Controversial planning permission put on hold

Facing a large audience of concerned residents on November 13, East Northamptonshire Council Planning Management Committee considered two highly contentious applications for large housing developments in Oundle. The applications for sites on Cotterstock Road and St Christopher’s Road were both deferred until independent surveys could be undertaken, and further submissions reviewed.

Plans for the construction by Gladman Developments of up to 130 homes on a 16-acre site at Cotterstock Road had been tipped for approval by ENC planners. The council had written: “The principle of developing the site is considered to be acceptable as there is an identified need for housing in Oundle in accordance with the adopted Development Plan.”

There has been strong resistance to the plans. The Oundle Town Council has raised objections because the development does not form part of its draft Neighbourhood Plan, which calls for smaller developments at different sites to satisfy the required 172 houses that need to be built by 2031. Members of the public have submitted 84 comments about the site, drawing attention to traffic issues and the smell from the adjacent Anglian Water sewage works.

In light of residents’ concerns, the decision was made to defer a decision until independent traffic, drainage and odour assessments could be made.

Planners had expressed reservations about the plan by Persimmon for 65 houses and an extra care unit of 65 units on St Christopher’s Drive, a site which is also not in OTC’s draft Neighbourhood Plan. The planners raised concerns about the proposal for an extra care facility, which was offered as an alternative to the required affordable housing without demonstrating that an extra care provision was actually a realistic option for the site.

At the meeting, Persimmon submitted a 60-page amendment arguing they were not required to demonstrate viability. They also said they had contingency plans for affordable housing should they not proceed with the extra care units.

The council agreed to review the new submissons before making a decision.

December 4, 2019