This press release appeared in the Buckingham Advertiser on 13 January.
The ancient village church of St Nicholas in Potterspury was full to overflowing on Thursday 8 January as more than 220 residents attended an Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting.
Villagers are worried by Gladman Developments’ application to build 195 new houses on fields on the edge of the village.
The site is in open countryside and the plans would increase the size of Potterspury by 46%, adding some 500 new inhabitants.
Residents questioned whether the village infrastructure could cope. They voiced concerns about increasing levels of traffic on narrow village roads, the problem of accessing the A5 during peak commuter hours and the safety of local children. They also discussed drainage and the delicate matter of whether the ageing village sewers could cope with the strain of 195 new homes. John Hellins Primary, the popular local school, would also struggle to absorb a significant increase in pupil numbers.2 Perhaps the most troubling aspect is that the access to the new housing is sited across a flood plain and the area of the development has flooded several times in the last two decades, most recently in 2013.
Aside from the very real practical problems thrown up by this proposal, Potterspury Parish Council has recently approved a Parish Plan after a lengthy period of consultation with village residents. The plan states that development should be restricted to small developments of fewer than 15 houses.
The people of Potterspury are determined to resist this planning application but there is a very real feeling that the village, like dozens of others around the country are pawns in the competition between developers and local authority housing quotas. A residents’ group has been formed to fight the application and over 50 letters of objection have already been lodged with South Northamptonshire Council.
One parish councillor said, ‘We are not ‘nimbys’. We have already absorbed significant development and helped provide affordable homes for local people. We know that over time we must accept some more, but this is the wrong scheme, in the wrong place, at the wrong time’.