Controversial application for Traveller site in village near Corby is rejected after 350 objections

Proposed development will significantly encroach upon the open countryside, councillors told

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 1:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 2:00 pm
The site days after the group moved in without warning in February
The site days after the group moved in without warning in February

An application involving five gypsy and traveller pitches near the village of Middleton which attracted more than 350 objections has been turned down.

North Northamptonshire Council’s Area Planning Committee for Corby refused the application at its meeting yesterday (June 21).

The committee had been recommended to refuse a change of use of land at Ashley Road from agriculture to residential purposes to provide the pitches including hardstanding.

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In a report to the committee, the ‘Reasons for Refusal’ section had stated: ‘The proposed development will significantly encroach upon the open countryside and introduce a sharp urban edge into an overtly rural and tranquil landscape that would meaningfully alter the nature of the application site from an open undeveloped field to that of residential sprawling development.

‘Such development would appear starkly isolated given its physical remoteness from a settlement and affecting the way in which the open countryside is experienced and understood, impacting upon the way it relates to the surrounding landscape.

‘The proposed development would have a significant adverse impact on the landscape and character and appearance of the area.

‘The application fails to demonstrate that this impact could be mitigated.’

The council received 354 objections, one letter of objection from the MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove and one letter of objection from a councillor from Middleton.

A summary of the material planning reasons for objections include: Highway safety concerns including increased traffic, dangerous accesses in proximity to the blind bend in the road; the number of traveller sites in and around Middleton and Cottingham; harm to visual amenity and rural character of the area; environmental damage including impact on the nearby River Welland.

A consultation response was received by the council from Middleton Parish Council.

The opening part of its response stated: ‘I would like to state at the outset that the parish council and the villagers of Middleton are not opposed to travellers and we recognise that the needs of travellers for authorised pitches, must be met.

‘There has been a traveller site on Ashley Road, approved for a named family and their dependents since 2009 and another on the Corby Road out of Cottingham and they are an integral part of our local community.

‘The parish council’s considered view is that the proposed development however is inconsistent with the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework and the North Northants Joint Core Strategy and as such, planning permission should be refused.’

East Carlton Parish Council also opposed the application. It stated in its consultation response to the council: ‘The applicant’s main argument is that there is an unmet need for additional traveller sites in the borough.

‘This type of site is not catering for an unfilled local need but is creating a supply which is attracting travellers to move to the area.‘