RESPONDING TO LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS

Potterspury Parish Council believe that the West Northants Spatial Options Consultation is seriously flawed with respect to plans for development along the A5 from Towcester to the Old Stratford Roundabout. Here are some points to consider in your responses.

Spatial Option 5b – proposal for a 6,000-house development north of the Old Stratford roundabout.

It is misguided and poorly thought out for these reasons:

  • Location
    • As the Spatial Option paper says, the Old Stratford Roundabout is already ‘an existing strategic highway network pinch point’. The addition of 6,000 houses would render the existing roads utterly inadequate.
    • The location surrounding a major national road interchange close to Milton Keynes and close to existing local centres and villages would ensure the proposed development was simply a dormitory settlement. It would not be sustainable, have no real focus and be unable to support a thriving local centre.

  • Size
    • The proposal is for a development larger than Towcester. No infrastructure is in place to support this. Local schools and doctors’ surgeries are already over-subscribed. Small local back roads are poorly maintained and Potterspury struggles to cope with an increasing amount of ‘rat run’ traffic.

    • The development would have a population around 150% bigger than Deanshanger, Old Stratford, Potterspury, Yardley Gobion & Cosgrove combined. It would dwarf the surrounding settlements and completely change the character of this rural area. As the Spatial Option paper says, ‘the proposed development is of disproportionate scale to the surrounding West Northamptonshire settlements.

  • Milton Keynes

We are alarmed by the casual mention of ‘possible long-term aspirations for a mass rapid transport network, as part of a greater Milton Keynes’. As we and others have pointed out, WNC is not part of Milton Keynes and our residents have shown no desire to become the gateway and car park for north Milton Keynes.

  • Oxford-Cambridge Arc

We are concerned that the proposals are being developed without due consideration for the government’s timetable and plans for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

  • Environment

Development on greenfield sites, the desecration of woodland and the removal of agricultural land are especially short-sighted at this time of climate emergency. The ruination of local landscapes and the removal of such valuable natural capital assets – which cannot just be mitigated by new planting – are deplorable. WNC has a stated aim of transition to a low carbon economy and this seems to conflict with this vision

Spatial Option 4b – Development of a 4,000-house development at Towcester South

No part of this proposal considers the knock-on effect of traffic along the A5. As WNC recognises, most commuter traffic heads south towards Milton Keynes, via the ‘pinch point’ of the Old Stratford Roundabout. Perhaps some of the investment proposed could be invested in improved local bus services, cycleways and footpaths? Sustainability and the environment appear to be a big issue since the increased traffic will impact on the Old Stratford Roundabout. Why has WNC proposed to allocate one third of its housing requirement along a 7-mile stretch of the A5? 

Other sites

There are better, more sustainable sites elsewhere. Northampton already has the transport infrastructure to absorb a growing population. Long Buckby has a railway station.

Email your concerns direct to: strategicplan@westnorthants.gov.uk

OR

Fill in the online form here: westnorthantsplan.inconsult.uk/WNSPOptions/respondByQuestionnaire

You do NOT need to answer every question.

DEADLINE FOR RESPONSES: 24 DECEMBER 2021

Public Meeting 26th November

The Parish Council will host a public meeting on Friday 26 November at 7.30pm in the Village Hall to enable residents to discuss West Northamptonshire’s Strategic Plan.

It includes a proposal to build 6,000 houses north of the Old Stratford roundabout, a scheme which the Parish Council believes is seriously flawed. We are working with our colleagues in Yardley Gobion, Deanshanger, Wicken, Cosgrove and Old Stratford to co-ordinate a local response.

The meeting will be an opportunity for residents to pass on their views to the parish council and our local unitary councillors.

This link https://westnorthantsplan.inconsult.uk/WNSPOptions/consultation includes the plan document, videos of consultation events and the response form (scroll down).

Alternatively, email WNC direct strategicplan@westnorthants.gov.uk  quoting question 28A and ensuring that you include your name and email address.

It is important that as many people as people as possible send in their views before the new deadline of 24 December 2021.

LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS – HAVE YOUR SAY!

Potterspury Parish Council last night agreed to work together with the other local parishes in the area to oppose the plans by West Northants Council (WNC) to locate 6,000 houses alongside Old Stratford Roundabout. The new WNC strategic plan, that will guide development up to 2050, considers an option to locate 6,000 houses right alongside the already congested Old Stratford Roundabout. The roundabout (A5/A422/A508 interchange) is part of the strategic road network and has already been identified as a transport pinch-point which requires substantial upgrading.

Parish Council Chair Steve Parkin said “Putting a new town bigger than Towcester around an already congested roundabout is surely one of the worst options possible to provide new homes. It would have no real centre and make upgrading the already over capacity roundabout extremely difficult – it’s not a feasible option”.

At a recent meeting our five local parish councils (Cosgrove, Deanshanger, Old Stratford, Potterspury & Yardley Gobion) agreed to work together to oppose the plans by forming the A5 Parish Alliance. They plan to exchange information and urge villagers to respond the WNC Consultation.

Cllr Judith Millidge added “We know from our recent parish plan survey that Potterspury residents value the environment they live in. We urge everyone to examine the WNC proposals and have their say. The Old Stratford part of the plan is Option 5b and Question 28 in the document is the key”.

The options documents published by are WNC are available at https://westnorthantsplan.inconsult.uk/WNSPOptions/consultation

Consultation on the plan now closes on 24th December and the Parish Council are urging all residents to have their say.

The Parish Council’s views and some points to consider in your responses can be seen here.

Residents are urged to complete the WNC consultation paper, or at least respond to Question 28

Do you agree that spatial option 5b – Growth at Milton Keynes North West / Old Stratford – has the potential to support a new settlement?

This link https://westnorthantsplan.inconsult.uk/WNSPOptions/consultation includes the plan document, videos of consultation events and the response form (scroll down).

Alternatively, email WNC direct strategicplan@westnorthants.gov.uk  quoting question 28 and ensuring that you include your name and email address.

It is important that as many people as people as possible send in their views before the new deadline of 24 December 2021.

Parish Councillor Vacancy

Expressions of interest / applications are welcomed from anyone aged 18 years of age or over – British, Irish, Commonwealth – resident in Potterspury for 12 months – on the Electoral Register.

As a Councillor representing your community you will help to keep it a great place to live and work.

You will be supported and expected to undertake training. You should be comfortable working electronically with the use of a home computer.

You should have a positive outlook and a can-do attitude and be willing to work as part of a team.

If you are interested in joining the Council, please contact the Clerk, Jane Spence for more information, by email at clerk@potterspurypc.org.uk or by phone 01604 587265.


The Parish Council meets at 7:30pm on the second Wednesday of each month (not August) in the Village Hall.

Applications should be submitted by email to the Clerk
clerk@potterspurypc.org.uk no later than 5:00pm on Monday 22 November 2021

Grounds Maintenance Contract 2022

TENDERS are invited for grass mowing, strimming, tree & shrub maintenance and herbicide spraying in Potterspury 2022 with a possible extension to three years.

To request a tender pack, please email or phone the Parish Clerk:
clerk@potterspurypc.org.uk ~ 01604 587265

Tender packs will only be sent out by email.

CLOSING DATE FOR RETURN OF COMPLETED TENDERS
14:00 hours WEDNESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2021
to be emailed to clerk@potterspurypc.org.uk

Response to the Oxford-Cambridge Arc

RESPONSE TO Creating a Vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc

Potterspury is a village of some 1,500 inhabitants located in the south of West Northamptonshire Council, situated between Stony Stratford (Milton Keynes) and Towcester (West Northamptonshire) on the A5. Some of our parish contains parts of the ancient forest of Whittlewood. 

Given the scale of ambitions for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and the lack of detail as yet, we can only comment in broad terms.

1. Connectivity

Potterspury is not specifically mentioned within this consultation, but we assume that the Oxford-Cambridge Arc scheme is being coordinated with the plans for MK 2050, in which speculative proposals for a transport hub are centred on Potterspury. Potterspury is not in the area of Milton Keynes Council.

Located as it is alongside the A5, Potterspury is some 2 miles north of the Old Stratford junction between the A5, A508 and A421 and is already adversely affected by the increase in commuter traffic on the north-south route between Milton Keynes and points north.

We are also adversely affected by long-distance north-south traffic that is often diverted onto the A5 and A508 from the M1. This is not always a direct result of the road improvements programme. 

2. Environment

We applaud the environmental concerns that feature so prominently in the consultation document and hope that these concerns are translated into environmentally sensitive actions.

3. Economy

We appreciate the ambitions to improve the local economy by the creation of jobs and hope for initiatives to increase the skills of our local workforce.

4. Housing and transport

We note the statistics about the housing deficit across the region. 

We hope that local villages and small hamlets will not be overwhelmed by crass over-development, ill-thought-out schemes and a lack of infrastructure. Over-reliance on private transport in this area has blighted many communities.

South Northamptonshire is a largely rural area and while we acknowledge the need for economic sustainability and a local housing supply that will fulfil future needs, we hope that planners will also consider the wishes of local people who have chosen to live in rural communities rather than urban or suburban ones. 

5. Sustainability

The sustainability appraisal should include the historic environment. For example, there is a strong economic driver in our area based on the leisure and tourism by use of our historic canal network by all sections of the community. There are similar other “treasures” that need to be  considered.

6. Please note that the wishes of the residents of Potterspury are clearly set out in our Parish Plan (www.potterspurypc.org.uk)

Potterspury Community Awards 2021

The Parish Council awards the Community Shield every year to groups or individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the village. 2020 was an extraordinary year, and so many people in the village faced the challenges of Covid by supporting their vulnerable neighbours and helping out in the community. Following nominations by village residents, the Parish Council wanted to recognise several community champions this year.

We were delighted to award the Community Shield today to Vik and Krishna of Cottage Stores. They worked tirelessly to keep Potterspury provisioned during the strange days and weeks early in the Covid crisis and to ensure that groceries reached the most vulnerable in our community.

Another vital part of the Covid response was the team of community volunteers. Emma James and Kate Morris helped to set up and co-ordinate the volunteers, who all did so much to support those who were shielding during the first lockdown.

It seems incredible that we have survived two locked down Easters, but thanks to Emily Kent, we all emerged smiling. In her guise as the Easter Bunny, Emily hopped through the village in both 2020 and 2021. Emily is also the admin of the Potterspury News FB page and ensures that we all have a reliable source of local information,  Finally, Claire Eggleton set up a jigsaw library and supported many older residents throughout lockdown.

Our village would be a poorer place without all of these wonderful people ­– thank you to them all for everything they did and continue to do for Potterspury.

MK 2050 and Potterspury

In January 2020 we received news of Milton Keynes’ Council draft consultation for the expansion of the town over next 30 years: MK 2050, details of which are on their website.

Note that we received this news not from our own district council or even Milton Keynes Council, but from our neighbours in Castlethorpe.

Consultation meetings with parishes were rather belatedly booked for early March 2020 and – you can guess the rest. Covid intervened.

To cut a long story short, Milton Keynes Strategy for 2050 has now been adopted by MK Council. What worries many communities on the fringes of the town is that the plans include development in neighbouring local authorities.

Potterspury, or ‘Area 11’ as it is designated in some documents, is promised a new housing development to the south of the village, and the terminus to a new mass rapid transit system, as well as a park and ride car park. The Parish Council studied the Evidence Documents and responded to MK council with our feedback in May 2020.

Read the Parish Council response here.

We have been dismayed by the apparent lack of engagement and paucity of information for parishes from South Northants District Council. We have requested information from them as to their response on a number of occasions. We hope that the new West Northamptonshire District Council will engage with us more strongly.

We are grateful to former District Councillors Allen Walker and Abigail Medina who have pursued the issue at SNC. The response from SNC was as follows:

‘Yes, the MK 2050 is something that we at SNC and our colleagues at the West Northants Joint Planning Unit are aware of. It is a piece of work that Milton Keynes have kept us abreast of as part of our duty to cooperate discussions during which we identified, as they reference in the study, that planning decisions within South Northamptonshire are for South Northamptonshire Council (soon to be West Northamptonshire) to make.
‘As MK say the Strategy does not specify development sites in our area, as the future growth of SNC is a decision for us to make with future development being counted towards our own targets. Any future proposals would need to come through West Northamptonshire’s Local Plan process and would be subject to consultation and discussion. 
‘As you know we are in the process of working up options for the new West Northants Strategic Plan which we hope to be able to consult on late Spring/early Summer [2021]. These options will be based upon evidence gathered by us and will identify development options necessary to address the needs of West Northamptonshire moving forward to the middle of the century.’

In December 2020 Milton Keynes provided a briefing on the final strategy, with two key points that might be a comfort to Potterspury: the map below shows the proposal in our area to be ‘outside of the scope of the Strategy for 2050. However, the PC will maintain a watching brief on the scheme.

Uncontested election 2021

NOTICE OF UNCONTESTED PARISH ELECTION

Election to Potterspury Parish Council is uncontested as insufficient candidates put themselves forward for election. Therefore the 11 persons listed on the attached list have been duly elected for Potterspury.