Like the majority of market towns across Britain, Oundle has been under much pressure to increase its housing capacity.
Speaking at a public event in October, the Chief Executive of English Heritage, Simon Thurley, predicted ‘draconian measures’ are to be employed to force market towns to double or treble in size. Mr Thurley warned that the next election would lead to an acceleration in the expansion of market towns, regardless of the political party in charge.
Recently, Oundle has been the subject of three housing plan applications, which have all been met with a degree of resistance by residents.
A long-running proposal for a housing development between St Christopher’s Drive and Herne Road in Oundle recently had its appeal rejected by an Inspector of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The appeal was submitted after the initial planning application had been refused.
Persimmon Homes had proposed a residential development of up to 95 houses; a plan that had run up against long-running opposition by an organised group of residents in Oundle. The developers appealed the rejection, arguing that the council could not demonstrate five years deliverable supply of housing land; this is a requirement of national planning policy.
The appeal, however, was dismissed on the grounds that it conflicted with the Rural North, Oundle and Thrapston Plan (RNOTP). Moreover, it was demonstrated that East Northamptonshire Council has a current housing land supply for 3,865 dwellings, which equates to nine year’s worth.
The leader of the Council, Steven North said: ‘We’re pleased with the decision and are confident that this should reduce further risks of further speculative applications for development schemes on unallocated ‘greenfield’ sites throughout the district.’
In a development proposal at the other end of town, in August of this year C & G Properties sent out letters to the residents of Cotterstock Road and St Peter’s Road informing them of their intention to submit housing development plans.
The development would include up to 80 new homes and a 60 bed care home on the site bounded by farmland, the waste water treatment works and the River Nene.
The benefits of the proposal include ‘affordable housing to meet needs of local community’. It reassures residents that the development would be ‘sustainable and take account of all identified environmental constraints’.
Concerns, however, have been raised amongst the neighbouring residents about the proposed development. There is a worry that the traffic being directed past Middle School would add to the already dense congestion and pose a risk to the children entering and leaving the school.
Moreover, the fact that the development would be highly visible to traffic approaching town from the A605 has aroused concerns.
Neighbouring resident, David Webb said: ‘Whilst we note that at present this just an illustrative plan showing the areas being considered for development, we do not feel that this area is the most suitable area of the town for development, and believe that this will become apparent once the Neighbourhood Plan has been completed and approved by the town.’
At a more advanced stage in their housing development plans, Charles Church East Midlands (part of the Persimmon Group) has submitted plans to further extend its residential development in
The Peterborough-based house builder plans to build a mixture of 43 luxury and 19 affordable two, three and four bedroom homes on Oundle School Playing Field, a 6.2 acre site on Glapthorn Road.
Objections raised by residents and by Oundle Town Council flag up concerns about drainage on the site, traffic congestion on Glapthorn Road, the density of housing and the increased pressure on local services.
The application was reported to the ENC Development Control Committee in early November; a determination deadline has been set for 17 December.
By Isabella Bradstock