People living in a rural village near Corby have reacted with fury to a group of travellers that bought a piece of land, removed the topsoil, laid a hardstanding and pulled their caravans on to it without planning permission.
Ancient Peasdale Hill Field in Ashley Road, Middleton, was purchased for £130,000 last September. But last Friday (January 22) a group of travellers arrived at the field with heavy plant machinery and scraped the land, before pulling a van on to the field.
Now five more caravans have arrived and local people say they are devastated that such a tranquil spot has been destroyed.
One contacted the Northants Telegraph to say: "It's not the place. It's a beautiful spot and nobody should have planning permission to put anything at all on that field. People here are devastated."
Corby Borough Council have issued a stop notice and and enforcement notice to prevent any further development of the field. It compels the land owner to immediately stop work to prevent a serious breach of planning control and to restore the field to its original state.
Councillor David Sims, who is standing in Corby's rural ward for the new North Northamptonshire Council, said: "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."
Villagers are already fighting a separate application for another six-caravan site adjacent to the existing Oakley Park also in Ashley Road - close to the sewage works and the entrance to the 22ft on the Welland. It was submitted in October and more than 100 local people have objected. That application will go to committee in February.
A further application to construct a separate entrance to extend Oakley Park to the other side was turned down by councillors last July and the applicants - Thomas and Miles Dornan - have appealed that decision.
Although Corby Council has issued a stop notice on the site, the authority could be hamstrung by its lack of five year demonstrable land supply for traveller sites. The authority has a legal obligation to provide ten new pitches for travellers to use before 2023 and the borough does not currently have a firm plan. This means that they must take into account the lack of supply when considering such applications.
Nobody from Corby Council replied to a request for comment.