Dr John Smith: What’s going on - in plain English

Warkton fields looking towards Stamford Rd Kettering where Kettering East development will be. Medieval field patterns shown by the low winter sun 'Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Warkton fields looking towards Stamford Rd Kettering where Kettering East development will be. Medieval field patterns shown by the low winter sun 'Tuesday, 16 November 2010

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Have your say

I am, I hope, a reasonably intelligent man.

But I fail to understand barely a word in letters that I have received, almost weekly, from Kettering Council relating to the planning application for the East Kettering development.

I receive these letters, to which I am invited to respond because our garden abutts the development site.

The 5,000 homes that nobody wants which, strangely enough, in principle I have no objection to because this country needs more houses.

Let me return to these letters and my intelligent mind. Let me give you a taste of one I received last week.

“Proposal: s73 Application: Variation of Condition 5 (MP/other plans/documents), 12 (employment), 21 (Local centres)....”. And so it goes on to say that this is a subsequent application in respect of KET/2008/0274 that I am being renotified of because of amended information. Later there is mention of a change from a phase 3 delivery to 2 phases. Do you get the picture? Do you understand any of this? Do you have a store of relevant files so that you can refer back to KET/2008/0274? Do you have the time to view online or go into the council offices where they will try to resolve queries? I am genuinely pleased that they involve us and that legally they must do it this way. But, in addition, there needs to be something user-friendly in plain English and with comments explaining how this will affect you and me, the advantages and disadvantages. We get none of this and we should.

Later on in the last letter I received, the council offered a translation service. We all need one because the present unintelligible system gives us a great disservice.

There was just one sentence that I did understand. A new junction (10A) is going to be built on the A14 to accommodate the extra traffic.

This will now NOT be done until 2,700 dwellings instead of 1,750 have been occupied. That means at least 2,700 cars, possibly 5,000 cars, will be travelling on existing roads through Kettering until this is done.

Infrastructure needs to come first, and until it does it is the people of Northamptonshire who will come last.