Independent review grants planning permission for traveller site in Rushcliffe

© westbridgfordwire.com

Plans for a traveller site in Screveton were unfairly refused planning permission, it has been found.

Applicants had hoped to build a caravan site in a field near where a plane is believed to have landed after a mid-air crash during the Second World War in which 11 people died.

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The application, on land off Flintham Lane, was refused by Rushcliffe Borough Council last year.

But now, an appeal by the applicants into how the decision was made has been successful, and a planning inspector has found the council was “unreasonable” in the arguments it used to refuse the decision.

It means the site does now have permission, and the council will have to pay some of the costs to the applicants.

The Conservative-run council says it is “disappointed” with the decision, which went “against the wishes” of local residents.

As parts of the plans, the applicants wanted to install hardstandings for six caravans with washing, sewage and parking facilities on the field.

The planning application was partly retrospective, meaning some of the work had already been done. The caravans are already on site.

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But the council refused permission partly on the grounds that suitable provision for traveller sites were available nearby.

This was incorrect, according to the independent review.

It was found the council had pointed to another traveller site – which had not been given planning permission – as evidence there was sufficient supply.

The council has now been told to pay back some of the costs incurred by the applicants.

One concern raised before the application was refused was that it was near the site of a plane crash.

But no evidence was presented to say the crash was in the same field as the application, and it was not used as a reason to refuse application.

Two planes – an Avro Lancaster bomber and an Airspeed Oxford – collided in mid-air in April 1944, one-and-a-half miles away from RAF Syerston, Newark, during training exercises.

The airmen steered their stricken planes away from houses in Screveton, saving the lives of many residents.

The Lancaster is believed to have crash-landed near the field now owned by the travellers, while the Oxford ended up in another field off Lodge Lane.

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Alison Heine, of Heine Planning Consultancy, the the agent who worked on behalf of the travellers, said she and her clients were: “Happy, yes, but disappointed that it had to go to appeal in the first place.

“I would have been far happier if it could have been granted without the trauma , and it really is an ordeal.

“The whole process makes me realise how lucky the settled population are, new houses and estates are being built but councils aren’t doing their bit to build these sites.

“My clients are now part of the community, their children are in the local school and they have felt so welcomed. The school has been fantastic.”

Conservative councillor Roger Upton, portfolio holder for planning at the council, who represents the Radcliffe on Trent ward, said: “We are disappointed the government planning inspector has granted permission for the field on Flintham Lane in Screveton against the wishes of the parish and borough councils and local stakeholders.”