Northampton lift tower seeks abseiling permission

Northampton Lift Tower
Image caption The Grade II-listed tower is adjacent to a housing estate

The owner of the National Lift Tower in Northampton hopes to receive planning permission for its abseiling business.

The 418ft (130m) tower is adjacent to a housing estate and residents have petitioned for a reduction in the number of abseiling events.

The owner, Ed Wright, believes he can now keep spectators "as far away as possible from residents".

Resident Lisa Robinson said "a common sense approach" is needed to balance business and residents' rights.

"Encroaching spectators"

The Grade II-listed National Lift Tower began holding abseiling events in May 2011.

Residents from the surrounding housing estate became concerned about the frequency of the events in the summer months and the noise they generated.

Ms Robinson organised a petition of the estate, which she said "attracted 130 signatures in two hours on a Friday night".

Mr Wright was told by Northampton Borough Council that he needed planning permission to hold abseiling events because it was a change of its use.

He has been granted temporary planning permission which will run out in May.

He said: "The issue for residents was that spectators were encroaching on their property.

"Now all the people are kept on tower property out of the road and as far away as possible from residents."

Ms Robinson said: "I'm very supportive of local charities and of local business but I want a common sense approach to this.

"The tower is on an active roundabout and this is the only route into the estate for a thousand residents, so there is very limited space for spectators on the tower roundabout.

"Events shouldn't be more than twice a month, and not on consecutive weekends, and the council should take responsibility by supplying a PCSO or an official to manage the noise and the crowds."

Northampton Borough Council will decide on 31 May whether to grant the business planning permission.

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