Special report: Kettering East development

The Kettering East development
The Kettering East development

Millions of pounds in funding which will help the Kettering East development get off the ground has been released by the Government.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced last week that £14.5m was being given to the project in order to develop the first 1,750 new homes.

The money will help pay for key access road infrastructure, sewerage works and other site preparation to enable the first phase of the development to get under way.

Alan Wordie, from developers Alledge Brook, said the cash boost was good news as it effectively gave the green light for work to begin on the site’s new primary school, on local roads and on drainage and sewerage.

The primary school has to be in place before the first 300 homes in Kettering East are occupied, and it will be open in time for the 2015-16 academic year.

Further triggers are in place for various other parts of the development, including the health centre.

Mr Wordie, who has been involved with the project since 2006, said: “In the next 12 to 14 months we will start to see a transformation of the site.

“When people come to invest in Kettering they will be able to stand on roads and see where they want to put things, rather than looking at plans in my office.

“The change, to me, comes from the fact we have been looking at this in two dimensions. At last we will be able to start looking at it in three dimensions. This is a good day for Kettering.

“It’s the wider town, not just the development, which will benefit from all this.”

Work is set to swing into action in the next few months, with the construction of the internal roads and the primary school starting by September.

And Mr Wordie added: “David Wilson Homes are looking to be constructing houses this autumn, with a view to having them on the market in nine months’ time.”

Martin Hammond, deputy chief executive of Kettering Council, also welcomed the Government announcement.

He said: “This is a way to make sure the development can get started. It means we can get the first few hundred houses away. Without the money there would have been some difficulties – this money is crucial.”

Communities secretary Eric Pickles, who made the announcement, said: “The resurgence in house building is clear evidence that the Government’s long-term economic plan is working, but there is still more to do.

“The investment we’re announcing today will help us meet this challenge by driving up the supply of new homes in every corner of the housing market. From new places for rent to people designing to those building their own properties – we will support and deliver the homes this country needs.”

Kettering East will bring a total of 5,500 new homes to the borough, but campaigners have warned over both the loss of countryside and the need for roads to be improved to deal with Kettering East and the nearby energy park.

The Government cash comes from the Local Infrastructure Fund, with schemes invited to bid for cash.

Renewed calls for A14 junction

Calls for funding for an extra junction on the A14 known as junction 10A have been stepped up in recent weeks.

In a speech in Parliament, Kettering MP Philip Hollobone said the Government needed to commit to funding the junction – which comes with an estimated price tag of £39m – by the end of the decade.

Kettering Council’s planning committee will this week decide on a range of measures, one of which would mean junction 10A would not have to be built until 2,700 Kettering East homes were occupied.

Previously, the trigger was 1,750 homes.

Writing for the Northants Telegraph, the Rev Dr John Smith, who lives adjacent to the development site, said: “That means at least 2,700 cars, possibly 5,000 cars, will be travelling on existing roads through Kettering until this is done.”

Kettering Council’s deputy chief executive Martin Hammond said funding for the junction was needed from a variety of sources.

He added: “We don’t need the junction for at least six years and probably a bit longer. What we are all after is an indication at least some funds will be there so everyone’s got confidence in being able to plan it.”