
A decision is awaited on an application to build 450 houses on land off Halse Road, Brackley. This is not allocated in the Development Plan and represents development into the open countryside.
A decision is awaited on an application to develop land off Weekley Wood Lane, Kettering for employment. Although allocated in the Development Plan, the proposed development is heavily weighted in favour of warehousing rather than less impacting smaller scale employment uses. The current significant public reaction sadly highlights lack of engagement at the Development Plan stage.
Regional Planning Issues
The government’s proposal to create a so-called Oxford-Cambridge Arc came as a shock to the counties affected and resulted in the formation of a CPRE group comprising Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire to protect those counties from the implicit threats to their countryside. The scale of the proposed development, most of it on greenfield land, was mind-blowing and the absence of democratic accountability quite appalling.
The project was paused in March 2020, thanks in part to the opposition of CPRE and like-minded organisations. Recently the government announced the cancellation of the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway after a cost-benefit analysis demonstrated that it was not viable.
Time will tell whether this project still has legs. You can find out more at www.challengethearc.co.uk
National Planning Issues
In August 2020 the government published a white paper Planning for the Future and entered into a consultation process. CPRE was keen to produce a OneCPRE response to the White Paper and engaged its branches, including CPRE Northamptonshire, in the process. Links to CPRE’s response and the White Paper itself are set out below.
Briefly, CPRE believes that Planning for the Future will seriously weaken local democracy and the scope for public input in planning matters. The White Paper proposes that land in England be divided into three zones - ‘growth’, ‘renewal’ and ‘protected’ - and only in the protected zone would the existing system of planning applications for specific schemes remain.
In CPRE’s view the White Paper does not place enough emphasis on the use of brownfield sites over greenfield, nor does it sufficiently recognise the chronic need for affordable housing. CPRE welcomes many of the White Paper proposals on design, but for these to be effective the government needs to do further work to uphold good design through necessary benchmarks, particularly for energy efficiency, internal space standards, and walking and cycling access.
Since our response the government has accepted the need to change those aspects of the White Paper relating to affordable housing. Lobbying can make a difference!