* indicates required

Doors open for free advice

By Nigel Ozier

AR Group

THIS year Aitchison Raffety’s Planning Division, formerly known as Brian Barber Associates, celebrates 35 years of being in practice and operating in and around Northampton. I have been part of this practice for 34 years and during this time I have seen many changes. These changes vary from our staff, our office location and the company name.

However, in the world of town planning, change is something that you can always guarantee. Whether that is new Government policy documents like the National Planning Policy Framework and numerous changes to planning regulations, or the eventual introduction of new Plans, such as the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy. As we are all aware, Northamptonshire is also experiencing political change with the formation of two unitary authorities in 2021, which has now been ratified by Central Government.

Aitchison Raffety’s Planning Division has always been able to adapt to these changes and continues to offer a valued service to all our public and private clients and to provide sound advice on how these changes may affect them and their land and property interests. This is one of the key factors that has seen us remain all these years and operate in this area and nationally as a highly valued planning consultancy.

During this period, we have been involved in many developments in and around Northampton, from the start of Wootton Fields to the redevelopment of Princess Marina Hospital and our success continues with a wide range of varied planning projects and clients.

Often, the smaller projects are important too and, as examples, we recently obtained planning permission for 40 apartments and retail floor space at the old Tivoli Cinema site. This will see a rundown (and very bright yellow!) site transformed into an attractive complex of apartments which include affordable accommodation.

Planning permission was secured for six dwellings off Mill Lane, Kingsthorpe, on paddock land outside the defined limits to development. Originally considered part of the River Valley green corridor, Aitchison Raffety assisted in differentiating this land from the publicly accessible riverside land, whilst showing that the new houses would be seen within the context of the existing built edge without being highly visible or impacting upon the adjacent Conservation Area or highway safety. Despite strong opposition from some local residents, support from the council was secured, and the site has subsequently been included in the emerging Northampton Local Plan as an allocation.

On the commercial side of planning we were recently able to get planning permission for the change of use of a commercial building to a leisure use. This was despite the council initially being resistant to the proposal. We have been successful too in appeals dealing with HMOs. In all our cases, a strong planning case is made that addresses the concerns in order for consent to be granted.

We hope that we have many more years to come (perhaps not for me though!) of offering some of the best planning advice in the area.

To celebrate our 35 years we are having a Town Planning Open Day on 20 June 2019. We will open our doors to answer any questions you may have about planning. This may be a specific case that you currently have and you want advice on how to move forward, or you may just wish to pick our brains on current planning regulations such as Permitted Development Rights. Whatever the issue, all we ask is that you call the office and let us know in advance if you’d like to come in and chat so that we know that you are coming and, most importantly, we have enough cake!

You can confirm your attendance either by email to or telephone 01604 880163. We look forward to seeing you!

Companies mentioned in this article

More from Northampton: