Residents of rural Corby villages form action group to tackle illegal traveller sites

People living in Middleton and the surrounding areas are fighting three planning applications for traveller sites in rural locations

By Kate Cronin
Monday, 15th February 2021, 1:54 pm
An application for this extension to Oakley Park was rejected by councillors last year. It has now gone to appeal. Copyright: JPI Media.
An application for this extension to Oakley Park was rejected by councillors last year. It has now gone to appeal. Copyright: JPI Media.

Communities have joined together to form a unified voice to object to planning applications for traveller sites on greenfield sites.

The Middleton Residents' Action Group, which has members from villages including Middleton, Cottingham and East Carlton, was formed after another illegal traveller site appeared in Ashley Road last month. It will work with local parish councils to find a solution to the issue.

The group, chaired by Councillor David Sims, has three objectives: to preserve the rural character of the villages and countryside; to protect the wellbeing of communities from the risks of unsustainable and unsafe developments; and to campaign for planning regulations to be the same for all members of the community.

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The original site in Ashley Road, now called Oakley Park. Copyright JPI Media.

This is the third application from traveller families on the same road in the past year. One retrospective planning application for a roadside extension to the existing site at Oakley Park was turned down by councillors last July. That application is now going to appeal.

A second application for a six-pitch extension on a field to the south of Oakley Park will be heard by councillors tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 16) at a meeting of Corby Borough Council's Development Control Committee. Officers have recommended that the committee gives the application the green light.

And the final application came in a few days after travellers had moved on to nearby historic Peasdale Hill Field, further along Ashley Road, late last month. CBC officers issued a stop notice and an enforcement notice and work was temporarily halted. MP Tom Pursglove also called for the site to be restored to its original state.

Now residents have formed a group to fight the plans. Cllr Sims said: "There are too many traveller sites for such a small village. There is already one in Cottingham and now these three applications on Ashley Road will cause more of our open countryside to be subject to unsustainable and unsafe development that does not conform to planning regulations.

The latest site is in Peasdale Hill Field. Copyright: JPI Media.

"We want to preserve the rural character of Middleton and stop the destruction of open countryside. We do not believe that the applications take into account the joint core strategy which says that consideration must be given to the impact of these sites on local communities."

Anyone who wants to join the residents' action group should email [email protected] You can also visit the village website to find out more about the plans.

Residents are fighting the three applications. Copyright: Middleton RAG.