West Northamptonshire villagers fear house developments

More than 20,000 houses are to be built in west Northamptonshire over the next few years and many villagers fear their communities will be swamped.

Many homes will be "affordable", but campaigners say it is the amount of housing that is the issue.

They also fear the demand for houses is going to encroach on green belt land and destroy the countryside.

New building will increase the size of Daventry by a third, Inside Out in the East has discovered.

It will also see the most significant development of Northampton since the 1970s.

Northampton Borough Council and Daventry District Council say the 20,000 houses are needed by 2026 to meet housing need and bring jobs and investment to the area.

But Jo Wilson has lived for 13 years in Moulton, a village near Daventry with a population of about 3,000, and she is unhappy about the scale of development.

"They are trying to shoehorn large developments of 150 houses plus into small rural communities like ours," she said.

"We are constantly fighting development."

Listening to concerns

John Day, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is concerned about pockets of development in the villages.

"One site is approved for 38 houses and on the other side of the village 158," he said.

He sees the numbers mounting up in small communities and swamping villages that may become part of larger towns like Northampton and Daventry.

Mr Day said: "It's easier to build on green fields than on brownfield sites but we need to protect the countryside and this comes first."

Leader of Conservative-controlled Northampton Borough Council, David Mackintosh, said they were listening to the concerns of village residents.

He said: "It's about getting the balance right between affordable housing and the growing numbers - jobs and the investment we need to bring here."

Cannot afford home

Mr Mackintosh believes the planning process should continue despite the current economic climate and is pleased at the numbers of affordable homes.

"There were 641 built last year and 939 planned for this year. These are starting to make a bit of a difference," he said.

Kate Perceval and her fiancé Joe Britton have moved into a shared ownership home and will own 25% of it.

She said: "It has worked out quite well for us. Without it we would never have been owning our own house.

"We were originally going to rent but this was so much more we decided to do a bit of both."

However, for teacher Carly Pitman, who rents a flat with her boyfriend the picture is different.

"People are surprised to find I have been teaching for four years and am still not able to afford to buy a home.

"I would say a lot of professionals are in a similar situation because of student debt and the cost of rent and just living at the moment."

Inside Out in the East is broadcast on Monday at 19:30 GMT on BBC1

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