Towcester gets green light to double in size

Mike Suter of Wood Burcote and the view from his house that will be spoiled by Towcester expansion.'120927M-B296
Mike Suter of Wood Burcote and the view from his house that will be spoiled by Towcester expansion.'120927M-B296
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A resident who will be on the front line of the Towcester expansion has said the plan to build 2,750 new homes ignores the needs of existing residents.

Last week, South Northants Council’s development control committee gave outline permission for Persimmon Homes and Bloor Homes to almost double the size of the town.

The approved plans also include a relief road connecting the A5 to the A43 and taking lorries out of Towcester town centre.

It is hoped areas designated as employment space will generate 2,800 permanent jobs for the town, and that 4,124 jobs could be available during the construction.

But Mike Suter from Wood Burcote, which will eventually be consumed by the expansion, said the scale and timing of the development did not serve the best interests of the town.

Mr Suter said the town was now set for more than a decade of piecemeal development which will see thousands of extra cars using Towcester roads.

He added: “The plan is too big for Towcester, there’s nobody that can manage it in the interests of the town.

“And how does is actually benefit Joe Bloggs on the street? The answer is that it doesn’t.

“All it will lead to is congestion in all the services – on the roads, through to doctors and dentists and the like.”

Plans for the Towcester 
expansion first emerged in 2007 when they were submitted to the West Northants Development Corporation, but in April last year South Northants Council took over responsibility for the planning process.

Councillor Stephen Clarke, chairman of SNC’s planning committee, said the £60million project had been a major decision for the council.

He added: “The new investment will ensure that Towcester grows as a town in a way that is appropriate for a rural district.

“I welcome the fact that the developers have taken such care to address the Towcester Masterplan in their proposals, with new employment space and a relief road which will reduce the traffic impact on the town centre.”

Members voted in favour of the scheme subject to legal agreements to ensure the provision of adequate community facilities including financial contributions to education services, public transport, highways, and community facilities such as sports pitches, pavilions, children’s play area and public open space.

Employment areas will see the building of a hotel with leisure facilities, pub/ restaurant, retail space and a new doctors’ surgery.

Nick Scregg, of Persimmon Homes, said they believe the development would be an example for others like it.