Weldon development: Football pitch housing plans recommended for approval

A controversial application for 27 homes on a village football pitch could be approved by councillors next week.

Friday, 4th November 2016, 5:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:22 pm

Officers at Corby Borough Council have recommended that the contested Mulberry Developments Plan at Weldon United Football Club be given the go-ahead.

The blueprints were originally submitted earlier this summer but were rejected at committee stage by councillors because of concerns over the loss of the football pitch, over-development and road safety.

Now altered plans have been put forward and elected members will again debate the proposals at Tuesday’s development control meeting.

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They have drawn furious responses from local people including three ward councillors and more than a dozen neighbours.

Mulberry Developments says that moving the football club to its new home at Rockingham Triangle would unlock £500,000 of sports funding for the borough. Their application is supported by the football club and by Sport England.

However, objectors including Weldon Parish Council, borough councillors as well as members of the public, believe that there will be negative impact of the loss of the privately-owned village football pitch. They say they are still numerous games played at the site and that the new pitches would not be within a walkable distance for local children.

There are also worries over highway safety and the impact on people living in a neighbouring mobile home park.

A statement from Weldon Parish Council says: “Weldon PC are not against all development and have accepted, with grace, the huge expansion it has had thrust upon it; however, in the opinion of the parish council, ‘squeezing

in’ another 27 homes on a site used daily by residents for sport and recreation will destroy the heart of the village.”

In a report to councillors which recommends approval of the application, planning officer Peter Baish says: “On balance the principle of the development is considered to be acceptable, as measured against housing policies. The site benefits from an established housing allocation and the proposed development could be assessed against the surrounding development, including the Weldon Park development directly opposite.

“The proposal involves developing land that has been used as a football pitch for Weldon FC. It is stressed this is a privately-owned facility with the lease of the pitch expiring in 2016. After this date the owner would be entitled to refuse the public access to the site at any time.”

Tuesday’s meeting in the council chamber at the Corby Cube is open to the public and begins at 7pm.