Weldon house plan: developer’s claims are ‘codswallop’

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Furious Weldon councillors who oppose to a plan to build homes on the village football pitch have fired back at developers - branding them ‘irresponsible.’

Yesterday (Monday) the Northants Telegraph told how Mulberry Developments had resubmitted plans for 27 properties that were thrown out earlier this summer.

Now three Corby Councillors have lambasted Mulberry over their blueprints for the Weldon United FC ground which is adjacent to the village green.

Councillors Rob McKellar, Bridget Watts and Kevin Watt, who represent Weldon and Gretton Ward, have called the development “an irresponsible destruction of precious green space”.

The application, which has also been opposed by Tom Pursglove MP and Weldon Parish Council, was originally rejected by councillors on Corby Council’s Development Control Committee in July but in September Mulberry submitted a second application.

The councillors, MP and parish council have objected to the new application on the grounds that it will significantly impact upon the lives of residents at Weldon Woodside Park park homes site, remove a football pitch used by children in the village and destroy the visual impact from the village green area adjacent to the site.

Two petitions collectively signed by more than 900 Weldon residents have also been submitted in opposition to the development.

Cllr Rob McKellar, who is also leader of the Conservative opposition on Corby Borough Council, said: “The developers have claimed that the village green area will not be impacted. This is simply untrue. Although the area around the football field benefitting from village green status will not be touched by bricks and mortar, to suggest, as the developers have, that it will not be impacted is frankly codswallop.

“Currently those using the village green area for walking, dog-walking and general recreation have views across the football field of green space and countryside. If the developers are successful in their application then these views will be removed. The same is true of the views currently enjoyed by the residents at Weldon Woodside Park.

“These residents have paid for properties in a rural setting and Mulberry are applying to replace this with unwanted urban sprawl.

“We fully support the building of new homes, but there are plenty of brownfield sites available in Corby for development. Over-developing our villages and destroying precious greenfield sites is irresponsible and we will oppose it every step of the way.”

At the Development Control Committee meeting following the first planning application Cllr McKellar spoke against the development, resulting in councillors voting against it.

Cllr Bridget Watts said: “I am incredibly disappointed that the developers have chosen to ignore the will of the people. Weldon’s councillors, the local MP and the Parish Council all objected last time around and committee of elected representatives voted down the application. For the developers to now try to overturn this democratic decision flies in the face of democracy.”

Cllr Kevin Watt said: “The land that Mulberry want to build on is used by children to play football and the next nearest facility is the other side of town at Rockingham Triangle.

“New football facilities will not be built in Weldon for another six years according to the plans for the Weldon Park development, which means that children in the village will be left without a football field. The fact that the land is private has no bearing whatsoever in planning terms. What matters is that the land is used now by children to play football and if the developers get their way those children will have to walk or cycle all the way to Rockingham Triangle if they want to use football facilities.”

Developers Mulberry argue that the ground is privately-owned an should not be used by local people for football.