'We just want a quiet life' says head of family at centre of Corby village planning row

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Joe Delaney bought the land near to Middleton and Cottingham for his family

The family at the centre of a planning row have defended their actions after turning a rural green field site into a caravan site prior to gaining planning permission and contrary to an official stop notice.

Owner of the land, Joe Delaney, moved on to Peasdale Hill Field in Ashley Road, Middleton, on January 22, after buying it for £130,000 in September 2020..

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At the end of last month, heavy plant machinery was moved on to the site much to the fury of local residents, to prepare a hardstanding for his family's caravans.

Work taking place on the landWork taking place on the land
Work taking place on the land

Yesterday, Mr Delaney spoke to this newspaper to reassure his neighbours that all they wanted was a 'quiet family life' and that the trucks seen on the site were nothing to worry about.

He said: "The big lorries were here just to take away six or seven bulldozers we had on the site - we were moving them out.

"We live our lives respectfully - we don't want people to give us a hard time. We have moved here because I want our children to go to school. You've got to know your ABC. It's all about reading nowadays.

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"We just want to live a quiet, normal life. We are family people and we go by the rules and I want to live a peaceful life.

The site before the hardcore was deliveredThe site before the hardcore was delivered
The site before the hardcore was delivered

"People have been driving past giving us the finger and shouting. They have nothing to fear from us - we respect the people in the village."

The ten acre site has had a large amount of hardcore laid to the road-side of the site where Mr Delaney plans to place his family's caravans.

Topsoil had been removed to allow hardstanding to be laid, allowed for safety reasons for the caravans.

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Corby Council had issued a stop notice to prevent any further development of the field, compelling the land owner to immediately stop work to prevent a serious breach of planning control and to restore the field to its original state.

The Stop NoticeThe Stop Notice
The Stop Notice

Nearby residents have been concerned by the number of lorries visiting the site delivering tonnes of hardcore.

A spokesman for Middleton Rural Action Group said: "The field at Peasdale Hill, Middleton was subject to a Stop Notice by Corby Borough Council after travellers moved caravans on to site on January 22 and began groundworks without planning permission.

"The council Stop Notice was issued on February 1 to prevent further damage to the historic and important natural habitat of the field.

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"An ecology report commissioned by residents had established that the field was a habitat for endangered and protected species such as Great Crested Newts.

The field lies off the Ashley RoadThe field lies off the Ashley Road
The field lies off the Ashley Road

"However, local residents have now reported that large earth working equipment have continued work on the site and multiple deliveries of hardcore have been made in contravention of the Council’s Stop order.

"Locals are frustrated that the council has so far been unable to prevent further damage and have inundated the council with complaints.

"The local Residents Action Group is seeking an urgent update on council plans to respond to these breaches."

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Chairman of the Residents Action Group Cllr David Sims said: "We expect the council to take immediate action to prevent the continuing damage and to prevent any illegal occupation of the site.

"I would estimate that eight truck loads of stone were delivered yesterday (Wednesday) which is about 80 tonnes.

"This is the site of a Roman road and of historical importance. Although some of the habitat has been destroyed and we think there are great crested newts, more damage can be stopped."

A spokesman for the Middleton Residents Action Group added: "Tom Pursglove MP had already raised his concerns over the activity on the site with Corby Borough Council at the beginning of February.

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"Corby Borough Council’s enforcement officer and the police have reportedly visited the site, but while legal enforcement action is being arranged, work on the site continues at a pace."

This week another Middleton traveller family had their planning application to extend their site kicked out by Corby councillors.

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 10 new pitches for travellers to use before 2023 and the borough does not currently have a firm plan.

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This means that they must take into account the lack of supply when considering such applications.

More than 50 objections have been submitted to Corby Council citing damage to the environment, questions about sewage and general waste, wildlife and access problems.

A spokesman for Corby Council said: “Corby Borough Council is aware of breaches taking place regarding the Stop Notice on site at Peasdale Hill Field. The Council is working closely with those involved and all appropriate action will be taken.”