Kettering flats plan approved despite over-development fears

The plan was approved last night

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 4:45 pm
An artist's impression of the site, seen from the corner of Montagu Street and Eskdaill Street.

A plan to build 24 flats in Kettering has been given the go-ahead despite concerns of some councillors of overcrowding and over-development.

Kettering Council’s planning committee yesterday (March 16) granted the application for the Action House site in Montagu Street, subject to a Section 106 agreement.

Five councillors voted in favour of the application and three against.

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The application involves the partial demolition of the existing 1970s buildings to the front and the full demolition of the warehouse unit to the rear.

A three-storey building would then be erected to provide ground-floor retail space fronting Montagu Street and 18 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom flats, with 21 car parking spaces.

Kettering Civic Society objected to the development on several grounds including the effect on residents in Eden Street such as overshadowing of homes, loss of privacy for residents, noise and lack of parking.

The site lies adjacent to the Kettering Town Centre Conservation Area.

Val Coleby, a planning consultant, in speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the scheme is a replacement building designed to better suit the site in its location.

She said: “The report before you concludes that the proposal would make a positive contribution to the setting of the conservation area and is consistent in scale and design with the surrounding form.

“Clearly I agree with your officers’ view and as a local resident myself, I would be delighted to see this part of the town improved.”

Cllr Lesley Thurland, who voted against the application, raised concerns about safety in relation to cars parking on Eden Street, increase in air pollution and noise generated from balconies on the flats.

She said: “I think this is over-development, with Eden Street being blighted as it is from the other set of flats and it’s only going to compound the issues.”

Cllr Jan O’Hara, who voted against, said: “I think the application aesthetically looks fine but in use I don’t think it will be. I think there’s too much of a density of flats in terms of the size of the flats for the amount of people that are going to be living there.

“The living space that they’ve got – I just don’t think it’s enough. There isn’t any community space whatsoever.”

Cllr O’Hara went on to say she was concerned about the number of cars coming out into a busy street which she called an “accident waiting to happen.”

Cllr David Howes, who voted in favour, said: “The design has got its issues but on balance it’s 100 times better than what’s there at the minute. So I can’t really fault that.

“My only issue is the car parking. I appreciate we’ve got in front of us something that the officers are obviously suggesting is legal and recommended but it does seem extremely tight and we’re trying to create areas where people can park.

“And I just think you’re going to get overspill parking in years to come all over the place because obviously those flats are not going to provide enough. And it’s just a shame that we have to accept that.”

Cllr Linda Adams, who voted in favour, said she had concerns about the amount of traffic in the area and the number of flats being built.

She said: “What was built in the 70s, we are looking at now and saying how horrific it is and I just wonder in the future what somebody’s going to look at and think what on earth did they put that amount of flats into that area for.”

She added: “It seems like all the builders are going for the maximum that they can fit on to the smallest plot of land.”

A Section 106 agreement for £190,616 was drafted to ensure the scheme is acceptable in planning terms with contributions towards education, library services and public open space.

Sol Buckner, Local Democracy Reporting Service