Planning applications relevant to the parish will be published here.
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Massive HGV warehouse development on land west of Northampton Road (Planning Application WNS_2022_1134_MAO).
We wanted to bring this application to residents’ attention again because there have been some amendments to the original planning application and if we do not respond, it may well be agreed. As stated in the last R&A, the plans include approx. 50 HGVs loading/waiting bays, 110 plus car parking spaces and 16 HGVs per hour through the village! In an amendment, it was suggested that a ‘routing system’ will stop vehicles accessing the village. They will advise drivers that they will not be allowed to go through the village, but they have not stipulated who will monitor the HGVs or what fines, if any, will be applied. WNC and the Police do not have the power or labour to monitor the routes that the HGVs use nor will the Police have any legal powers to enforce any recommendations the developer suggests. Therefore the reality is that all these HGVs will pass through the village. BPC has resubmitted another comprehensive objection but we need residents to individually submit objections. Though this proposed development will devalue your property and reduce your ability to sell, the planning committee are not allowed to consider these points in its deliberations.
However, as a resident you can submit an objection and highlight that:
- Already, each time there is an issue with either the A43, A508 or M1, there are significant increases in traffic flows through the village from c5,000 to c9,000 vehicles daily and queuing traffic is now being regularly witnessed up Towcester Road onto the A43 and on the A43 lay-by to turn right into Blisworth, in addition to tailbacks of traffic along Northampton Road beyond the railway bridge, at peak hours.
- Even if, as the developer now suggests, their HGVs will not be able to access the village, then the only route will be Northampton Road but there is not the capacity for this type or increased volume of traffic. It will cause chaos at the Tesco/Mereway roundabout and through Milton Malsor and Collingtree.
- Furthermore, the Secretary of State for Transport has recently agreed that the Gateway, rail-freight terminal can begin operations ahead of ensuring that the rail-freight terminal is operational, leading to further traffic on all routes around the village.
- The original application stated that the location was ideally suited due to the road links with the A43, A508 and M1 but there simply isn’t the capacity on the Blisworth roads for a new development of this type and magnitude.
- The increase in traffic will significantly undermine the buildings in the Conservation area, many of which, by nature of their age, have issues with their foundations.
- Any further increase in traffic along Northampton Road and through the village will increase traffic fumes and noise pollution.
- Already children and the elderly in the village cannot safely navigate the roads due to the speed and quantity of traffic.
- This proposed development will significantly reduce the quality of life of residents in the village.
- If you have photographic evidence to show the amount of traffic on the Northampton Road or through the village, please include these in your letter/email.
- BPC have suggested that to ensure that HGVs from this proposed development cannot pass through Blisworth, the physical design of the access should be amended to include a traffic island so that it is physically impossible for HGVs to turn right towards Blisworth when leaving the site or turn left from Blisworth to enter the site. Appropriate signage on the site and on the approaches should also be provided. We urged that these measures should be made a condition attached to any planning consent.
Even if you do not live on the main routes, please consider writing to support your fellow residents. Remember also, the above, are a few points that you can include, but it is important that you make the letter your own and do not simply copy and paste these points. To submit your objection type in the address: https://wnc.planning-register.co.uk/Planning/Display/WNS/2022/1134/MAO and select COMMENT ON THIS APPLICATION, or write to: Mr Daniel Callis, Principal Planning Officer – Major Projects Team, West Northants Council, The Forum, Moat Lane, Towcester, Northants NN12 6AD. Quote Planning application no. WNS/2022/1134/MAO Land west of Northampton Road.
Blisworth Parish Council’s original objection
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Comments by 13/12/2022. Old Blisworth STW, Northampton Road, Blisworth.
The proposed construction of an inert waste recycling facility. Additional information has been received in respect of the above application upon which Blisworth Parish council have previously been consulted. A copy of the amended details are available at: www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/planningapplications.
Blisworth Parish Council have already submitted a detailed objection on behalf of the residents.
Yet more warehousing developments
Thank you to all the residents that attended the public meeting to discuss the SEGRO application to vary the conditions of their Development Consent Order (DCO). There was standing room only in the village hall and universal agreement that we should object to this proposed amendment. The public was provided with information on how to contact the planning inspectorate and also our local MP about this issue, as requested.
New proposed changes to the Gateway development by SEGRO
The consultation has now closed as of Monday 26th September at 11:59 pm.
Please see Blisowrth Parish Council’s objection to SEGRO’s application: Blisworth Letter of Objection to PI 22.09.2022
West Northants Council Supplementary Planning Document (this consultation is now closed).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback.
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.
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