Travellers' site plans turned down (Suffolk & Essex Online 29.1.09)

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Travellers' site plans turned down (Suffolk & Essex Online 29.1.09)

Post  Flowergirl on Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:54 pm

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build a travellers' site in a rural area of north Essex were thrown out by planners last night after massive public opposition.

The move would have paved the way for the creation of a permanent home for 12 traveller families in the small parish of Crockleford Heath, near Colchester.

But at a meeting of the council's development control committee at Clacton's Princes Theatre yesterday, councillors followed officers' recommendations to turn it down due to the “adverse visual impact” it would have.

Last week a large crowd of local residents gathered near the site to show their disapproval of the plan to members of the committee, who were carrying out a pre-meeting visit.

Yet more attended last night's meeting as the committee considered the application.

Ardleigh Parish Council had compiled a dossier listing reasons why the site was not appropriate for the proposed development and more than 270 representations have been made to the committee objecting to the plans, with only 44 in favour.

Elmstead and Great Bromley Parish Councils also raised objections to the creation of the site, claiming the surrounding roads were too “narrow and dangerous” to cope with increased traffic and that there was a “severe lack” of public facilities nearby.

In a report to the committee, the planning officer in the case said: “The acknowledged unmet need for gypsy and traveller pitches in the district is outweighed by the fact that the proposed development of the site would have more than a minimal adverse visual impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding rural area, in that it would, by virtue of its scale and layout, dominate its countryside setting, which would seriously erode the spacious, open character and visual appearance of the locality to the detriment of local amenity.”

The application was made by landowner William Banks, who lives in Clacton. His wife has written to the committee to respond to some of the objections raised by residents and organisations.

She promised that the site would be well looked after, warden-controlled at all times and have extra screening so that no neighbours would be overlooked.

She added: “I understand that it must be hard to recognise gypsy culture, but older travellers and younger ones are tired of the situation of being moved on all the time and want to settle down.

“Gypsy families do not require temporary pitches any more - they need permanent sites with permanent facilities, they are human after all.”

http://www.eadt.co.uk/content/eadt/news/story.aspx?brand=EADOnline&category=News&tBrand=EADOnline&tCategory=news&itemid=IPED28%20Jan%202009%2023%3A16%3A56%3A540

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