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Development (Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire)

Volume 532: debated on Monday 5 September 2011

The Humble Petition of residents of Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire and the surrounding areas


that the Petitioners believe that the application to build 115 new houses at the north end of Station road in Higham Ferrers will put intolerable pressure on public services and local infrastructure, in particular the A6/A45 junction at Chowns Mill which is already severely congested, pressure on already overcrowded schools, demands on public transport which is already inadequate, additional burdens on the already hard pressed on the local NHS; that the application should not be approved until significant improvements have been made in local infrastructure.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to liaise with Secretary of State for Transport and East Northamptonshire District Council and Higham Ferrers Parish Council to find a solution to the overdevelopment of Higham Ferrers and lack of infrastructure.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.—[Presented by Mr Peter Bone, Official Report, 19 July 2011; Vol. 531, c. 7P.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, received 18 August 2011:

East Northamptonshire District Council is responsible for the day-to-day planning control in their areas, and the Secretary of State cannot comment on the merits or otherwise of any planning application. The Government’s policy is not to interfere with the jurisdiction of a local planning authority unless it is necessary to do so. This is because local authority councillors are elected to represent the views of local people and, in the main, it is these councillors who are in the best position to decide whether a development should go ahead.

In determining a planning application the local planning authority is required to have regard to all material considerations including the development plan, national policies and views expressed by third parties.

In relation to the perceived lack of infrastructure, petitioners may wish to make enquiries of the local authority about whether a planning obligation is being negotiated. Planning obligations are private agreements between local planning authorities and persons with an interest in the land (usually developers), in order to make developments acceptable in planning terms. Policy on the use of planning obligations is set out in Circular 5/05.

Petitioners will also be interested in the details of the Community Infrastructure Levy, which came into force in April 2010. This will allow local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from developers undertaking new building projects in their area. The money can be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure that is needed as a result of development. This includes transport schemes, flood defences, schools, hospitals and other health and social care facilities, parks, green spaces and leisure centres.

Further details on planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government website: