Signs have gone up from Charles Church developments and Persimmon homes (who are both the same company) saying they have acquired an area of land for development which is directly adjacent to the St Crispin’s development (Click for location map and satellite photo). Currently this land sites a 1950s campus style mental health hospital, Princess Marina, which is being gradually decommissioned and is now, in parts, derelict. Most of the functionality of the site has moved to a newly built hospital which is also on the St. Crispin’s development.
The outline planning permission which was approved in May 2011 can be viewed on the WNDC website, searching for reference 11/0041/REPWNN. This follows adjustments made in 2011, which can be found on the Northampton Borough Council website under reference N/2011/0519. The May agreement supersedes a previous outline planning agreement from March 2009 (07/0004/OUTWNN).
Maximum dwellings allowed according to outline planning is 550 residential units and 4000 square metres of commercial space, most of which, I think, will border the Weedon Road.
The timescale is to start building early 2013 according to the developers. The person I spoke to today at Persimmon claimed that they have full planning permission from the council, although as of Jan 2012, the council claim that it is still outline planning permission as above with no finalised layout agreed.
The Section 106 attached to the outline planning permission has surprisingly little information in it about public open spaces, the implication being that a later planning document will fill in the details. It does specify 2.5 hectares of public open space. Additionally, a consultation document with the borough council states:
“Financial contribution towards educational and community facilities and provision of Primary and Secondary School places is to be made… The provision of an area of open space to include a Leap, and a commuted sum and upgrading of the Neap at St. Crispin”.
I’m not sure what Leap and Neap stand for but I would guess it is to do with parks. The extra money for community facilities may be what is required to get our community centre built to the desired standard.
Persimmon said they are looking to build 535 dwellings on the site, 15 less than the maximum, and these will be from flats to detached houses. The Section 106 document specifies that 35% of these should be affordable housing, which would make 118 units. These would be a combination of housing association stock and key worker houses.
Encouragingly, the consultation document also recommends that:
“The County Council and St. Luke’s School explore the possibility of pedestrian access to the school begin provided to the site”.
This would be welcome and relieve the congestion which is currently experienced around the main entrance to the school at dropping-off and picking-up times.
What does this mean for us? I would doubt that there would be another community centre on the Princess Marina site as this is not mentioned at all in the planning document. However, the quote above indicates that monetary contribution will be made to surrounding community facilities. Therefore there is no need to be thinking of another focus for community activities for the Princess Marina dwellings. The new residents will still be using our community centre (as yet unbuilt) and our shops on St Crispin’s. (This is unlike the proposed Upton Lodge development whose outline planning permission for up to 5000 homes is still being discussed and where community facilities will need to be built). The extra development would simply mean an extension of our notional borders for the work, and a wider geographical area to work within.