‘Work must stop’: MP responds to ‘totally unacceptable’ traveller site in rural Corby village

Tom Pursglove says the encampment has caused a ‘great deal of distress’

Monday, 1st February 2021, 5:54 pm
Mr Pursglove had raised concerns with Corby Council bosses

Corby and East Northants member of Parliament Tom Pursglove has voiced his outrage at an illegal traveller site that sprung up overnight near a Corby village.

The group - who bought the field at the end of last year - pulled on to beautiful Peasdale Hill Field in Ashley Road, Middleton, on Friday, January 22.

Within hours they had moved in heavy earth-moving equipment and begun creating a hard standing - all without applying for planning permission.

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Corby Borough Councillor David Sims helped residents by lobbying Corby Council for help. The authority had placed a stop notice on the site ordering the group to stop work and return the field to its original state.

Now MP Tom Pursglove has joined the growing number of concerned voices.

In a statement, he said: “Over the course of the last week, many local residents have been in touch with me raising their concerns with me about the development.. which I understand is not permitted and has caused destruction to a much valued piece of greenfield, which has a rich ecological, environmental and historic value.

“Understandably, this situation has caused a great deal of distress locally and the strength of feeling about it should not be underestimated.

“Whilst as your local MP, I do not have any formal investigative or enforcement powers with which to act in these matters, I wish to reiterate my very strong belief that any works must stop immediately and that the damage must be made good without delay.

“Clearly, the planning rules are there for everyone, for good reason, and must be adhered to - without exception.

“With all that in mind, by way of an update, I have.. raised all local concerns brought to me directly with Jonathan Waterworth, the Acting Head of Paid Services at Corby Borough Council (CBC), individually, in order that he can investigate both urgently and appropriately.

“I have written to Mr Waterworth again this weekend, asking for an urgent meeting early this coming week, in order to discuss this matter further and for him to update me as to the steps being taken to address it. I am keen to again impress the strength of local feeling and the extent of the concerns, whilst being able to meaningfully update those in contact with me.

“I have written to Rob Bridge, the new Chief Executive of North Northamptonshire Council, as it is highly likely that this will be an issue that NNC has a need to be actively involved with from day one of the new unitary authority coming into being in April.

“More broadly, I also think they need to have a root and branch look at these matters across the entirety of North Northamptonshire very early on, to make sure we are best placed to tackle any such issues in future both efficiently and appropriately and to ensure the policy is sufficiently robust.

“So it is fair to say that I am very much on it and I completely understand and appreciate the level of distress that these matters are causing locally and I will continue to assist the community in raising these concerns in any way that I am able.

“The development of the Peasdale Hill Field on Ashley Road in Middleton is not permitted and has caused totally unacceptable destruction, which must be put right immediately.”