From spires and squires to huts and trucks: consultations start on huge warehouse schemes near Thrapston
The four face-to-face meetings are open to the public
The Upper Nene Valley is under attack - that's the stark message from a village campaign group as they battle two potential warehouse developments close to their rural homes.
In two separate consultations, two different developers will seek the views of residents of Titchmarsh and Thrapston as a total of 289 acres of farmland - the size of 144 football pitches - could be flattened for industry.
With no official plans yet submitted to the local planning authority (North Northants Council) villagers are preparing to fight the proposals by galvanising support from along the Upper Nene Valley and those living in and around the A605 corridor.
Leading the fight is STAUCH (Save Titchmarsh and Upper Nene Countryside and Habitats) who are rallying opposition to 'unwanted and unnecessary industrial units and warehouses' next to the protected wetlands of the Upper Nene Valley.
Chairman of STAUNCH, Kevin Shapland, said: "Northamptonshire used to be known as the county of spires and squires, now it's the county of huts and trucks.
"We're asking people to go to the consultations, look listen and learn about what they are planning. Although they have to be seen as two applications it's about the bigger picture, it's the cumulative effect.
"There will be an increase in traffic through the village, the site borders a site of special scientific interest. People need to object but not on the grounds of the value of their house going down or that it's going to affect their view."
The two proposals would see units built on farmland south of the village, adjacent to the A14 known as Castle Manor Farm, and another on fields between Thrapston and Titchmarsh on glebe land.
Developer Newlands Developments LLP is seeking to obtain planning permission on the Castle Manor Farm site 'for the creation of a high quality and bespoke logistics development' to be known as Equites Park.
The 175 acre site is to the north-east of Junction 13 of the A14 and adjoins the already established Haldens Parkway Industrial Estate on the eastern edge of Thrapston, close to Titchmarsh, that would be accessed via a new roundabout at the junction of Huntingdon Road and Islington Lane.
Developers have said that the proposed development 'will restrict the use of Islington (the lane leading to Titchmarsh) by HGVs, other commercial and non-local traffic via physical measures in response to local concerns'.
Members of the community can meet the developers of the Castle Manor Farm at two planned meetings to give their views. The first meeting will be between 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Thursday, November 18 at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Church Street, Titchmarsh, and from 2.30pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 24 at St James Church Hall, off Church Walk, Thrapston, NN14 4NP.
To take part in the online consultation on the Castle Manor Farm development click here Last year villagers fought the sale of a development option on 114 acres of glebe land by the Diocese of Peterborough to developer IM Properties Developments Limited.
In December, the Diocese of Peterborough Board of Finance went through with the sale against the wishes of the Titchmarsh Parochial Church Council.
Now IM Properties want to create a new business park which would include space for a new facility for DSV on land next to their existing Haldens Parkway HQ and the A605 - not far from Titchmarsh.
DSV, based in the town for four decades, is now looking to create a 'high-quality UK flagship facility to accommodate growth and provide a highly sustainable and efficient new base for its operations' in the town.
Working with property company IM Properties in partnership with DSV, IM Properties has estimated that up to 2,000 jobs could be created across the manufacturing, light industry and logistics sectors.
They also say that the plans would deliver 'attractive, usable, and connected green space' in the area for people to enjoy and to enhance health and wellbeing and also claim that their 'sensitive landscaping strategy' would be developed to deliver 'biodiversity net gain'.
A consultation on the 'glebe' land will run from Monday, November 22, to Sunday, December 19.
Community drop-in events will take place on Saturday, November 27 from 10am to 4pm, at The Clubroom at 19 High Street, Titchmarsh NN14 3DF, and another on Friday, December 10 from 12pm to 8pm at the Plaza Community Centre in Cosy Nook, Thrapston NN14 4PS.
David Smith, planning director at IM Properties, said: “The site has the potential to provide a new, net zero ready space for a local and global company like DSV and also create significant new jobs across the logistics and light industrial market.
“We are in the early stages of developing our proposals and, as a responsible business, we are committed to consulting with local people and stakeholders to gather feedback on our plans, which will help us to shape the best possible scheme.”
STAUNCH has launched an online petition that will be taken to MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove, With the aim of saving the Upper Nene Valley countryside from massive industrialisation, more than 1,020 people have already put their name to the campaign.
The group are engaging the services of a barrister and a specialist planning expert to advise them on the legalities.
Mr Shapland said: "We're trying to take a rational approach. It's all about appropriateness. I'm not anti-development. As consumers we've only got ourselves to blame getting everything delivered to our doors. The fact that they say there will be 4,700 jobs created - but where is the need? Where will the people come from to fill those jobs? Peterborough and Corby and they will have to come by car because there is no public transport.
"It's about the bigger picture especially in the light of COP26 - we've got to look after the land.
"None of us are planning experts but we're going to be ready for when the planning applications are submitted."
A public meeting will be hosted by STAUNCH in Titchmarsh on December 7 at 7.30pm at The Clubroom in High Street to update residents.