Victory for villagers as one of three traveller site applications on a rural road is kicked-out by Corby councillors

The application had been recommended for approval by officers

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 11:13 am
The existing entrance to Oakley Park

An application for a six-pitch traveller site in Middleton has been rejected by Corby Councillors.

The site, in a field to the south of the existing Oakley Park is one of three currently under consideration for travellers in Ashley Road, Middleton.

The Doran family applied to Corby Council to create six new pitches on the site in open countryside immediately adjacent on the south side to its existing site and 250m from the village of Middleton.

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The site shown in pink to the south of the existing Oakley Park.

Council officers had recommended that the application should be approved with 19 conditions that officers said could be enforced after permission was granted.

But after more than 100 local objections and speeches from several vociferous members of the public at last night's (Tuesday, February 16) development control meeting, the application was rejected.

David Sims, who was speaking not in his role as a member of the planning committee but as a member of the public, said: "It's out of scale and not in keeping to its surroundings.

"It also places a heavy, unsustainable burden on one location.

The proposed layout of the site

"It would have a negative impact on the landscape and is out of keeping with the character of the area.

"It's outside of the village boundary with no footpath on a 60mph, unlit country road."

The chairs of Middleton and Cottingham Parish Councils also objected on several grounds including flooding, the potential of contamination to the River Welland, highway safety, the burden placed on services in Middleton and the school in Cottingham, and the proximity of the site to the nearby sewage works.

Councillors from all parties raised concerns with officers over the site.

The scale of planning applications in the village. Copyright: Middleton RAG

Councillor Kevin Watt said the application was 'the most under-prepared he had ever seen,' adding that he had worries over highway safety. He said: "I've heard enough from the local community to be very, very doubtful about this application.

"It's got proximity to the local village but you're not going to walk there because there's no pavement.

"You wouldn't be able to build a house next to a sewage plant to why should we let six families live there."

The Environment Agency had asked that the site be connected to the mains, and several councillors asked questions about how this could be enforced.

Chair of the committee Julie Riley said: "I think sewerage should be the first thing that is considered for health and safety. It's just fundamental. It concerns me that this should be done as a condition.

"I'm concerned we don't have any details of any sewerage arrangements."

Planning officer Edward Oteng said that there was a pre-occupation condition about sewage under their 19 conditions for granting permission.

Cllr Bridget Watts said: "Once someone has done something, it's done. It bothers me that there are so many conditions. Once this authority is gone and it's all spun away, who's going to have control?"

Northamptonshire Police said that there had been only one incident of anti-social behaviour in the area in the past three months, but raised concerns about the site becoming a transient site - stating that named applicants should be those who were resident on the site and that if they left, that planning permission should lapse.

Cllr Jean Addison said that she did not believe that highways had given due consideration to the dangers of the road.

She said: "So often we have raised issues about highways and highways have had no objections.

"But we have been right about highways so many times. This is a dangerous road."

Councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

Oakley Park itself was only given permission following two appeals. Another appeal for an additional pitch on the other side of Oakley Park is currently ongoing after councillors rejected it last July.

A separate application by the Delaney family for a new site at Peasdale Hill Field, further along Ashley Road, is under consideration and is the subject of a stop notice and enforcement notice by Corby Council.

A site at Little Meadow in Cottingham has been subject to several applications and appeals during the past deacade.