Travellers ask for permission to create permanent site at rural location near Corby - AFTER they moved in
Locals are angered at the destruction of the rural idyll
A family of Travellers has formally applied for permission to create a long-term home at a field in Middleton.
The Delaney family bought and moved seven caravans on to the green belt field at Ashley Road two weeks ago, to the fury of local people.
Within hours, villagers living close to Peasdale Hill Field had contacted the authorities, who issued two notices banning the group from doing any more work.
MP Tom Pursglove also called for them to stop and return the field to its natural state.
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But now owner Joe Delaney has submitted a planning application to Corby Council for change of use for the site to allow them to create five 1600 square-metre plots - each with its own day room, a mobile home and a touring caravan.
Their application cites Corby's emerging local plan, currently in its final stages, which confirms that although the authority aims to secure a supply of additional pitches to meet the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in the borough, it does not allocate any specific sites.
In 2019, all the boroughs in north Northamptonshire jointly commissioned a report to assess the needs of Travellers which identified a need for 26 new travellers pitches in Corby alone. Since then, no new sites have been brought forward by Corby Council.
The Delaneys' application states that all eight criteria to allow the Corby Council to lend its support for Traveller site proposals are met, and continues: "Although only carrying moderate weight, the emerging Part 2 Local Plan accepts there is a shortfall but does not allocate any sites for gypsy pitches, instead relying on applications being submitted and assessed through the development management process.
"Given the lack of any allocated pitches being identified by the council, this application for five pitches will help meet 20 per cent of the identified need. This application represents a significant contribution towards the identified need and is further supported by the fact the proposals accord with the current development plan."
The entire site is about 3.8 hectares - nearly four football pitches - although the application seeks to place hardstanding on only 0.8 hectares at the road-end of the site. The rest would remain as agricultural land.
There is already an existing traveller site in Ashley Road, about 600m away. A planning application for an extension was refused by Corby Council last year - a decision now under appeal. Another planning application has also been submitted for a second adjacent site.
In a statement to the Northants Telegraph, Corby Council said that they had taken enforcement action against the group by issuing a stop notice and an enforcement notice.
The enforcement notice comes into effect after 28 days to give the Travellers time to appeal. After that date they will have one month to remove all caravans from the site and to remove the hardstanding. They then have a further month to restore the land to its previous condition.
A separate stop notice was also issued which bans the group from bringing any more than the existing seven caravans on to the site and to stop them from doing any more operational development on the land.
The CBC statement said: "Due to statutory delays in the enforcement notice coming into force, it was considered expedient to serve the stop notice to stop any further importation. The stop notice has to run in tandem with an active enforcement notice and you can only appeal against a stop notice in the High Court, the Planning Inspectorate do not consider appeals against stop notices.
"The stop notice remains in force on site until such time that the breach is resolved either by them vacating the land, planning permission being obtained or, in some cases, the enforcement notice being quashed on appeal.
"The site has and continues to be monitored and no materials were imported over the weekend."
The group is still allowed to prepare a small area for siting touring caravans on to ensure the health and safety of the occupants.
Councillor David Sims, who is standing in Corby's rural ward for the new North Northamptonshire Council, told the Northants Telegraph last week: "This annihilation of natural habitat and damage that has been done is absolutely disgusting and completely unacceptable. Just in the adjacent field the other side of the hedge boundary is ridge and furrow also a pond with newts possibly great crested newts which are of course protected along with other wildlife.
"I am absolutely furious and outraged just as are the residents in the village and local landowners.
"They have no respect for the local community or for planning regulations and this community deserves better."
Corby already has one council-run site for Travellers and a separate one for New Age Travellers at pieces of land off Gretton Brook Road. Both are occupied.
You can view the application and comment on it here