Planning for huge warehouse did not comply with law

The decision to grant planning permission for a huge warehouse next to people’s homes did not comply with the law, an investigation has found.

An internal review was carried out into North Northamptonshire Council’s approval of the development in Corby.

Rather than consulting residents in Hooke Road - next to the construction site - planning officers mistakenly went to Hubble Road, about half a mile (about 750m) away.

Leader of the council Jason Smithers admitted “a significant step change” was needed within the planning process.

The report delivered by the Conservative leader included a series of recommendations, such as a new planning improvement board.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that work began on a 160,800sq ft warehouse on the former Weetabix site, despite local people not being properly consulted.

Permission for the site was granted by the council in 2022, but it was only after the 60ft metal frame was built and people complained that the council noticed its blunder.

Residents said they were furious and felt let down by the council, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Georgie Wallis, of Hooke Close, said: "If I was consulted, I would have objected, like many others.

"It’s active and noisy right now. What’s it going to be like when it’s a 24/7 operation?"

Georgie Wallis
Georgie Wallis has started a social media campaign to protest against the construction of the warehouse [BBC]

Mr Smithers told councillors he had “made a commitment” to some of the residents that he would present a paper detailing what happened along with improvement plans to prevent a similar occurrence.

“I want to also apologise again for the errors that were made," he said.

"I recognise that we have a lot of hardworking officers across the teams. However, there is no doubt in my mind that there is still lots more to be done [to] have in place an exemplar planning service."

Labour member Anne Lee expressed concerns about the new board, and queried whether it was more than a “face-saving exercise”.

But fellow Labour councillor Mark Pengelly welcomed the report and praised the “very good” internal investigation.

“We have to do something. We now have to look at the failings of our planning department and put them right," he said.

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