English Partnerships is to expand its design code pilot scheme in Northampton by buying local authority land on which it intends to build an extra 5000 homes

This will be in addition to plans for 1200 homes, built to rigorous design codes, on 43 ha of greenfield land on the southern outskirts of the town, in Upton.

This expansion comes as the agency takes on the role of broker of public sector land. It will handle the sale of £30bn of land over the next three years, as announced in chancellor Gordon Brown’s spending review.

David Higgins, EP’s chief executive, said the expansion would begin by building on three recently acquired plots of brownfield in Northampton.

He said: “We couldn’t just bowl on and develop 5000 houses on the outskirts of Northampton, so we have purchased three brownfield sites from the local authority and we are looking at recycling those.”

Higgins said some of the homes had to be built on brownfield land further in to Northampton as well as on the greenfield project to the south-west of the town.

We couldn't just bowl on and develop 5000 houses on the outskirts

David Higgins, English Partnerships

EP is seeking outline planning permission for the brownfield developments, where it wants to build more homes. Any developments beyond the 1200 homes earmarked will require extensive infrastructure, such as road access and bridges.

They must adhere to design codes that have been set by a consultation group that included CABE, the Prince's Foundation, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and lead masterplanner EDAW.

The news comes as EP published annual results showing an 80% growth in its investment programme to £410m for the year 2003/04.

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