Tuesday 23 July 2024
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Traveller speaks out after Nottinghamshire village objects to plans for permanent site

A traveller who is seeking permission for a new caravan park says his community “does not have anywhere to live” as more than 100 villagers objected to the proposals citing a number of “grave” concerns.

Tom Holmes, who lives at Chestnut Lodge in Barnby Road, Balderton, has submitted plans for 19 new caravan pitches for travellers, alongside the relocation of two existing pitches, the construction of a manager’s home and an amenity building at the site.

The plans were hit with a wave of objections from residents on the road, as well as villagers in nearby Barnby-in-the-Willows.

Concerns include the loss of open countryside and the potential overbearing impact on local amenities in the village which has a population of around 300.

Newark and Sherwood District Council say Government legislation determines how councils must meet the increasing housing needs of all sections of society, including travellers.

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The traveller site is planned near the village of Barnby in the Willows just over one mile away scaled

In Newark and Sherwood, there are currently 400 pitches, with the majority in Tolney Lane, Newark.

The Government’s current policies mean the council must find land for an additional 118 pitches and 77 pitches must be provided within the next five years.

Therefore, since 2013, the council has been actively writing to landowners who have previously expressed an interest in developing land.

Out of 22 sites put forward, only three were considered suitable, including Mr Holmes’ land off Barnby Road.

Mr Holmes, who purchased the land three years ago, said: “I’m a traveller and this is all we’ve ever faced.

“It is all we have dealt with all our lives. In our community, there are bad people but there are proper people too.

“We get a lot said about us because people hate the traveller community, but you have got a lot of proper genuine people.

“We’ve got families here who have lived in Newark for 30 years and have a good reputation.

Newark and Sherwood District Council have failed with providing sites for us to live.

“The council asked me to consider using this land for a traveller site. I know a lot of people who do not have anywhere to live and a consultation deemed by land to be the best place for this.”

The planning application has been refused before by the council by 13 votes to one, because the proposed five-bedroom manager’s house was deemed too intensive and too large for the area.

Barnby-in-the-Willows Parish Council, which was petitioned by 123 residents to object, says the new submission does not have sufficient amendments to address these concerns.

Gary Deeks and his wife Jennie Deeks, who live near the site, say there have been numerous occasions where the fire service has been called out due to large fires on the site, and claimed Mr Holmes has already been developing the site, including with the introduction of overbearing street lighting.

Mr Deeks said: “It has shattered our dream.

“We moved up from Essex to move to the countryside for some peace and quiet.

“The whole village is up in arms. There are better areas, we know it is needed, but there is no school, no shops, we’ve got a Cadent gas plant and a haulage yard here, it is going to create carnage.”

Cllr Johno Lee (Con), who represents Balderton North and Coddington, says he has “grave” concerns.

“Aside from policy discrepancies, I am also apprehensive about the impact of this development on the open countryside, the inclusion of a manager’s dwelling, highways safety, local services and the overall impact on Barnby-in-the-Willows village,” he said.

The plans have been recommended for approval by officers and will be determined at a planning committee meeting on Thursday, August 10.

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