It was nearly 10 years ago that South Northants Council delivered its Masterplan for the development of Brackley up to 2026. Some of the key aims were to:
– regenerate the town centre whilst conserving the historical heritage;
– build 2,000 high quality, sustainable new homes mostly to the north of the town whilst integrating the urban expansion with the old town community
– attract new business and secure in excess of 2,000 new jobs;
– provide a range of high quality community, education, recreation, leisure and swimming facilities;
Well everybody has a view about the plan and its progress and whether the right priorities are being addressed but looking at it objectively (which we have to do as a communications platform for the whole community) we’ve got to say that substantial steps have been taken towards its completion.
In the Town Market Place for example we have seen the successful restoration of the Town Hall, hundreds of jobs have been created at the Mercedes factory and other new businesses attracted to the town, a new leisure centre has been opened and the recreational space created around St James Lake has become an extremely popular feature.
But right now we wanted to focus specifically on where the most dramatic changes have taken place – on the new developments at the top of the town.
Most obviously there has been undeniable progress on the housing front with around 1000 fine homes already built or nearing completion on the Radstone Fields complex, sometimes known as the Poppyfields Way estate…
To support such a large urban expansion it is vital for there to be infrastructure in place to support the growing community. So with some help from the developers, the estate also houses the brilliant new Egerton Hall Community Centre and next door the lovely new Radstone Primary School…
Moving to the other side of the Northampton road, there is more dramatic evidence of change with around 14,000 sq m of industrial, office and distribution units constructed and largely occupied on the Arrow Park complex …Alongside these stands a new care home, currently under construction, and the early building signs of the new medical centre to replace the existing Brackley Health Centre and Washington House Surgery in Halse Road. It will include a minor injuries unit, a pharmacy, a café, a wellbeing hub, an occupational therapy suite, a physiotherapy unit, dental services, mental health services, NHS offices and integrated care beds to replace those lost with the closure of the town’s Cottage Hospital. The town really does deserves this new facility.
However, there is one big disappointment here; one of the proposed anchor tenants on this expansive site, Sainsbury’s, have yet to commit to the development of their proposed superstore. It is a blow to the strategic plan and no doubt to the hopes of 1000’s of residents on the nearby new housing development. The risk is that many will still prefer to shop in Banbury rather than the local Waitrose or Tesco’s. We wait to hear how and when this will be resolved but we aren’t holding our breath that Sainsbo’s will be coming to town anytime soon.
Many have already been created and a further 70 or so will be at the latest addition to the town’s hospitality sector, .