Three huge blocks of flats that could be the first thing visitors to Corby see when they arrive in the town by train are the subject of a planning row.
Developers are proposing 150 flats on the vacant derelict site in Station Road next to Corby railway station car park and just outside the Old Village Conservation Area.
It would include 60 one-bed flats and 90 two-bed flats.
There would be communal gardens but only 81 car parking spaces are shown on the plans, which are set to go before Corby Borough Council planners soon.
Local people say there are not enough parking spaces and the plans would have an ‘oppressive impact’.
Northamptonshire County Council and police officials have spoken out to raise concerns.
And fire officers are also worried their hoses may not be long enough to reach the furthermost flat on the top floor.
Objecting to the proposals, one local resident said: “We already have people parking inconsiderately on grass verges outside peoples houses restricting views for people trying to get off their drives because they don’t want to pay parking charges. With the station now expanding to two lines there is going to be more traffic using this already busy road and more people leaving their cars on the street.”
Another resident said: “The proposed 150 flats are totally out of keeping with the style, design and type of residences in the area. These appear to look more like commercial units than residential homes. The area has no flats and has mature two or three bedroomed housing, dating from 1890s and 1940s.
“The height of the proposed flats will be an invasion of privacy to the homes along Station Road as they will directly face into their living room and bedroom windows.”
Richard Wilson from Northamptonshire Police said: “It is our impression that designing out crime has not been fully considered.
“For an area to be sustainable,its residents and users need to feel safe and secure when they are going about their daily lives. Failure to provide such an environment will, over time, mean that people will vote with their feet, and crime and anti-social behaviour will thrive.”
His colleague, a fire protection officer, said: “Fire service access requirements may be inadequate.
“As a pump cannot reach the bottom entrance I expect we would enter via the main entrance.
“This gives us an issue with the pure distance from the front door to the furthest flat on the upper most floor, acceptable hose length distances are exceeded very quickly given the length of the building.
“The length of the corridors concerns me as there are no ‘cross corridor’ doors noted which would break up travel distances and also allow for increased time if escaping and a choice of direction of travel.
“All stairs terminate in the actual ground floor corridors, none of them appear to have a door leading direct to ‘fresh air’. So for instance a fire in a flat on the ground floor that breaks out into the corridor or smoke logs the ground floor corridor immediately cuts of escape from all the floors above as it will not matter what stair people exit out of at ground floor they will be entering a corridor compromised by smoke.”
A Northamptonshire County Council commenter said that the proposals should have 514 car parking spaces as opposed to the 81 detailed on the plans, adding: “It can be seen above that the site is woefully under-provisioned on all classes.”
The proposals are from Surrey firm Hecurl - a joint venture between Hector Newton Investment and Development and Curlew Capital. Their design and access statement which has been submitted as part of the plans says: “The application site comprises land which is currently underutilised and no longer sits well with the emerging regeneration of the wider area.
“The proposed residential uses.. would help to provide approximately one-third of Corby’s annual housing target.
“The proposals will deliver a high quality, flagship scheme that is appropriate to the site’s gateway location. This will enhance the character of the area and promote a sense of arrival upon leaving the station.
“The proposed car parking provision of 81 spaces is lower than the County Council Parking Standards guidance, but is higher than the car ownership rate of 0.40 per household, which currently exists for flats,
maisonettes and apartments in Corby.”