Talks over town’s growth to be held

Alan Piggot, chairman of the Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce, will meet council officials tomorrow
Alan Piggot, chairman of the Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce, will meet council officials tomorrow
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Talks will be held by business leaders and council officials tomorrow following a dispute over future growth in Wellingborough.

Council leader Paul Bell will hold talks with Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce president Alan Piggot after the chamber’s public criticism of the council’s decision to limit the number of new homes being built.

The council’s development committee recently agreed to a target of 300 new homes a year in order to prevent empty, unsold houses and development in unsuitable areas, but the chamber believes the figure needs to be higher in order to attract new businesses and employers.

Chamber chairman Alan Piggot said: “I am delighted that the council has called the meeting.

“It will be a good opportunity for us to get around the table. Hopefully we will be able to find some common ground that we can find a satisfactory answer to the questions that we put to the councillors.”

Cllr Barry Graves and development committee chairman Cllr Graham Lawman will also attend the meeting.

Cllr Bell said: “We need to set realistic targets. We have to take into account the current state of the economy and the provision of funding for infrastructure such as roads, doctors, schools shops, sports facilities and so on.

“If we set our targets too high, and can’t demonstrate that we’re achieving them, then the way is open for speculative developers to put forward planning applications in areas that aren’t in our local plan.

“We want to meet with the Chamber of Commerce to explain this reasoning and discuss their concerns face to face, which is why we’ve invited them to the council offices on Thursday.

“People will always have different opinions and we welcome debate and challenge, but we’ve always said that we would prefer people to come and talk to us.”