Agenda item

Public Participation (if any)


The following speakers addressed the Committee on item 6 – Proposed Main Modifications to the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy as Submitted.


Mr Patrick Cross on behalf of Whitehills and Spring Park Residents Association (WASPRA) referred to a planning application for dwellings on Buckton Fields in 2011, which Daventry District Council (DDC) and Northampton Borough Council (NBC) had rejected on traffic grounds.  Following receipt of a traffic consultant’s letter DDC had reversed their decision without any material changes, whilst NBC had again rejected the application.  In April 2013 WASPRA had made a submission to the Inspector voicing concerns about the inadequate provision of appropriate roads to support housing developments.  Mr Cross referred to some roads being at maximum capacity and some minor roads operating today at 47% more than projections for 2021.  He handed a report from WASPRA on this matter to the Chair and circulated a photograph to Committee members.  He believed that the minimum 20% modal shift shown in the Transport Schedule was too optimistic.  Mr Cross stated that the Joint Planning Unit (JPU) informed the Inspector at the April meeting that the M1 is really our north-west bypass, but still now publish plans for the delivery of a north-west bypass.   This, he believed, would lead to more traffic, including HGVs, in the north of Kingsthorpe.  WASPRA asked for a review of current and future traffic volumes by the appropriate authorities, including the Government, taking into account the impact of all proposed housing developments, commenting that the attractiveness of the North of Northampton for business investors and residents would be undermined if infrastructure was not provided before major house building.


Mr Michael Stead on behalf of the Friends of Boughton Area (FOBA) commented that the large scale housing development proposed to the north and west of Northampton should not be contemplated without a proper north-west bypass and comprehensive review of the traffic impact of all the projected Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs).  He stated that paragraph 162 of the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPFF) stressed the need to ensure the provision of transport infrastructure able to meet forecast demand and that the proposal for a north-west bypass or northern relief road as set out in the report would be inadequate.  He stated that the analysis and findings of WASPRA were supported which found that Boughton was being used as a “rat run” increasingly by vehicles trying to find east/west routes and to escape traffic jams on the A508.


Mr Robert Boulter on behalf of the Hunsbury and Collingtree Residents Alliance commented that the plan as a whole failed to address issues relating to the increase in car numbers, the need for a thorough assessment of flood risk for all the water courses that affect Northampton and the need for a new hospital.  He stated that the A45 was becoming too congested and that there were no plans to increase the road’s capacity and advice received suggested the road would be gridlocked within the life of the plan.  There was reference to modal shift in the plan but no indication that would occur.  He referred to the proposals for a business park which would increase traffic.  Mr Boulter referred to serious issues of viability and sustainability in respect of SUE 5.  He asked that SUE 5 be removed from the plan.


Mr John Goodall on behalf of the Nene Flood Prevention Alliance (NFPA) commented that the Alliance objected to Policy BN7 on grounds of unsustainability until specific issues and omissions had been addressed.  He stated that that there was an absence of survey information and assessments for the material consideration of flood risk and that there would be problems without strategic site information.  He stated that there was not a policy for a strategic drainage infrastructure upgrade of the 1970-1980s 50 year standard.  Mr Goodall stated that there was an issue in respect of Article 14 of the Human Rights Act regarding discrimination on defence standards for Wootton and Dallington Brooks as existing developments have at best a 1 in 50 year standard whilst new developments are being provided with an on-going 1 in 200 year standard.  He would like a legal opinion on this issue.  The NFPA requested that a decision on the plan be deferred until these issues and omissions have been addressed.


Mr Peter Hawkins on behalf of Great Houghton Action Group welcomed some of the proposed changes, such as the stronger protection for sensitive landscapes, but referred to missed opportunities to protect rural areas within the Borough of Northampton.  The Action Group had consistently argued that the target housing figures used in the plan are too high and could see the ONS population projections falling, having fallen by approximately 33% between 2011 and 2012 and the growth estimate falling from 4,700 to 3,200.  He urged the Committee to develop contingency plans for lower housing numbers at the earliest opportunity.  The Action Group welcomed the comments regarding the Brackmills Extension alternative employment site (SA46 in paragraph 9.16 of the SA Addendum Report) but asked that the bracketed clause be removed as no part of Great Houghton lay to the west of SA46.  Mr Hawkins stated that this was most probably the result of human error by the JPU’s consultants but asked that the bracketed clause be removed before the documents went out to consultation.