Parish council criticises KBC's response to traveller site at Loddington

Broughton Parish Council has released a statement strongly criticising Kettering Borough Council's response to an unauthorised development at Loddington and their Traveller pitch provision in general.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 11:45 am
An aerial photo of the Cransley Road site shows the scale of the unauthorised development

In the statement release yesterday (Tuesday), Broughton Parish Council said they considered the unauthorised development taking place in Cransley Road, Loddington as wholly unacceptable and a reflection of a wider problem throughout Kettering.

The parish council said: "It is the view of Broughton Parish Council that Kettering Borough Council's lack of any clear and effective policy in respect of Gypsy & Traveller pitch provision over many years has contributed in no small measure to the position the Borough now finds itself in."

Broughton Parish Council said: "We fear that the Borough is becoming known as exercising poor control and, a target of opportunity for inappropriate development by the Gypsy & Traveller community and we deplore this unnecessary situation."

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The land in Cransley Road has been levelled and there has been large machinery at the site carrying out work

The parish council also said it feels KBC rely on ad-hoc planning applications to provide Gypsy and Traveller pitch provision through temporary permissions.

"There is a suggestion that decisions are being influenced by the prospect of legal costs being incurred in order to defend Kettering Borough Council's decisions at appeal," the statement said.

KBC are legally required to provide space for travelling communities but a report from July 2018 shows there are only two public traveller sites in the borough.

At the time, there were 13 private sites with permanent planning permission and one private site with temporary planning permission.

The unauthorised site is close to Cransley reservoir

The development in Loddington on privately-owned land was described by Kettering Borough Council as a flagrant breach of planning permission. A stop notice was issued and a permanent stop notice came into effect on Saturday, October 19 but significant work has taken place at the site.

As part of the enforcement and permanent stop notice, the site owner is required to cease the unauthorised use of the land and return it to its previous state.

Broughton Parish Council said: "The deliberate and well orchestrated wholesale destruction of what was a field in open countryside adjacent to a reservoir has undoubtedly caused extensive ecological damage and must not go unchallenged."

The Loddington development is not in the Broughton area but there is a site in the parish, which the council said they feel has been victim to the same ineffectiveness from KBC.

Broughton Parish Council said KBC's ineffective gypsy and traveller policy has resulted in unauthorised developments, temporary permissions and other breaches and planning conditions and added: "We have this situation at the Gypsy & Traveller site at Broughton which Kettering Borough Council has, in effect, proactively allowed to become significantly degraded in recent times."

The parish council said private sites have also deteriorated due to a lack of planning and control, meaning a lower standard of living for residents.

"It is becoming clear that Kettering Borough Council's apparent unwillingness or inability to adequately deal with these issues and exercise control over the planning system is beginning to overwhelm them as the number of incidents increase and the scale of the problem grows.

"It is the view of Broughton Parish Council that this situation is both unacceptable and unsustainable."

Broughton Parish Council is asking KBC to address the situation.

"We call on Kettering Borough Council to take urgent action to adequately resource officers and robustly use all legal options available to deal in a prompt and effective manner with already existing and future incidents of unauthorised development or failure to comply with planning conditions.

"Illicit activity must not be rewarded with success because of inaction or unwillingness on the part of the Local Authority to tackle difficult issues."

In a statement regarding the stop notices issued to the Cransley Road site, KBC said they would be considering what legal action they could take against the development.

Broughton Parish Council finished by saying they want better regulation of pitch provision in order to balance the need to protect the rights of settled communities and those of Gypsy heritage.