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Homes plan for travelling showpeople recommended for refusal over concerns with lost plots

Plans to build two homes for travelling showpeople on land already used as plots for the same purpose are unlikely to be given the go-ahead.

The land, at the Spring Meadow traveller site in Park Lane, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, is currently used as two plots to house static caravans.

New plans explore building two three-bedroom homes in their place.

The plans, submitted to Ashfield District Council by three land-owning showpeople, propose using the same existing access point and parking provision for both houses.

And the applicants say the two homes would also include space for their showground equipment – which is small food outlets and rides towed by a regular car.

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Nottinghamshire County Council, the local highways authority, believes the plans are “unlikely to result in an unacceptable risk” to road safety, and it has not objected to the application.

But Ashfield District Council’s planning committee is unlikely to give the plans the go-ahead after its officers recommended the proposals should be refused.

The authority’s planning department said: “This would further exacerbate the council’s deficit in available plots for members of the travelling showpeople community.”

Planning documents submitted by the applicant state that the emerging draft Ashfield local plan shows a further, potential extension to the site and allocates an additional 14 plots.

However, the council says that because it does not have a local plan in place, there is no guarantee this could come true.

The authority added: “Whilst this may be the case, at this time the emerging local plan has not been adopted and there have been no applications submitted and/or approved for further plots to this site as stated.

“Therefore, the application cannot be assessed against a proposal that may never materialise, when assessing need and deficit.

“The proposed development seeks consent for the removal of two existing static caravans and the erection of two dwellings.”

The authority adds that, because the new homes would be classed as dwellings rather than traveller plots, they must be considered against normal planning policies.

This, council officers conclude, renders the two planned homes as having a “detrimental impact on the countryside setting”.

Members of the authority’s planning committee will be recommended to turn down the application on Wednesday, October 26.

The wider Spring Meadows site is already used as an established travelling showpeople site.

It helps the Ashfield Independent-led authority in moving towards meeting its district-wide quota for travellers working on shows and fayres.

However, a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment report was published last year and found Ashfield needs to find 14 plots between 2020 and 2038.

Within the first five years of this period, the district needs to find nine plots.

Planning permission was granted in 2020 for an extension to the Spring Meadows site, allowing for an additional seven plots to be created.

This took the total number of plots required in Ashfield down to two.

Council planners fear the loss of two plots to make way for the homes would cause “significant concerns” in moving towards meeting the wider quota.

 

In planning documents submitted by Stone Planning Services Ltd on behalf of the applicants, more details were provided about why the plans were put forwards.

The documents said: “The lift of travelling showpeople has changed significantly over the years.

“The extent of travelling has been reduced for many unless they have very large rides.

“Catchments are more local, the applicants tend to work locally, returning each evening rather than taking their tourers to events and staying overnight.

“Children tend to attend local schools so rarely travel.

“As a consequence, the applicants are more at home than previous showpeople.

“They want a brick-and-mortar house and the modern lifestyle that it offers.”

The applicants also say there “would be no loss of showpersons’ yards” through the plans – a suggestion the authority disagrees with.

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