Frustration at thumbs up to regeneration

No Caption ABCDE
No Caption ABCDE

A resident of Towcester has said the views of the town have been ignored after a £30 million regeneration project was given the go ahead .

Last Thursday South Northants Council’s development controls committee gave the green light to the Moat Lane regeneration project.

The project has already seen £15million ploughed into the project for the acquisition of the Towcester Watermeadows and the restoration of Bury Mount.

But residents and members of Towcester Town Council fear the proposal for SNC to move into a new civic building as part of the project will result in greater congestion.

The planning permission granted last week paves the way for a new civic building, restaurants, cafes, and housing in the run down part of the town centre.

But many feel SNC decision to move out of the its office block at Springfields on the edge of Towcester to the town centre is a mistake. Last Thursday‘s decision also gave the go-ahead to demolish the Springfields office and replace it with 87 homes. .

Peter Kelly of Wordsworth Close was the only Towcester resident chosen to speak due to time constraints.

After the meeting he said the wide spread opposition to the council move was demonstrated by how many other people wanted to speak.

He said they had all approved of the original plan in 2007 to build an office block for ‘start up’ businesses, but fears future planning committees will be forced to consider planning applications to resolve the problems the council move will cause.

He said: “Local democracy was completely ignored. They made the decision behind closed doors, then we had two Town Hall meetings where everyone was extremely angry with the council.

“At the second meeting the vicar castigated people for being so cross.”

Mr Kelly said it would be vandalism to knock down the current office block at Springfields on the edge of town which is easily accessible to people living outside of Towcester.

During Thursday’s meeting Jim Lynch of Towcester Town Council also said while the had been behind the regeneration from the start, but they could not condone the SNC relocation.

He said it will generate an enormous amount of traffic that it would ‘strangle the ability of people to get into town and for traders to survive.’

However members of the committee said on balance the regeneration would be good for the town.

Steven Hollowell, councillor for Brafield and Yardley said: “If this scheme doesn’t go forward, no scheme would go forward and that would be terrible for Towcester.”