'Wonderful' new outdoor activity centre on old Northamptonshire fishery unanimously approved by councillors
'Worthy' scheme will support vulnerable children and has stopped anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping at rural site
A 'wonderful' new outdoor activity centre on an old fishery in Northamptonshire has been unanimously supported by councillors.
Adventure Ways' proposal for a second site on the A5 near Paulerspury was approved by West Northamptonshire Council's interim planning committee for the South Northamptonshire area on Thursday (April 15).
Members heard the new use would be an improvement as the anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping has been stopped by the Moulton-based firm's takeover over a year ago.
Kurt Perryman, from Adventure Ways, said: "The site in the past has been used for all sorts of things.
"When we got there, loads of people were dumping stuff there, the gate was open and unfortunately there was a lot of drugs and stuff that was going on there, drinking beer, and we've stopped all that in the last 12 months."
Adventure Ways, which has ran an outdoor activity centre at its Moulton base for 10 years, would call the new site 'Adventure 4 You'.
It needed to change the land's use and get retrospective permission for six large barrel-shaped pods, a classroom, outdoor seating area, an equipment store, a tool store, an office, a classroom/kitchen and a shower block.
The centre will be predominantly used to continue to support vulnerable young people that have been identified as ‘at risk’ as well as for other children and corporate bookings.
Outdoor activities such as fishing, canoeing, bush craft, cooking, temporary climbing wall and football would be used to develop their education, according to Mr Perryman.
The six pods, which have already been built, would house various activities like a library, a sensory room, a 'den', a 'discovery room', and two changing rooms.
Councillor Karen Cooper said: "I think this is a really, really worthy project and this is absolutely right and very much what children need and what we need to be seen to be providing for children, especially for their wellbeing and their mental health."
Tove councillor Sandra Barnes also praised the scheme but raised concerns about the access from the 'extremely dangerous' A5 as well as its security.
She added: "I am extremely disappointed that these activities have started for the last 12 months without planning permission which I think is regrettable."
The councillor also said the sole neighbour, who lives alone, was 'fearful' about the project and worried about the prospect of amplified music ruining her serenity.
So committee members decided to impose a condition on the permission outlawing any amplified music - but the planning officer said there was no plan for any regardless.
Mr Perryman said the Moulton site is also by a busy road and they had never had any issues but it would be their responsibility to ensure the children are safe.
"I have a duty to make sure that the health and safety is kept and I couldn't live with myself if I did something wrong," he said.
"So it is a busy road but we have put everything in place to make sure [they are safe]."
Mr Perryman added that they started using the site without planning permission because it gave them more space to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.
In terms of security, there are CCTV cameras all around the site which sends alerts to his mobile phone and computer if anybody goes past.
Councillor John Townsend, who seconded the proposal to approve the scheme by councillor Paul Wiltshire, described the project as a 'wonderful thing' and was 'certain it will be a great success'.