A HOMEOWNER on the front line of the Towcester expansion plans has said town residents must not sit back and let the town almost double in size without making their voices heard.
This week South Northants Council and Persimmon and Bloor Homes relaunched plans to build thousands of homes to the south and west of the town. A 2007 plan for 3,000 homes was panned by government advisors, the Commissioner for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) for not including sufficient integration between the old and new parts of the town.
The new plan features 2,750 homes, and changes to the way the £28 million A5 relief road will connect to the A43.
Wood Burcote resident Mike Suter said the reduction in the number of homes was offset by other housing plans in the town, and the expansion could house over 5,000 people, many of whom will have commute out of town to work.
SNC has launched a public consultation into the plans submitted this month after taking over the planning process from the West Northants Development Corporation.
The masterplan also includes employment land, a main local centre including food retail units, public house/restaurant, doctors’ surgery/medical centre, nursery/crèche and community hall, and a secondary local centre with corner shops, and takeaways.
A mixed use commercial area could accommodate a hotel with conference and leisure facilities, two new primary schools, a site reserved for a new secondary school, and areas of public open space.
In a call to action Mr Suter said: “Look beyond the fancy photos and artists’ impressions. Consider how both the building works and the increase in local traffic will impact on you. Consider how journeys to work will lengthen together with doctor and dentist waiting times. Don’t be passive but express your opinion to SNC.”
Mr Suter said the plans were being led by developers and landowners and will not work to the benefit of existing town residents.
He said: “The relief road design is fundamentally flawed; local services will be degraded and will irreversibly change the fundamental character of Towcester. In chronological order the beneficiaries will be the land owner and the developer and arguably the council with an enlarged income. The people of Towcester will suffer 10 years of building, traffic chaos and a degraded quality of life.
“How will the centre of Towcester cope with all the new people?”
Rebecca Breese, SNC’s councillor for planning said they were confident the revised plans would enable Towcester to continue to thrive with its own identity and historical importance.
She added: “I would encourage people to view the plans online or come to SNC offices at Springfields and let us have their views. We are committed to ensuring Towcester’s future as an attractive place to live, work and visit and these plans will go a long way in determining a positive future for the town.”
Follow the link to the SNC planning portal and click the document tab to view the proposal - Towcester Expansion plans