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Economic improvements lead to a busy few months

Matt Collerson, a chartered town planner in a thriving development consultancy, reflects on the opportunities on offer across Northamptonshire.

Improvements in the economy mean it has been a very busy few months for Northamptonshire’s development industry.

The volume house builders are really gearing up, both in terms of on-site construction, but also in seeking out new sites and opportunities. Likewise, many landowners and householders are considering the development potential of their own land.

Matt Collerson, a chartered town planner in a thriving development consultancy, reflects on the opportunities on offer across Northamptonshire.

Improvements in the economy mean it has been a very busy few months for Northamptonshire’s development industry.

The volume house builders are really gearing up, both in terms of on-site construction, but also in seeking out new sites and opportunities. Likewise, many landowners and householders are considering the development potential of their own land. This might be for a small housing scheme or even an additional property on garden land.

Now is still a great time to consider bringing a site forward and we are seeing a real upturn in demand for advice on these types of project. There are also opportunities as local authorities are searching for housing sites (typically less than 100 dwellings) to meet targets.

On a more strategic level, while there is still some uncertainty in the supply of housing land for development, there remain opportunities to bring forward new sites within the short term. An election looming in May means the potential window of opportunity might now be narrowing.

On these speculative sites, APC’s recent experience shows that developers are much more likely to be successful if they work with local communities and align their proposals with emerging Neighbourhood Plans, particularly in terms of infrastructure provision.

This approach has enabled us to secure planning permission for 85 dwellings in Moulton and another 280 in Earls Barton within recent months. This also creates an ideal opportunity for proactive town and parish councils to really make their mark on the future of their community.

When it comes to opportunity, developers and businesses are advised to harness the temporary amendments made last year to planning law. This provides a much more relaxed route to securing permission for a full range of developments. This includes barn and office to residential conversions, which were simply not feasible before.

APC is an established, Northampton based practice of chartered town planning consultants and architects, having recently obtained chartered practice status by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). We offer town planning consultancy and architecture services, with particular expertise and experience of working within the county, with its businesses and residents.

Contact APC on 01604 619921, email or visit the website www.consultapc.co.uk