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Update on Stanton Cross development, Wellingborough

Planning and building control

30 March 2023

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Following the meeting between myself, as Leader of North Northamptonshire Council and Stanton Cross Development LLP at which it was agreed to temporarily pause the current works to enable wider community engagement, the council is aware that the developers held a well-attended community engagement event on Thursday, 23 March 2023.

The council understands that following the community engagement event, there remains some questions regarding the lawfulness of the works undertaken by the developer that were not fully addressed by the content of the developer’s event.

The council maintains its position, as set out in our original statement that the developers, Stanton Cross Developments LLP, benefit from a lawful exemption to the Tree Preservation Order that enables the removal of trees at the London Road / The Walks area in order to develop Route 2 of the Stanton Cross Sustainable Urban Extension.

The original outline planning permission for the Stanton Cross Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE) (Reference WP/2004/0600) was approved by the Borough Council of Wellingborough (BCW) on the 28 January 2008. This application included the proposals for Route 2 and identified the necessity for the removal of the trees associated with these works. 

Although the planning information relating to the Stanton Cross SUE is publicly available on the Council’s website, for clarity the minutes of the committee meeting relating to the WP/2004/0600 permission and the Decision Notice issued by BCW are available in the attached documents (Document 1 and 2).
As a part of the planning permission granted in January 2008, BCW approved the detailed design for Route 2 in full. This was made clear in Section 3 of the Committee Report which although not accessible online, is available through the attached documents (Document 3).
The element of Route 2 relating to the roundabout design at London Road, which clearly shows the approved design overlaid on the existing highway can be seen on the Detailed Layout Plan in the attached documents (Document 4).
Also submitted in support of the 2004 planning application to BCW was an Environmental Statement, updated in 2005. Within this, Section 9 clearly identifies the significant tree loss associated with the proposals. This is available through the attached documents (Document 5).
Most pertinent within this Statement is Section 9.1.46, which says:

"However, whilst the scheme seeks to retain mature trees where possible, some tree loss is inevitable. Overall, implementation of the Masterplan will result in the loss of approximately 50% of mature trees across the assessment site. The largest areas of loss are due to the following:

• The realignment of the River Ise corridor
• The widening of the A510 / development of roundabout to serve Route 6 (Northern Access Road)
• Development of Route 4 (Midland Road extension and causeway development)
• The necessary infrastructure requirements of Route 2 (Southern Access Road) requiring significant tree loss at London Road, the Embankment and across the dismantled railway
• Creation of Flood Risk Alleviation Areas to the west of Ditchford Bridge, and to the east of Irthlingborough Road.”

Since that time there have been a large number of more detailed applications, including Variations and Reserved Matters Applications (RMA’s) approved against the original outline permission. The most recent planning permission to which Route 2 relates was granted by BCW’s Planning Committee (Ref. WP/15/00605/VAR). The permission was issued on 6 February 2017 as a variation of the earlier WP/2004/0600 application and is the permission being implemented by the developer. The decision notice and minutes of this meeting are available in the attached documents (Documents 6 and 7)
Given that planning permission was granted by BCW for the full detailed design of Route 2, the developer benefits from an exemption to the TPO regulations. The preparatory works to remove the trees from this location are necessary in order to implement their permission and develop Route 2. Further drawings submitted by the developer to progress the emerging agreement under Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 (S278) with the Council identify the location of trees in relation to the approved detailed design and proposed utilities. Although this drawing is in draft as a part of the emerging s278 agreement, it provides an additional level of detail that shows the relationship between the approved design for the new roundabout arrangement on Route 2 and the existing trees. This drawing is attached (Document 8)
In terms of Bird Nesting Season: Condition 31 of the planning permission for the Stanton Cross SUE requires that no works to trees should be carried out by the developer during the UK bird nesting season. This period runs from the 1 March to the 31 July and as such, the Council would not expect the developer to undertake any works to the trees located at the Walks / London Road during this period. Nesting birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which is the responsibility of the Police to enforce.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the NNC officers that have worked extremely hard and diligently on this matter, reviewing the various historical documents and previous decisions made by BCW, to reach this point.
Councillor Jason Smithers, Leader, North Northamptonshire Council