Appeal won to build 39 flats near Rushden railway line despite concerns raised by residents

The development site is located between John Clark Way and the Rushden railway line.
-Credit: (Image: Google)

The government's planning inspectorate has ruled that plans to build up to 39 homes in Rushden should be approved, despite numerous public objections and prior refusal from North Northamptonshire Council (NNC).

The small housing development will be located on an undeveloped and overgrown plot of land which sits between John Clark Way and the railway line on the northeastern edge of Rushden. Immediately next to the site are three large warehouses just off the A6.

Illustrative designs produced by the applicant, Connolly Homes Ltd, suggest the homes would be delivered through two blocks of flats with one and two-bed units. The apartments will be split between 17 flats in block one and 22 in the other.

There is parking provided for the residents, as well as additional parking for visitors. Both apartment blocks have different parking areas to allow the residents easy access to their homes.

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Planning permission was refused by NNC in November 2022 as it wrote there was inadequate justification for the housing type and mix, there is not enough provision for on-site open space and a lack of affordable housing provision.

A total of 30 comments from members of the public in opposition to the plans were also submitted to the original plans. These included complaints about the demand for flats in the area, worries about the risk of flooding and highway concerns with increased traffic.

Indicative plans for the apartment blocks from the applicant.
Indicative plans for the apartment blocks from the applicant. -Credit:Connolly Homes Ltd

One person wrote: "I cannot believe an application has been submitted for 39 flats on this bit of land. What on earth is going on?

"The traffic comes to a standstill as it is during the mornings and evenings, through Rushden, starting when schools come out. Now extra traffic on the John Clark Way.

"This is called a Greenway for that purpose. I often take my dog for a walk along it. To be able to walk with a bit of peace and listen to the wildlife. That will be killed stone dead and we will be listening to more cars.

"Rushden is fast becoming a concrete jungle. Any bit of space and you are allowing building to go up on it. Please, someone, stop this culture of over development."

Another added: "This proposal further fragments the local community and creates another isolated development. There are no DRs, school places, NHS Dentists and no infrastructure to support this development.

"Please start listening to the Rushden residents. We are not against house building, just where these builders think they can put them, with absolute no thought of how it will affect the local area."

The planning inspectorate ruled that the appeal should be allowed, citing physical constraints stopping them from delivering smaller one or two-story bedroom houses and maisonettes on the site instead of flats. They also added that they were not 'persuaded' that the development wouldn't provide adequate open space, and that it could be addressed again at the reserved matters stage.

A new section 106 agreement has also been submitted with the appeal which includes provision for 30 per cent affordable housing, bus passes and financial contributions toward healthcare and libraries.

The appearance, layout and scale of development are all reserved matters so must acquire further detailed permission from the council before construction can begin.