Planning Objection – Is This the Start of the People Backlash?
The residents of Brixworth may well be just the start of objections to planning permission being given for housing developments on green field sites and when you consider that this objection is against 150 homes and the scale of the developments around Collingtree and Wotton which are almost 2000 the scale of protests will undoubtedly increase.
What is surprising is the appearance being given by local Conservative MP’s that they support objections to the developments when it is their Government supported by the Liberal Democrats who voted for the changes in planning legislation that has made these kinds of housing development easier to implement.
It isn’t fair or reasonable to blame the local councillors on the planning committees who have to comply with the legislation and make decisions based on the submission and evidence put before them or face an expansive challenge to their decisions which will have to be found from the local taxpayers.
Of course they can and should vote against proposals if there is sufficient cause to do so and whilst the resignation of a member of the planning committee who approved the Brixworth development demonstrates a level of support for the residents it isn’t clear whether the resignation was as a Councillor or just standing down from the committee which is less impressive.
The National Planning Policy Framework on which the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy is based is fundamentally flawed in that it promotes decision-making in favour of the development and the developer.
It is why as I have argued on many occasions the people of Northampton, Daventry and South Northants should really get involved with the consultation that is currently being carried out and make sure their voice is heard by the District Councils responsible for the planning process.
Of course Northampton has to develop and expand with a need for tens of thousands of new homes to meet not only the natural growth of the current population but also for those new residents who are expected to come and live and work in Northampton as businesses locate to the SEMLEP Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.
It has been known for many years by politicians of all parties that the large-scale housing development across Northampton such as those in Collingtree, Wotton and the Hunsbury will be going ahead if the demand is to be met and people will now see any support from local politicians or MP’s as no more than a cynical electioneering policy.
Many may already be remembering promises made in the past and asking “have we been misled”.
As the larger scale housing developments are brought forward for the Northampton Borough Council planning committee to decide on it may well be that the Guildhall won’t be big enough to host the number of protesters who will want to attend and be heard.
It is perhaps time to be truthful to the residents in the areas where major development are proposed and explain why the Joint Core Strategy will be approved by the Borough Council administration and that Councillors whatever their statements now or in the past will vote for it to go ahead.