ENC draft Local Plan raises objections to housing plans

The East Northamptonshire County planning authority has submitted for consultation a new Local Plan that will have a far reaching impact on developments within Oundle, and on the Oundle Neighbourhood Plan. The Oundle Town Council have strongly objected to the ENC plan.

The ENC’s proposed new district-wide Local Plan Part 2 will replace the Rural North, Oundle and Thrapston Plan that was adopted in 2011. The new plan is currently in a consultation period that runs until 17 December. If adopted, the plan will form the basis on which decisions about future applications are made.

The plan covers a period from 2011 to 2031, and identifies a requirement for 645 new houses in Oundle. As of 2018, 384 new houses have already been completed, and 89 houses have received planning permission or commitments to grant permission. The plan identifies a requirement for “a residual” of 172 to 242 dwellings, and outlines three locations for developments where a total of 300 houses can be built to meet the “outstanding requirement during the remainder of the plan period”.

The ENC plan allocates 70 dwellings to a site on the Stoke Doyle Road past the cemetery; 130 houses to a site at the end of Cotterstock Road; and 100 houses at St Christopher’s Drive.
Each site will be expected to provide a housing mix which includes provision for older persons and affordable housing. A contribution towards the proposed extension to Oundle Cemetery at Stoke Doyle Road will be required.
The Oundle Town Council have vigorously objected to the ENC Local Plan, which they feel has not taken into consideration the draft Neighbourhood Plan that was approved by Oundle residents and submitted to the ENC for approval in April 2018.

The council’s Neighbourhood Plan made allocations for the required 300 houses across seven sites that they felt better served environmental concerns and issues relating to housing density and traffic management. In particular they object to the ENC plan’s proposed development on Cotterstock Road, adjacent to Oundle Primary School, which has a housing density that far exceeds what the Neighbourhood Plan allowed for, raising concerns about proximity to the sewage works and the primary school.

Glapthorn Parish Council have also raised objections to the proposed Cotterstock Road development, which crosses into their parish boundaries. The Glapthorn Neighbourhood Plan was approved last year, and explicitly excluded this development from within its borders.

Among the sites identified in the Oundle Neighbourhood Plan, were two sites that offered the benefits of substantial green space, including a new cricket ground.

The council have pointed out that the only benefits offered by the three identified sites in the ENC plan were contributions to the cemetery.

At an Extraordinary Meeting held at St Peter’s Church on 21 November, the council said: “The Local Plan is not in line with the council’s wishes and aspirations.”

Residents of Oundle indicated how they want the town to manage growth and development when they approved the Neighbourhood Plan. At the Extraordinary meeting attended by roughly 300 residents, a show of hands nearly unanimously agreed with the motion: “The meeting deplores the Local Plan and the three allocations, and asks that the sites in the original Neighbourhood Plan be reinstated.”

The ENC Local Plan is currently in its consultation stage. Residents have until Monday 17 December 2018 to express their views about the plan to the ENC.