Brackley News: ‘Market town or urban sprawl?’

South Northamptonshire Council offices
South Northamptonshire Council offices

A MAJOR document which will shape the future of Brackley until 2026 has been adopted as local authority policy.

Last week SNC announced the adoption of the Brackley Masterplan following a public consultation in June 2010.

The document, paid for by SNC and Northants Enterprise Ltd, will help shape the aspirations of developers and council planning decisions.

The masterplan lays out how infrastructure, retail, employment and education within Brackley can be altered or improved to cater for 1,900 new homes expected to be built over the next 16 years.

The draft plan sparked some controversy when it suggested the amalgamation of Magdalen College School’s the two town centre sites into one edge of town secondary school. Since then more than 630 people have joined a Facebook group called MCS Alumni Against Revelopment of the St John’s Site for Housing.

There was also concern that proposal for an iconic civic building around the area of the public toilets in High Street would damage the unique visual appearance of the town centre.

Both those elements are still in the plan but David Dunham of Brackley Town Council said the proposals had been watered down. Mr Dunham also pointed out the removal of the housing to the west of Brackley from the masterplan and said some of the changes reflected a change in the attitude on housing expansion since the General Election.

Mr Dunham said his personal view was that the town had to work with developers to get the best deal on infrastructure improvement.

John Webber of St Peters Road addressed Brackley Town Council on Monday evening and asked if there would be a time when no more house building was allowed in Brackley. Mr Webber asked if it would be more sensible to stop building new homes and start a new settlement. He added: “If you go on building it ceases to be a historic market town and becomes a broad amorphous sprawl.”

> What do you think? Send your letters and emails to the addresses on page 6