Planning powers 'may return to Northampton council'

Planning decisions on larger housing projects could be transferred back to Northampton Borough Council (NBC) following a government review.

The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) was given overall planning responsibility for developing homes, jobs and investment.

However, a review decided the council was capable of processing applications for projects up to 199 units.

A council meeting on 15 September will make the final decision on the move.

WNDC will still focus on housing projects which involve more than 200 units.

The government review said planning powers should return to local authorities on a phased and managed basis.

WNDC chief executive Peter Mawson said: "These changes will help us focus our resources where they're needed most.

"We asked for these changes in 2009 and are pleased that the process is moving forward.

"We will ensure that the transfer is carefully managed so it does not have a negative impact on the local planning service"

Richard Church, Northampton's cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said: "Decisions about the future of our town need to be in the hands of locally-elected councils.

"Over the next few months we will be working closely with WNDC to make this change as smooth as possible."

During the next two months, Daventry District Council, South Northamptonshire Council and Northamptonshire County Council will also consider the transfer of planning powers.

The government will then pass legislation to amend WNDC's responsibilities and return powers to the local authorities.

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