Caravan site looks set to be approved

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Plans for a traveller site near Weedon have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The scheme, for land south of Weedon, is set to go before planners on Wednesday next week.

The application is to convert land to the west of the A5 between Weedon and the canal into a residential site with one mobile home, one pitch for a touring caravan and the conversion of an existing building into a day room. Parts of the application are retrospective.

The plans have drawn objections from the parish councils for Stowe IX Churches, Weedon Bec and Flore, as well as South Northamptonshire Council, plus more than 90 letters of objection from nearby residents.

Stowe Parish Council said it ‘strongly objected’ to the proposals, pointing out the site is in open countryside where development is normally extremely limited, and questioning the safety of the access to the site directly from the A5 particularly as the land is accessed down a steep gradient from the road.

The council also said the application was unclear about who would be using the site. They said: “Stowe IX Churches Parish Council are aware that there is a requirement for traveller’s sites in the Daventry District and should permission be granted would wish to ensure that this site would be a permanent home for one family with local connections in the district.”

The DDC planning officer’s report states the applicant does not see this as a ‘transit’ site, and that they said any gypsy or traveller may live there for any length of time they see fit.

The residents’ letters echo the issues about the access and the fact it lies beyond any village confines, and add that the site is near the Grand Union Canal, which is a conservation area, and that the infrastructure on site appears to be geared to cope with a greater level of accommodation than proposed.

Highways England has said, given certain conditions are met, the access could be safe and suitable.

DDC’s planning department says although the site is in open countryside, it is only about one mile from Weedon which has a range of amenities. It also points out rural development of any kind is usually has a reliance on cars for transport.

The report concludes: “This relatively minor Gypsy and Traveller proposal in terms of scale, and its slightly remote location are considered proportionate, safe and suitably contained from a community interaction perspective”

The application will be decided on by DDC’s planning committee on Wednesday, February 3, from 6.15pm.