525-home Northampton urban extension approved despite affordable housing shortfall

A 525-home urban extension to Northampton has been given the go-ahead, despite the proposal providing only a third of the affordable housing required by local planning policy.

Plan showing the new development on the edge of Northampton. Image by Martin Grant Homes and Harcourt Developments
Plan showing the new development on the edge of Northampton. Image by Martin Grant Homes and Harcourt Developments

South Northamptonshire Council’s planning committee last week approved plans for the development on the south-eastern edge of Northampton, submitted by housebuilders Martin Grant Homes and Harcourt Developments.

A planning report to the committee said the application should be approved, even though it only provides for 13 per cent affordable homes.

This compares to the 35 per cent required by the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy Local Plan, adopted in 2014.

The report said: "The development will deliver a reduced amount of affordable housing (13 per cent, rather than 35 per cent) but it has been demonstrated that this is the result of genuine constraints on viability.

"The shortfall in provision of affordable housing is not considered to outweigh the benefits of delivering this strategic development and the contribution it would make to the supply of housing in the area."

The 26.4-hectare application site forms part of a larger site allocated for 1,300 homes in the joint core strategy.

Officers said the principle of development on the site had already been accepted through the core strategy, when strategic visual and landscape impacts were considered.

They added: "It is inevitable that the landscape character would change significantly with the development of the site.

"However, these impacts need to be weighed against the requirement for growth."

The report accepted advice from the council’s ecologist that the welfare of protected species on the site would be safeguarded, despite the approval of the development.

A section 106 agreement will seek developer contributions for early years and primary education and healthcare, the report said.

In October, the council gave the go-ahead for another urban extension to Northampton which also included a affordable housing level lower than local policy requirements.

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