Bid to build houses on Weldon football pitch turned down

Villagers from Weldon are celebrating after a bid to build 27 houses on a football pitch was turned down.

Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 3:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 4:15 pm
The application was rejected by councillors by 3 votes to 2 with 4 abstentions.

Dozens of residents from the neighbouring Weldon Woodside Park packed the public gallery at the Corby Cube to hear the planning application for the field on Oundle Road.

Council planning officers had recommended approving the application but the objectors, led by local Conservative councillor Rob McKellar, argued that the scheme would destroy a community football facility, over-develop village green space and have a negative visual impact on the adjacent public right of way.

In 2012 a strip of land alongside the football field was formally designated as a village green after villagers applied for protected status.

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Developers argued that the 27 dwellings would not encroach upon the protected village green area, but Cllr McKellar said the plans would affect the visual impact of those using the green.

Speaking at the meeting, he said: “The planning officers have rightly indicated that the village green area will not be touched by bricks and mortar, but the same cannot be said in respect of the visual impact.

“Those villagers using the village green for walking, dog-walking and other recreation currently look out across an open green space.

“If this planning application goes ahead they will instead walk in the looming shadow of yet more unwanted urban sprawl.”

Since the relocation of Weldon FC to Rockingham Triangle in 2014, developers hoping to build on the football field have argued that the sporting facility at the site had been sufficiently replaced and that new community football facilities would be included in the 1,000-property Weldon Park development.

Cllr McKellar argued that while the organised football usage of the facility has been suitably relocated, the informal use by children in the village would be lost and not replaced within the Weldon Park development for a further six years.

He said: “For children in Weldon this will be a facility lost.

“They cannot simply move their game to Rockingham Triangle, it is the other end of town.

“Their local football field will disintegrate before their eyes in favour of developers’ profits.

“The Weldon Park development will introduce further facilities, but these will not be the kind of open and informal facility as the current field and will not be constructed for a considerable period of time.”

Letters of objection were also submitted by MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove, councillors Kevin Watt and Bridget Watts, and Weldon Parish Council.

The application was rejected by councillors by three votes to two with four abstentions.