Thursday 22 February 2024
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Nottinghamshire gypsy and traveller site plans refused

Plans for a travellers’ caravan site with a large home were called “absolutely bonkers” in a planning meeting before they were refused.

Newark and Sherwood District Council received an application for a residential caravan site with 19 pitches and the construction of one five-bedroom home.

The site had been recommended for approval by council officers despite dozens of objections from residents.

The plans are for land at Chestnut Lodge on land off Barnby Road, in Balderton, Newark-On-Trent.

The council said there is “a significant unmet need for gypsy and traveller pitches” in the district.

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But concerns were raised with the size of the property – a five bedroom, three storey house where the manager of the site would live.

The applicant said the house was the size he needs for a “growing family”.

The plans were rejected with one vote in favour of the development at the council’s planning committee on April 20.

The decision was met with a round of applause from dozens of residents who attended the meeting.

One of those residents, who did not wish to be named, said the plans were “heartbreaking”.

She said: “This would bring more than 100 people to the area, it’s too many.

“It’s just not the right place for it. I’ve lived there all my life. We understand that they need somewhere to live but this is a small, rural community.

“We are worried that this isn’t over yet.”

Chairman Cllr Roger Blaney (Con) said: “We are all aware of the identified need for this authority to provide pitches for the gypsy and traveller community.

“I think if we were to refuse permission we would be almost certain to lose on appeal. We would also have reason to expect a cost award against us.

“At no stage at all have I been made aware that additional to the 19 pitches was a five-bedroom, three-storey property.

“I can’t in all consciousness approve a five-bedroom house as being necessary to manage 19 pitches.

“If it came forward without that house I would have my hand up in support.”

Cllr Johno Lee (Con) ward member for the area, said: “It is absolutely bonkers that this site has a recommendation for approval. This property is massive.

“I have protected the green open space since I was elected eight years ago, and this sets a dangerous precedent.

“I have supported traveller applications in the past.

“My concern with this is that it’s going to be run by an individual I know nothing about.

Cllr Penny Rainbow (Con) added that the size of the house was “just ludicrous”.

But Cllr Laurence Goff (Lab) said: “I feel I have to speak for the travelling community because they don’t know who else to go to.

“Some people don’t like travellers or the way they live. But I am supporting this application.”

Applicant Mr Tom Holmes, who is a traveller, said in a statement: “Our community want somewhere to call home.”

But 60 residents objected to the plans saying the site would “diminish the standard of living of local residents”.

Barnby in the Willows Parish Council objected to the plans and raised dozens of concerns about road safety, loss of privacy, privacy, and light pollution.

Balderton Parish Council and Coddington Parish Council also objected.

Applicant Mr Holmes, who would manage the site if approved, wrote in a statement: “As the owner and the manager of the site there will be nobody coming on or off this site to live without my say so.

“We have lived at Chestnut Lodge for the past two years and we get along
fine with our neighbours and we want it to stay that way, that’s the reason why I need to manage this site myself.

“I hope that this application is looked at seriously with considering local families that have no place to call home. So I am willing to submit my land to help with the local need.

“As a traveller myself, I understand the circumstances of the local people, I also understand the way Gypsy and Traveller sites are run.

“Our community want somewhere to call home, but there aren’t enough Gypsy and Traveller sites in the area. ”

Council documents stated: “The net addition of 20 pitches proposed would contribute directly and indirectly to the significant unmet need of the Council’s five-year land supply and identified Gypsy and Traveller need over the plan period.

“This pitch contribution carries significant positive weight in favour of the proposal.

“Officers consider the benefits of the scheme would outweigh the identified harm. It is therefore recommended that planning permission is granted, subject to conditions.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lee added: “I wish them all the best in finding a better location elsewhere.

“The traveller site is too big and is in the wrong location. However, I think that can be overlooked if you take other things into consideration. The house pushed it over the line for me.”

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