Agenda item

N/2019/0840 - The construction of new roads (Northampton North West Relief Road) on land South of the A5199 Northampton Road between the Brampton Heath Golf Centre and the River Nene, including two new roundabouts and links bridging over the River Nene to Brampton Land and over the Northampton loop of the West Coast mainline to connect with the Dallington Grange development. Land off A5199, Northampton Road


The Development Management Team Leader submitted a report to the Committee. Members’ attention was drawn to the addendum which contained additional comments from a 3rd party and Northamptonshire Badger Group; they had been forwarded to NCC for consideration. The Committee were informed that the scheme had been amended slightly from a previous application that it was consulted on in December 2019; the boundaries of the site to the south-west and north-east had been expanded. To the west of the site, where several smaller drainage ponds had been proposed, now one large pond was proposed along with a raised embankment to the south of the pond. Two new roundabouts were proposed at Sandy Lane and Brampton Lane; the Sandy Lane roundabout was approximately 40m east compared to the previous application and both roundabouts had been redesigned to increase the flow of traffic. Two bridges were proposed over the railway line and the River Nene. The Committee heard that the NPPF stated that a development should only be refused on highway grounds if it would have an unacceptable highway safety impact or have a severe impact on road networks. A revised transport assessment had been submitted based on updated modelling details which advised that regarding the North West Relief Road (NWRR), there would be a reduced volume of traffic by 2031 (on junctions listed in paragraph 7.6 of the report). Several offsite mitigation measures were proposed (listed at paragraph 7.7 of the report). The transport assessment acknowledged that there could be junctions that may be adversely affected; whilst no mitigation was proposed at this stage, potential mitigation measures could be considered in the future. In respect of air quality, Environmental Health had been consulted directly by NCC who were in the process of reviewing the information, however, their initial comment was that the submitted modelling did appear to be acceptable; whilst there would be initial exceedances in air quality levels, by approximately 2029 there would be no exceedances.  Ecology reports had identified several species on the site including bats, badgers, barn owls and otters The NCC Ecologist has been consulted by the County and will respond directly to them in respect of ecology matters and appropriate mitigation.   In terms of drainage, the relevant bodies had been consulted directly by NCC and information would be reviewed to ensure there was no increased flood risk.


Sam Rumens, County Councillor for Kingsthorpe North and representative of Whitehills and Spring Park Residents Association (WASPRA), spoke against the application and advised that the proposal would provide small improvements in places and much larger problems in others and stated that the mitigations were unrealistic. He noted that none of the junctions would become free flowing as a result of the development. He implored the Committee to object to the application in its current form, until a more ambitious plan came before them with a longer view of how it could benefit the town.


Councillor Larratt spoke against the application and stated that WASPRA had undertaken a significant amount of work alongside the Council in respect of the proposal, none of which appeared in the report. Councillor Larratt considered the proposal a bypass for the Bramptons and further stated that any problems alleviated in Northampton would simply be pushed farther down the road. And explained that residents’ views had been ignored and that it did not represent the thorough work carried out by WASPRA.


In response to questions, Councillor Larratt commented that the proposal was a poor substitute for the Northern Orbital Road which he believed to be the best solution for congestion in the town’s outskirts.


The Chair introduced Andrew Palmer and Srivani Vuppala, agents on behalf of the applicant, and invited the Committee to ask any technical questions of them. In response to a question, Mr Palmer advised that several locations were looked at regarding the Brampton Lane roundabout, but none were taken forward as preferred that avoided the roundabout being located on the disused railway line. He explained that numerous initial studies were carried out in respect of the Northern Orbital Road in previous years, but the NWRR was taken forward as a scheme after funding for the Northern Orbital Road was not forthcoming. The Committee further heard that traffic counts carried out by WASPRA and the applicant, when compared to each other, were consistent; this led to further work on the traffic assessment which was added to the transport assessment addendum and recently submitted transport assessment update. In response to a question relating to cycle routes, Ms Vuppala confirmed to the Committee that a permanent cycle route already existed along the length of the road.


Members discussed the report.




That Northampton Borough Council raise NO OBJECTION IN PRINCIPLE subject to the following:


1)    Northamptonshire County Council seeking an appropriate level of mitigation with due regard to comments received from relevant consultees and conditioning any planning permission accordingly in respect of impacts arising from the development on the local highway network including the promotion of active travel and sustainable transport modes, air quality, flood risk and drainage, biodiversity, noise, and impacts on amenity, particularly during the course of construction; and


2)    Northamptonshire County Council give due consideration to the impacts of the proposed development on the Safeguarded Former Transport Route identified in Policy C3 of the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy and Policy 30  of the emerging Northampton Local Plan Part 2, and to ensure that the development does not delay or compromise the allocation and delivery of the Northampton North Orbital Road.


3)    Northamptonshire County Council are strongly urged to promote the development of the Northampton North Orbital Route in order to achieve the highway improvements required from both schemes and maximise the highway benefits in their entirety.


Councillors Golby and King left the meeting at this juncture.


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