Villagers have won a ten-year fight against plans to build a housing estate at one of the most picturesque spots in the Welland Valley.
Villagers in Cottingham and Middleton are celebrating the end of their decade-long battle to build the homes after a planning appeal was thrown out by the planning inspector.
The inspector has dismissed the appeal from the Kiff and Troke Partnership to build houses in an area of natural landscape between the Jurassic Way footpath and the Grade 2 star listed Cottingham Hall, following a hearing held in Corby on May 4 and 5.
The Planning Inspector, Mr Tim Wood, ruled that the proposed estate would have a detrimental effect on the setting of Cottingham Hall and the surrounding rural landscape, all of which fall within the newly extended Cottingham and Middleton conservation area.
He said: “In my view the benefits are insufficient to outweigh the serious and irreversible harm that would be caused on the significance of the conservation area and the Grade II* listed building.
“As a consequence I conclude that the appeal scheme would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and fail to preserve the setting of the listed building.”
Villagers are hoping the decision will bring an end to a 10 year battle to stop development on the site. The first outline planning application for 90 houses was rejected by Corby Borough Council in May 2006. Further applications and amendments for 75, 57, 33 and finally 31 houses were all opposed by villagers and also rejected by the Council.
Following the Council’s rejection in January 2015, the Kiff and Troke Partnership took the application to appeal, which has now been dismissed.
Village newsletter editor Jane Smith, who has helped to lead the campaign against the development, said: “We are delighted by this decision. It has been a long, complex and often fraught process, with the numerous planning applications and last minute changes from the applicant having caused considerable concern and confusion for villagers. However, we hope that the Inspector’s ruling will now put a stop to any further applications for housing on this site.
“We would like to thank everyone in the villages, our Parish Councils, Corby Council’s Development Control team and our local MP Tom Pursglove for their continued support, time and commitment to help bring about what we all feel is – finally – the right decision.”
Noel Rogers, leader of East Carlton Health Walking Group whose 140 members regularly come from the local villages, Corby, Kettering, Market Harborough and even Northampton to enjoy the walk along the 4,000 year old Jurassic Way footpath, said: “This decision is fantastic news. It will mean that people from far and wide can continue to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Jurassic Way, and the beautiful views it offers across the Welland Valley, hopefully for generations to come.”
In a letter of congratulations to villagers, MP Tom Pursglove said: “It is fantastic news that the appeal has been dismissed by the planning inspectorate.
“I completely agree that this should be the end of it.
“I very much hope that the developers will respect this decision and walk away.”