URGENT: Add your voice to WNC Planning Document – The closing date is Thursday, 18 August.  To take part, visit the consultation hub.

West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) are seeking residents’ views on their draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for employment land allocations in the area.  This new document will sit alongside the South Northamptonshire Local Plan Part 2 to help inform decision-making on planning applications.  The draft SPD document aims to provide greater detail and certainty to the public and developers by setting out overarching design principles for the future development of the employment sites identified in the Local Plan, including guidance relating to size, scale and density of buildings.

Blisworth Parish Council will be submitting a response stressing:

The importance of maintaining designated villages

The impact of such development on highways and traffic

The importance of recognising and considering the wider impact on communities

The need to restrict the height of such new developments, ideally to 12m

The importance of considering the cumulative impact of such developments. 

The need to recognise that low-paid warehouse employment does not provide financial security for the residents

We would urge residents concerned with the increase in developments in the surrounding area to submit their views to show the strength of feelings from the residents and voters.

Cllr Rebecca Breese, WNC’s Cabinet Member for strategic planning, built environment and rural affairs, said: “It’s important that we have effective planning policies in place which support our goals to boost our local economy by bringing new employment opportunities into the area.

“Our policies must be underpinned by clear and robust guidance for both local residents and developers to ensure future development of these sites is appropriate in size, scale and density, and this Supplementary Planning Document aims to do just that.  I would urge everyone with knowledge of this area to get involved in this consultation to help shape guidance that will inform our future decision-making on these issues.”

As well as being able to view the SPD documents online, residents can view them at the WNC offices and the library at The Forum, Moat Lane in Towcester NN12 6AD, and libraries in Brackley and Deanshanger.

Residents can also email localplanconsultation.snc@westnorthants.gov.uk with any feedback.

Blisworth Football Club

Blisworth Football Club have asked Blisworth Parish Council to post their presentation detailing their forthcoming plans.  Football Club Presentation

9th August 2022 – Revised Closing date for objections for proposed development for Land West of Northampton Road.

We would encourage all residents to make their views known to West Northamptonshire Council on application WNS/2022/1134/MAO using the following link:  https://snc.planning-register.co.uk/…/WNS/2022/1134/MAO

Please let other residents know about this new planned development and if possible help friends and family to submit their objections so that WNC has the opinion of all the residents of Blisworth village and not just those that are happy and able to submit information online.

Please see below Blisworth Parish Councils objection. 

Blisworth Parish Council’s Objection:  Ref: Application No. WNS/2022/1134/MAO –Location: Land to the west Northampton Road Blisworth Northants Towcester NN7 3DW

Blisworth Parish Council discussed the application at public meetings on 4 July 2022 and 1 August 2022 and wish to submit our OBJECTION to the proposal as outlined.  While we continue, as stated in our submission in response to the public consultation to be, in principle, open to and supportive of appropriate sustainable redevelopment of brownfield sites in the locale, this proposal represents a significant change in use that would severely impact the well-being and safety of village residents.

We would like to make the following points in support of our objection:

  1. Kalvec state that they will not be introducing any ‘new’ uses to the site. This is not accurate:  the proposal replaces a small locally run single story garden centre, a single storey abattoir (last used in 2004) and associated facilities.  The proposal suggests a change in use of the area, with a combination of B2 units and, more importantly, B8 warehousing, rising to 18m.  This is a significant change from the historic use of the area for small local business. Local Plan Policy E1 states that it is generally supportive of the retention of existing employment areas, in this instance the previous main business on the site ceased to operate decades ago and the former Youngs Nursery closure also some years ago and only employed a very small local workforce therefore we would consider this not to be a retained employment area.
  2. Local Plan Policy R2 acknowledges acceptability of proposals which sustain and enhance rural economy stating where they are of appropriate scale for their location respect the environmental quality and character of the rural area and includes point “small scale development “to meet local needs, this development is neither small scale nor appropriate with proposed units up to 18m high. This would be similar is scale to distribution warehouse units on the major infrastructure project at Northampton Gateway which incidentally were raised in height because of a change to DCO.  The new employment supplement to the local plan Local Plan presently out for consultation proposes limiting future development to 16m, but the widespread opinion is that this is too high and should be limited to 12m as to not impact the rural views across South Northamptonshire.
  3. Local Plan Policy EMP3(2) acknowledges that new employment generating sites will be considered acceptable where the proposal, are on 1) brownfield land. This application highlights that part of the site is actually greenfield and it is also adjacent to, and severely impacting land classified as open countryside.  Policy SS1 refers to consideration of sites within open countryside will only be considered where they meet an identified business and community need.  There are no local businesses that require warehousing of this scale and there are already shortages in labour for warehousing locally meaning workers are transported into local warehouse developments from outside of the county.  The statement also clearly states that proposals should be of a reasonable scale, as previously highlighted the scale proposed cannot be considered reasonable.
  1. The proposal estimates 1350 vehicle movements a day. This is an increase of over 40% in traffic levels, even when the unevidenced historic levels.  This is contested by local residents as we believe the impact would be significantly higher. Policy EMP3 2.a.iv states that extensions to existing commercial sites may be considered acceptable outside of settlement confines, ”on suitable sites” , however due to the local highways infrastructure we would not consider this a suitable site.
  2. The proposal’s largest B8 unit includes 12 HGV bays. The site would generate 247 HGV movements per day or 17 HGV movement per hour. Kalvec refers to accessibility to major roads as a benefit but does not mention that access to the M1 at Junction 15A, A43 and A5 at Towcester (not to mention Milton Keynes via the A508) for this increased level of heavy traffic would be directly through the village of Blisworth using residential access roads.
  3. Blisworth is a rural settlement of approx. 1000 buildings largely comprising a conservation area with several prominent listed buildings, of which many are situated alongside the primary routes specifically impacted by this proposal. The protection of Blisworth’s rural, visual, historic, and archaeological qualities is supported by Local Plan.  It was recognised by the Highways Authority and Northamptonshire County Council in 1995 that the village was unsuitable for HGV traffic when the village was bypassed creating the A43. This proposal significantly reverses that policy.  There would need to be direct access to the A43 for HGV traffic for this proposal to be viable.
  4. The developers traffic survey is not reflective of the actual traffic using Northampton Road. You can see from the below table a significant difference in traffic volumes included in the developers traffic report to what was recorded during the period 11 – 24 July.  We positioned a Vehicle Activated Sign in this stretch of road to gather our measurements.  This demonstrated about 25-30% more vehicle movements than the Developers traffic survey. We believe this is because the Developer’s measurements were made during the week 7-13 Jan 2022 when we were at the peak on Covid Omicron cases (about 140,000/150,000 cases) and many businesses and schools were closed with people working from home.  Also, the Developer assumes Peak times are 0800-0900 and 1700-1800, this is not always the case with our traffic measurements on many days the Peak is 0700-0800 and 1600 –1700.  It should be noted from data gathered over a greater period of time that the High Street and Courteenhall Road currently have 5,656 movements typically each day[1].

[1] Vehicle Activated sign in Towcester Road, 115,692 outgoing movements and 82287 incoming movements over 35 days, 02 April 2022, to 07 May 2022. A maximum recorded speed of 94mph and 85% of vehicles travelling below 43mph.  The average speed is 34mph. These vehicles use both the Gayton Road and Towcester Road Junction and the Stoke Road to High Street Junction.

This development would result in an increase in traffic flows of 19% thereby significantly exacerbating recognised existing traffic problems in the village to unacceptable levels.

  1. The application models impact at junctions, but no consideration is given to the High Street, Courteenhall Road or Stoke Road the attached Appendix A provides photographic evidence:
    • The High Street accessing the A43, A5 and M1 northbound is narrow, with parked cars, and regular deliveries and collection to and from the village shop making it often in effect a single lane route. There is excessive queuing in at peak times and numerous instances of vehicles mounting the pavements.  As has already been accepted, it is unsuitable for HGV traffic.
    • Courteenhall Road – the proposed route to the M1 southbound and A508 has a narrow railway bridge where it is difficult for two cars to pass, making it again unsuitable for HGV traffic – as already acknowledged by Highways in relation to the SEGRO Northampton Gateway development where the junction with the A508 is to be modified to restrict HGV access along this route.
    • Stoke Road, although not considered in the application, is used as a cut through to A5/A508 Milton Keynes, particularly when the M1 is congested. It is a narrow residential road with parked cars making it again single lane route and suffers already from subsidence.  The road has been signposted as unsuitable for HGV traffic, but this has failed to address the issue, which could only be worsened by the proposed development.

 

  1. Blisworth is blighted with traffic using the village as a cut through from Northampton and Milton Keynes to the A43/M1 and A508. This issue has been identified as one of the Policing Regional team’s strategic priorities.  We have seen increasing traffic movements and lack of compliance with speed limits through the village despite investment, on the Northampton Road where this development is proposed the footpaths are close to and not protected from the traffic in the highway.
  2. Two of the traffic routes run alongside the Primary School where young children between the ages of 5 and 12 years of age walk, and cars are parked during peak hours. No account has been taken of this increased risk or of the increased pollution and noise levels.
  3. West Northamptonshire Council have installed traffic signage routing HGV traffic away from the route through Blisworth at the Mereway roundabout in Northampton as an active control policy to protect heritage and listed buildings adjacent the highway in Blisworth and for residents using local facilities such as the village shop, Primary School and public house. This development would be in direct opposition to that policy.
  4. Amendments are proposed to the footpath adjacent to the development to provide better segregation from HGV movements but there is no adjustment further along the same road. For example, the rail bridge brings cycle and pedestrian traffic adjacent to the highway and represents a significant hazard which is a short distance from the proposed development.
  5. The proposal refers to cycle, pedestrian, and bus access to the site for workers. However, workers using the proposed development would be unable to access the site by cycle due to the absence of cycle ways on the Northampton Road; the bus service only operates between 0800 and 1800 at two hourly intervals and would therefore be unsuitable for many of the proposed employees; and the footpaths are narrow and poorly lit. Blisworth and Milton Malsor both have low unemployment levels. We therefore believe that a) the development would have limited economic benefit to the villages and b) that workers would travel from further afield, in cars, thereby increasing the traffic issues already identified.

We request that WNC consider this application in the context of the many other developments underway or planned in the area which will impact Blisworth, included in Appendix B.  We consider that it is essential that the cumulative impact is taken into account alongside the expansion in housing and industrial use South of Northampton Town and North of Towcester by the Council when considering this application.

Lastly, we believe that the public consultation has been inadequate: the impact on the rural road network was not made clear in the engagement; support for local businesses has not been evidenced and the significant change in use was not made explicit. Only four responses do not suggest support for the proposal but rather an inadequate consultation process, particularly when 232 objections have been lodged on the WNC website by the 5 August 2022.

We would also raise a strong concern around the practice of developers gaining permission and subsequently applying for alterations to the application.  We are concerned that any agreement to develop this area could be subject to future expansion and the resulting traffic impact also if WNC were minded in considering and the approval of this application there would need to be significant investment in the highways infrastructure locally including footpaths using instruments such as the former 106 agreement/CIL levies.  As I am sure you agree there would undoubtably be a significant need to upgrade and improve all the local roads, junctions, signage and pedestrian and cycle networks throughout the village should this proposal go ahead.

In conclusion, we reiterate that the current proposal is unsuitable for the location and is strongly opposed by local residents. We ask the WNC to reject it.

Click on the link to see examples of photos as part of the objection: Appendix A – Road Traffic Examples

Click on the link to see list of other applications impacting on Blisworth village: Appendix B – Planning applications

Proposed site:

Eastfield Play Area: Many residents will be aware that we recently received a small lottery grant to improve the parish Eastfield Play Area. We are delighted to announce that the works start Monday, 1st August 2022.  The play area improvements were selected by the pupils at the local primary school. The play area will remain CLOSED FOR SAFETY REASONS to residents while work is undertaken.  We are really hoping that this investment will delight our families that use this important facility.

Don’t forget to contribute to the Northants Police current priorities survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NorthantsLocalPriorities.  This is an opportunity for you to let Northants Police know about our concerns regarding  traffic and speeding in the village and hopefully this will inform the Police that  road safety is a priority for our village.

Police & Neighbourhood Watch Scheme (helping to prevent and detect crime and anti-social behaviour).  If residents would like to receive notifications direct, you can register with: www.northamptonshireneighbourhoodalert.co.uk/

Please help Blisworth Parish Council to support residents.  Click on the ‘Operation Snap’ link below to find out how to report vehicles that exceed the 3-Tonne weight limit situated on the Stoke Road (near the canal tunnel entrance).   Operation Snap

Grants

Please find below a link for information about grants that may be applicable for your organisation.  Please pass onto other organisations as you feel is appropriate. https://www.westnorthants.gov.uk/community-safety-and-emergencies/community-funding-grants
The next round of £5,000 now open and closes at 11:59pm 27 July 2022.
Funding for Community Renewal
Some community groups and organisations are struggling to bounce back after the Coronavirus pandemic, and a bit of money to fund a new activity or to energise a relaunch might go a very long way.  The Janet and Bryan Moore Trust is a local charity which is inviting applications for funding for projects that help enhance and unite local communities such as childcare, scout groups, fitness groups and churches.  Parish and town councils are not eligible bodies themselves, but if you know of, or are a member of, a community group in need of funding it might be just what you’re looking for.  Grants up to £20,000 are available.  See www.janetandbryanmooretrust.org.uk for details.

New web area offers cost of living support

WNC have set up a new area on their website to help people access a range of support and advice to help them through the current cost of living crisis.  The page aims to offer a one-stop-shop, including information on:
• Accessing grants
• Debt advice
• Support getting money you’re entitled to
• More information about the Household Support Fund https://www.westnorthants.gov.uk/community-safety-and-emergencies/cost-living-support

Citizens Advice Bureau – If you are worried about debt, benefits, housing or anything else – Drop in to see an advisor at the Towcester Foodbank every Tuesday 12-2pm.  Citizens Advice & Food bank

Blisworth Parish Council Surgery

We will be hosting another informal surgery session where councillors will be present at the Blisworth Baptist Church for discussion on any parish issues. It will be a great opportunity to join us for a chat and air any concerns over a cup of coffee and maybe a bit of cake!  We are extremely grateful for the support of the Baptist Church and the use of their facilities to further support our local community.  Our next session will be on  Tuesday 13 September 2022 (10:00 – 12:00).  If you are concerned about the traffic issues in the village or have any other worries please come and have your say.

Blisworth Notice Boards

We have a number of great notice boards across the village which are there to help residents advertise local events and services. We all want our notice boards to be well kept but sometimes they get very untidy. We are fortunate that some of our volunteers will be looking after them to keep our notice boards looking great.
Any notice that is out of date, weather worn or unsuitable will be taken off.  If the notice boards are full, anything from outside the village will be removed to make room.
To help, there will be a plastic bag at the side of all the notice boards with pins for notices and posters so all can be made secure with four pins on each corner.   We would prefer it if residents didn’t use staple guns as these damage the notice boards and are difficult to remove.
Garden Waste Collection – You will now have to pay for your garden waste collection from West Northants Council (WNC).

WNC will be charging an annual subscription charge of £42 for the fortnightly service from April 2022 to the end of March 2023.  Click on the link to find out how to pay for this service. WNC Annual Subscription charge for Garden Waste Service

WNC will  collect unwanted garden bins.  Residents will need to contact WNC and WNC will confirm the date for removal.

Details of End of Year Accounts and Exercise of Public Rights to view accounts for 2021 – 2022: Please click on the Documents Tab, Finance.

Community walk with Gigaclear Project Delivery Lead

Gigaclear’s Project Delivery Lead will be reviewing the works carried out in Blisworth in June/July (a date has not been given as yet).  Please note the date has now been revised to September 2022 (Gigaclear will confirm the date as soon as possible).   Could we please ask residents to email the Clerk at blisworthparishcouncil@gmail.com if there are any issues you would like the Council to raise on your behalf.

Covid Update

The latest figures show that the drop in COVID-19 case rates has been slowest in the over 70s. Sadly we are still seeing deaths from COVID-19 in Northamptonshire and nationally.  The Spring Booster campaign began in March.  Anyone over 75 who got their previous booster around six months ago is invited to get an additional booster dose of vaccine. Residents of older adult care homes are also eligible to receive the Spring booster jab, as well as people aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed.  This additional booster is currently being offered to those at extremely high risk to help minimise the chance of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 and having to be admitted to hospital.  Will you check if loved ones who are older or immunocompromised have had their Spring Booster or have been invited but not yet booked an appointment, or taken up the offer?  This can be accessed online at http://nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119.

COVID Clinics
We all need to help keep on top of the Coronavirus infection rate, and key to that is to keep up the vaccination programme.  Details about where people can get vaccinated can be found here: Coronavirus vaccination in Northamptonshire – Countywide services, and here: Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site – NHS (www.nhs.uk). Further information about the vaccination can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk).

Traffic and Road Closures Update:

Western Power have requested a section between Hyde Farm and Plainswood Farm be closed between 15th -23rd August to allow the removal of wooden poles and installation of cables. Map of road closure 15th to 23rd August 2022

 

 WE STILL NEED YOU!  Parish Councillor Vacancies

There are four vacancies for a member of the public to become a Parish Councillor.  If you feel you would like to get involved in making decisions about your local community, local issues and make a significant contribution to the area in which you live or work, then this is the position for you!  Do you have an interest in your local environment, local transport, local government finances, amenities, planning and housing issues, community events, anti-social behaviour and policing, and want to make a difference then please apply!

  • You must be aged 18 years and over, eligible to vote and have lived or worked in the parish of Blisworth for 12 months or more, or within 3 miles of the parish boundary.
  • Any elector can identify a potential councillor and nominate candidates for election and have the right to elect a councillor who represents their interests.
  • The role of Parish Councillor is unpaid however training and support is provided.  If you are interested please contact the Parish Clerk on blisworthparishcouncil@gmail.com.

Support to elderly residents

Northamptonshire Age UK provides support to elderly residents with a wide range of services including domestic cleaning, gardening, handy person, carer sittings service, day care at home, information and advice.  For more information please call 01604 611200 or email access@ageuknorthants.org.uk or visit www.ageuknorthants.org.uk.

——————————————————————————————————————————

Grass cutting

Residents with any questions, concerns or issues about grass cutting in the village please could you contact the Clerk of the Parish Council and not the contractors that way we can make sure issues are logged and tracked.  Blisworth Parish Council:  blisworthparishcouncil@gmail.com


Blisworth is a thriving, picturesque village in South Northamptonshire situated 5 miles south of the county town. It has some 900 homes and an estimated population of 1870 (2010 village survey).
The West Coast Railway runs close to Blisworth and the Grand Union Canal passes through the village which extends from the famous Blisworth Tunnel, to the outlying residential areas of Blisworth Arm and Blisworth Park.
Village amenities include a primary school, a village shop with news agency and post office and two local pubs. Many small businesses surround the area, largely in discreet attractive business parks.

If you have any questions regarding the content of the website please contact the Parish Clerk in the first instance:- E-mail: blisworthparishcouncil@gmail.com
Only information approved by the BPC may be included on this web site.

To visit West Northamptonshire Planning Applications Register, please click the link. Click here to be directed to the WNC Planning Applications Register

Please contact the Clerk for a copy of the signed minutes.