The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation has controversially approved its own plans for a £6.5 million “Innovation Centre”, otherwise known as the Cube because of its squat uninspiring design.
Whilst we are in support, in principle to the potential creation of such a large amount of jobs to be created on our doorstep and in the principle of Social Enterprise, we are appalled and deeply concerned by the principle of no parking will be provided on site. We are equally appalled and deeply concerned that this association has not been consulted on these plans, particularly as the WNDC are our neighbours and should be all too aware of our existence and that, St. James and its legendary parking issues have not been taken into account within this application. The notion that it is deemed “acceptable” for no parking to be provided is astonishing, even more astonishing is that users of this building are expected to use public car parks and the railway station car park. Whilst it is laudable and understandable that such a model is an aspiration, in reality it does not work. Planning offices throughout the country have passed applications on the assumption that people will walk or use public transport to access facilities or buildings. The reality is something quite different and we only have to look up the road at the Life building development to see this. Here too it was stated that residents would be walking to work, the shops or using public transport as a reason to approve. The vast majority of residents use cars! We know because we live here! The very same problem will occur with this application for the following reasons; SJRA Comment
“The news that WNDC’s has approved its own Innovation Centre on Black Lion Hill is of great concern to the long suffering residents of St. James.
The assumption by the planning department at WNDC that the parking arrangements are acceptable is bizarre. It certainly isn’t acceptable to residents of St. James - none of whom have been consulted on this proposal.
The application only considers parking issues on Green St, conveniently ignoring several facts. Whilst it is laudable and desirable for everyone to use a sustainable transport model to get to work, it is totally unrealistic to assume that people will do so; it’s completely preposterous to assume that if they do drive they will pay to use the inflated prices at the station or the public car parks.
What is not sustainable, however, is the assumption that anyone will actually find a car park space at the station, let alone the public car parks. Jimmy’s Enders know the truth of what will happen; commuters will not pay the high charges, and will join the others who work in town and park in the back streets of St. James.
At meetings, continually residents complain of their streets being clogged with commuter parking and have requested many times that the County Council impose parking restrictions, these are all but ignored. Inconsiderate and dangerous parking are part of the parking nightmare that is St. James.
So, just how does this fit into the overall plan for managing parking in the area? Is there such a plan, or can every building in the “Waterside” area have only three spaces?
Quite how an unelected quango, that is due to be wound up, can continue passing planning applications submitted by itself to the detriment of people it has not even consulted is unacceptable.
John Connolly, Chair
Graham Croucher, Secretary
St. James Residents Association