New public consultation opens for rural Kettering Energy Park which would be bigger than Burton Latimer

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Kettering Energy Park would be 2.5 miles wide and cover the area of 550 football pitches

Residents living near the site of a proposed industrial development close to Burton Latimer and Finedon have been invited to have their say on revised plans for the Kettering Energy Park.

In April 2023, a consultation asked for views on an initial draft masterplan for the sprawling site at Burton Wold that covers 445 hectares – the equivalent of 550 football pitches.

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It would be visible from surrounding towns and villages at least 7km away and proposals have been set out in a revised masterplan for a large solar farm with energy infrastructure, a new site access roundabout, industrial units and hydroponic ‘advanced agriculture’ greenhouses.

An artist's impression of the proposed Kettering Energy Park and a plan of the site/ First Renewable DevelopmentsAn artist's impression of the proposed Kettering Energy Park and a plan of the site/ First Renewable Developments
An artist's impression of the proposed Kettering Energy Park and a plan of the site/ First Renewable Developments

Kettering Energy Park’s backers First Renewable Developments will hold a public engagement event on Saturday, April 20, between 10am and 1pm in Finedon.

Consultation feedback was mainly negative, with more than 2,300 people signing a petition against the plans accusing the development of ‘greenwashing’.

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Kettering energy park development could bring 5,500 jobs

The revised proposal said: “Feedback from the consultation period has been reviewed by the project team and North Northamptonshire Council (NNC).

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A plan of the site/ First Renewable DevelopmentsA plan of the site/ First Renewable Developments
A plan of the site/ First Renewable Developments

"The masterplan has now been updated to take account of comments made during this consultation. A number of key changes have now been made to the masterplan, which can be summarised as follows:

• Reduction in the amount of employment floorspace that can be developed from 390,000 sq m to about 302,000 sq m

• Amendment to the mix of uses to reduce the maximum amount of B8 floorspace that can be provided to 50 per cent

• Reduction in maxim (sic) height of new buildings from 30m to 25m

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Photos showing the scale of the proposed Kettering Energy Park / First Renewable DevelopmentsPhotos showing the scale of the proposed Kettering Energy Park / First Renewable Developments
Photos showing the scale of the proposed Kettering Energy Park / First Renewable Developments

• Further reduction in scale of development opposite the Round House building

• Increased amount of land available for energy infrastructure

• Amendment to the energy criteria to require new businesses coming to the site to comply with all three of the criteria.”

Within the documents setting out the plan, First Renewable Developments say that business rates of ‘circa £6m per annum’ could be paid to NNC should the development go ahead.

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The First Renewable Developments document said: "The commitment of the private sector to the development at Kettering means there is no need for subsidies. First Renewable and its partners can provide 100 per cent of the necessary funds.”

The company has committed £40m to provide the enabling infrastructure for the Energy Park, that could boost the local economy by ‘£129 million per annum’ through ‘wages’.

They estimate that the energy park will support about 4,000 jobs within ‘B2 operations’ – light industry – and about 1,600 jobs within ‘Class B8 operations’ – warehouse jobs.

Burton Wold has been identified in the Joint Core Strategy (or Local Plan) for north Northamptonshire, as the main area of local opportunity for an ‘energy park’.

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The masterplan is currently subject to a six-week public consultation which runs up until May 15, 2024.

Residents can attend a public engagement event on Saturday, April 20, between 10am and 1pm at Finedon Community Sports and Leisure Centre in Wellingborough Road, or feedback can be given via a form at https://ketteringenergypark.co.uk/contact/

Energy park proposals can be viewed at the event where representatives of the developers and officers from North Northamptonshire Council will be available.

Following the six-week consultation on the masterplan the findings will be reported back to the NNC’s Planning Communities Executive Advisory Panel. After that First Renewable Developments, as site promoters, will submit planning applications to the council for its consideration.

Once a planning application has been received by NNC, the application will face further statutory public consultation.

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