Plans to build 13 houses on a piece of land in Oundle have been refused.
An application for outline planning permission for up to 13 dwellings on land behind Abbott House and 1-3 Glapthorn Road was submitted by Northamptonshire County Council, which owns the land.
But it attracted objections from residents and organisations including Oundle Town Council, the Ramblers Association and the Oundle Recreation and Green Spaces Group.
The plans were also submitted while Oundle Town Council is applying for Fletton Field to be an official village green and campaigners are fighting to stop the council selling off this land and part of Oundle Primary School’s playing field at Cotterstock Road.
During discussion by members of East Northants Council’s planning management committee on Wednesday, chairman Phillip Stearn said it was a ‘red herring’ to consider any other applications such as the bid for village green status.
He said they should only be concerned with this planning application and added: “It doesn’t matter about any other things going on around it.”
Cllr Helen Harrison said cutting off areas where residents are able to walk and engage in leisure pursuits does not work with their desire to promote healthy living in the district.
Cllr Anna Sauntson said: “Our officers are recommending refusal, they have given five reasons for refusal and I would really concur with the recommendation.”
Councillors went on to agree with the planning officer’s recommendation and refused the plans.
Their decision was welcomed by members of the Oundle Recreation and Green Spaces Group, which is supporting Oundle Town Council with its application for Fletton Field to be an official village green.
The group is also fighting to stop Fletton Field and the school playing field from being sold off by the county council, a decision which will be made by the Secretary of State for Education.
Anyone wishing to object to the plans to sell off the green space still has time to have their say.
The deadline is Friday, March 18, and objections can be sent to Section77@atkinsglobal.com or by post to Section 77 Public Consultation, Atkins Ltd, The Axis (6 West), 10 Holiday Street, Birmingham, B1 1TF.
Jo Trott from the group said: “The more objections we get, the stronger the case is.
“Next Friday is a really big deadline for us.”
The group wants to save the land so it can continue to be used by the people of Oundle for years to come.
History of Fletton Field:
Fletton Field was once owned by John Smith who ran Smiths’, the brewery and spirit business in Oundle.
When he died in 1899, it was agreed to sell the land to the Guardians of the Poor of the Oundle Union.
As part of the sale, a covenant was placed on the land which stated that its use was to remain for the people of Oundle and that no buildings other than walls or fences should be built.
The Local Government Act of 1929 transferred the powers of Poor Laws to local authorities and so ownership of Fletton Field transferred to the county council.
However, the field has remained in community use.
It has had various uses over the years, including during the Second World War when produce was grown there.
The local school used the field for biology lessons but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the field was designated as a playing field for Oundle Primary School.
Although Fletton Field is no longer required long-term by the primary school, the town council and campaign group believes Oundle is still ‘woefully’ short of accessible green recreation space.