Disappointment as councillors reject Northamptonshire village B&B’s expansion plans over noise fears

‘We’re quite passionate about it and do think there’s a need so we’ll see how best to go forward’

Friday, 26th March 2021, 3:28 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 3:30 pm

The owners of a Northamptonshire village B&B have been left disappointed after their expansion plans were rejected by councillors.

Dodford Grange’s proposal to build a holiday-let, two one-bedroom lodges and five bell tents was refused planning permission by Daventry District Council on Wednesday (March 24).

Some planning committee members were concerned about several issues but chiefly wedding guests making too much noise late at night and disturbing residents.

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Dodford Grange

Frankie and Lee Jackson, who run the bed and breakfast, disagree and are saddened about the ‘untruths’ and ‘scaremongering’ they say were seen during the meeting.

“What upset me more than anything was that it was not fair,” Mrs Jackson said.

A council planning officer had recommended approving Dodford Grange’s plan for a two-acre patch of land to the northwest of the main building.

The four-bedroom holiday-let building would be ideal for bridal parties to get ready in before their wedding, while the bell tents and lodges would be for wedding guests.

But committee members decided to go against the advice because of their worries about noise, flooding, sewage, and it technically being in open countryside outside the village confines.

They accepted there may be a need for more high-end accommodation, which the B&B owners want to provide, but believed the development would be unsuitable.

Councillor David Smith, whose ward includes Dodford, said: “This is the right thing in the wrong place and Dodford cannot cope with something such as this.”

Not all councillors opposed the scheme - David James supported the officer’s stance of backing an existing business’ attempt to expand.

He and Ken Ritchie also made the point that the area is far from tranquil anyway due to the A45 being so close by.

However the majority decided to reject the application, as Daniel Cribbin said: “I think there’s a lot of issues with the noise and disruption this is going to cause to the local people.”

Simon Steel, who owns nearby venue Dodford Manor, said four neighbours of Dodford Grange were seriously concerned about the proposal and that his venue no longer recommended the B&B because of it.

While Dodford Parish Meeting clerk Colin Newton said nearly all of the people they balloted about the scheme were afraid of the ‘substantial and highly-intrusive’ development.

A representative for the Jacksons told the meeting that the concerns about the proposal were unfounded.

The Jacksons dispute the claim made during the meeting that up to 70 guests could stay at the B&B if the expansion was approved, with the actual limit being 32.

They could not understand how a wedding venue with up to 200 guests like Dodford Manor was allowed but not their much smaller proposal.

Nevertheless the couple say they have not given up and are considering what to do next, be it an appeal or re-application.

Mrs Jackson said: “It’s not finished, we’ve got to go back to the parish chairman and see where we go from here.

“We’re quite passionate about it and do think there’s a need so we’ll see how best to go forward.”