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Travellers

 

PLANNING officers have recommended that Powys County Council should approve plans for a controversial Gypsy and traveller site, even though issues raised by MACHYNLLETH Town Council concerning replacement common land and highway access have not been addressed. The county council’s planning committee met in April to discuss the application for the expanded site near the town’s cemetery. The town council had objected strongly to the proposal. A planning report, however, said that conditions aimed at preventing flooding and ensuring wildlife protection were adequate to allow the development to proceed.

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2017

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SWIFT EVICTION FOR ILLEGAL CAMP

SEAFORD Town Council recently dealt swiftly with an incursion of travellers illegally camped on the seafront of the East Sussex town. Around 18 families parked their vans on the seafront on a Friday evening. Council staff voluntarily came in to work that evening and throughout the weekend to gather evidence to secure a swift eviction. Councillors helped collate evidence and advise residents what to do.

Evidence is required by law to serve notice to move travellers on if there are issues of community safety. The council received support from Sussex Police, and a visit to the site on Monday morning, supported by a liaison officer from East Sussex County Council, established that it could enforce immediate eviction. The travellers left the site within two hours, after clearing up some of the rubbish that had accumulated.

Clerk James Corrigan said: “We liaised with the police, town councillors and local residents to ensure that all proper procedures were followed. This resulted in a swift removal from the site. Our thanks go to all those residents and councillors who reported any incidents via the police 101 number.”

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2017

VILLAGERS IN STAND-OFF WITH TRAVELLER GROUP

COUNCILLORS and villagers from WEELEY in Essex rushed out of a monthly parish council meeting on 21 July to prevent travellers from setting up camp on their playing fi eld. In a stand-off lasting nearly an hour, locals formed a human barricade, lying down in front of cars and caravans.
The drama began when county councillor Andy Erskine raised the alarm. He said: “There were members of the parish council laid on the ground in front of the vehicles. Most of them are retired ladies. I was really worried about their safety.
District councillor Mike Brown laid in front of a car for 20 minutes. He said: “I thought, they will have to damage me to get in.” Eventually the police arrived and persuadedthe travellers to leave. A farmer then barricaded the gate with heavy machinery.
An illegal camp was set up on the field two years ago, leaving the council with a major cleanup. Cllr Brown said: “It is one of the reasons we feel so strongly about it. Over the years we have planted probably 40 trees there and half were damaged. The Scout hut couldn’t operate because of human faeces.”
The council also spent £2,000 on a special gate to keep the travellers out. Cllr Anita Bailey said: “It cost us a lot of money the last time they were here. We were just determined we weren’t going to let them on the field.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2016

NEW RULES ON TRAVELLER SITES

THE government is planning a crackdown on unauthorised traveller sites and new measures to tackle travellers who flout planning rules and abuse the system. Housing minister Brandon Lewis claimed on 14 September 2014 that new planning rules would ensure fairness for all in the planning system and provide greater protection for the countryside and the green belt.
He said: “We will not sit back and allow people who bypass the law to then benefit from the protection it can offer. We have already strengthened the powers that councils have to enforce planning rules and take action against breaches which fuel community tensions. This will not only tackle the abuse of the system but prevent long drawn-out cases like Dale Farm.
“Today’s proposed measures go even further, and would end the perverse incentive for councils not to act when travellers ignore planning rules and set up unauthorised sites.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government is currently conducting a public consultation on proposed changes to planning policy and guidance in relation to travellers. It says it remains committed to increasing the level of authorised site provision, but believes that further measures are needed to ensure that planning rules apply equally to all groups, both the settled community and travellers. The consultation, which closes on 23 November, is seeking the views of local planning authorities and of gypsies and travellers themselves.

Meanwhile councils continue to face challenges relating to traveller sites. In Cornwall, there are proposals for the creation under a Section 106 agreement of a private traveller site, linked with an affordable housing project, at Coverack. This would help to resolve a long-running dispute that has seen travellers living on a car park for almost a decade.

Wychavon District Council has recently spent £12,000 in the hope of preventing traveller communities from illegally moving back onto five sites in Droitwich, after a traveller camp was removed in early October. Ledbury Town Council has proposed that brownfield sites and land owned by Herefordshire Council could be used for new traveller sites in the county. In South Staffordshire,Essington Parish Council has reacted with dismay to plans for three new sites for gypsies, travellers and travelling show people, in addition to four already in the area. South Staffordshire Council said that that the identified sites had been made available by land owners. By law, the council has to find 33 pitches over the next 14 years.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2014

TRAVELLER SITE PLANS REJECTED
PLANS by Selby District Council in North Yorkshire for a permanent gypsy and traveller site have been rejected by its own planning committee. The council planned to turn part of Burn airfield into a 15-pitch site, but its application was rejected by a majority of seven to four. The council said that it had a legal duty to create 33 pitches over the next 15 years, and would have to consider the “wider implications” of the decision.

The plans attracted 104 letters of objection, and Burn Parish Council submitted a petition containing more than 500 signatures. Parish council chairman, Cllr Chris Phillipson, said that the proposed site was too big and would have been next to an existing site with 12 pitches.

He said: “We need to work together with Selby and help them open up a dialogue with the gypsy population. We live side by side with our gypsy residents, we get on with them, and a lot of them have been on our existing, privately run, site for more than 30 years.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2013

 

ELSTOW Parish Council has spent more than £4,000 to install bollards to prevent gypsies and travellers gaining access to a village green space. The Bedfordshire authority took action after travellers set up illegal encampments in the area in each of the last two years.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2013

ROW OVER GYPSY SITE

PLANS to develop a permanent gipsy site in Winsford have provoked strong opposition from residents, councillors and business leaders. An application for 20 permanent gipsy and traveller pitches has prompted letters of objection to Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning department, and came under fire at a meeting of Winsford Town Council.

Angry residents said that the site would add to problems in the town. Gary Hoather, of a local residents group, said: “We have one of the lowest percentages of employment in Cheshire. The perception rather than the reality will put people off moving to the area and businesses will be concerned about expanding.” Concerns were also raised about house prices, wildlife habitats, the existence of great crested newts on the site, flooding and the impact on businesses in the area.

Another resident, Graham Peattie, who managed gipsy and traveller sites when working in the private housing sector, said that Winsford had nothing to offer travelling communities. “It won’t do anything to improve the economy of this area and it will increase the security costs of business on that site,” he stated.

A former councillor, Charlie Parkinson, agreed. “Has anyone asked the travellers if they want to come to Winsford, or is this being forced upon them? I am told that they want to be along the M56 corridor,” he said.

Winsford Town Council voted unanimously to object to the plans and has called for an emergency consultation with Cheshire West and Chester Council, which selected the site.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2012

 

RESIDENTS TO FIGHT GYPSY SITE

RESIDENTS in Old Windsor are opposing a planning application for a change of use of Green Belt land from outdoor recreation and leisure to a gypsy and travellers’ accommodation site. If approved by the borough’s planning panel, five pitches – three temporary and two permanent – would be added next to an existing mobile home park housing five touring caravans in Burfield Road.

More than 250 residents attended a meeting in January of Old Windsor Parish Council to discuss the plans. They expressed a long list of concerns about the development’s impact on the Green Belt, access and traffic, rubbish, pressure on schools, crime and policing, and the impact on property prices and local businesses. They signed a petition against the proposal, which has been submitted to the Royal Borough.

Cllr Malcolm Beer said: “There is a great deal of concern about this in the community. But the Deputy Prime Minister’s code of practice for gypsy and traveller sites in fact favours this sort of use of land because there is under-provision for that community in Windsor and Maidenhead and the whole of the South East of England.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2011

 

ANGER OVER EXTRA SITES

A TOWN council is upset about a scheme to build more permanent gypsy sites in the area.

Arlesey Town Council has hit out at Central Bedfordshire Council for proposing to increase the number of pitches from four to ten.

Council chairman Cllr Hugh Harper said: “We are definitely against these plans.

“A couple of years ago we agreed with the council to have four plots.”

A GIPSY site has been refused planning permission as it sits on a flood plain. The proposal for The Causeway, Clophill, which already homes a family from the Romani Gypsy community, was refused by Central Bedfordshire Council’s planning committee.

The retrospective application received 68 letters of objection from residents and one from the parish council.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2010

 

TRAVELLERS OVER LIMIT

TRAVELLERS living at an infamous fly-tipping site have breached the maximum number of caravans allowed on the field and been told to remove the extra pitches or face eviction.

Eight caravans were spotted at Brazil’s Yard, in Ash Vale, Surrey, instead of the permitted five.

Residents are concerned that extra people living at the site would be detrimental to the community.

The land, which is a designated site for travellers, has often been a source of frustration for Ash and Ash Vale residents due to fly-tippers using it for dumping waste.

Cllr Nigel Manning, chairman of Ash Parish Council, has received complaints about the increase in caravans on the site.

He said: “Many Ash and Ash Vale residents have come to me or sent me letters feeling upset about the number of caravans now sitting on Brazil’s Yard.

“The caravan subject does often tend to get residents jumping up and down, but despite this there are safety reasons as to why only five caravans should be parked on the site and this effects gipsies and the rest of the community.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2010

 

RAVERS ‘CAN’T BE MOVED’

ILLEGAL summer raves at a travellers’ pitch, near Calbourne, led to complaints among residents.

Several parties have been held at two areas where a number of caravans are sited, members of Calbourne Parish Council were told .

Cllr Tim Eldridge, who has since resigned, said: “It has caused a significant disturbance to residents and there have been a number of complaints. The Isle of Wight Council has still not decided where it is going to place travellers and, until then, the travellers can’t be moved on.”

The council has yet to identify an Island site for gypsies and travellers, nearly five years after it was told it must provide permanent pitches.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2010

 

PLANS for three gipsy/traveller family pitches which stirred up a storm of protest in Ashton-under-Hill, Worcestershire, have been thrown out by councillors.

The scheme for the Willow Cottage site in the centre of the village was opposed by the parish council, Bredon Hill Conservation Group and dozens of villagers.

It was refused by Wychavon District Council on the grounds that it would neither preserve nor enhance the character or appearance of the Conservation Area.

Councillors said they thought that the siting of the mobile homes and three touring caravans on the site would substantially alter its open rural character and would fail to preserve the open space.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2010

 

GIPSY SITE NEED ‘NOT PROVED’

WORRIED residents packed two parish council meetings held to discuss an application for a caravan site for two gypsy families.

Long Marston and Welford-on-Avon parish councils in Warwickshire were told that there was a fear that granting the application could lead to an extension of the site.

Residents raised questions on road safety, the effect the application would have on the landscape and the possibility of the site growing into a large gipsy site, which would have an even greater visual impact.

At the end of a lively public participation session 90 per cent of the audience at Welford Parish Council voted to object to the application. Councillors later voted unanimously to object to the plan on the grounds that the need for the gipsy site had not been proven by the applicant.

Following the strength of response from residents both councils will be registering objections to the development and requesting the application be determined by Stratford District Council’s planning committee rather than by planning officers.

The chairman of Welford Parish Council, Cllr Wyn Owen, said: “If this development is permitted on this green field site it will set a very dangerous precedent for similar sites in the district. We hope that the district council will follow the overwhelming view of Welford residents that this is not a suitable location.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2010

 

DEFEAT FOR TWO PARISHES

THE go-ahead has been given for a controversial new traveller site on the outskirts of Colchester.

The town’s borough council says it has picked the least-worst option for a site with 12 plots to accommodate up to 18 caravans at Severalls Lane.

“It is the site which most closely comes to the facilities which we feel are absolutely essential,” said council leader John Jowers.

Now Essex County Council has to decide on the proposal.

Myland and Langham parish councils had both lodged objections to the application.

Robert Johnstone, a member of Myland Parish Council’s planning committee, said many of his council’s concerns were the same as when a similar plan was first mooted in 2007.

He said: “We objected because there is not adequate space in the nearby schools to cope with traveller children, because the footpath isn’t safe to walk along, because there are no shops nearby and the location almost demands ownership of a car.”

Colchester Borough Council’s Conservative leader John Jowers said it was the site which most closely matched to the facilities which were felt to be essential.

“The study was done by independent consultants and it was quite a thorough process,” he said.

A new site has to be found after the last one at Hythe Quay was closed down four years ago.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2010

 

COURT ORDERS TRAVELLERS OUT

TRAVELLERS who have been camped on a playing field in Melksham for a month, have been served with a court order and told to move on.

Wiltshire council said: “We will support the operation should a forced eviction prove necessary and our next step is to look at the clean-up.”

Since the arrival of the group’s 10 caravans and campers the fields have been unused by local people and sports teams.

The travellers used it as an open toilet and their dogs roamed the grass untethered. They have also been involved in several disturbances in Melksham’s pubs and accused of several incidences of petty crime.

Mike Mills, chairman of Melksham Without Parish Council, said: “Please let’s get things back to normal. It’s four weeks of the summer holidays that nothing has happened on those fields.

“We encourage the kids to play down there because it’s safe. We need to get things back to normal.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2010

 

DOGS, CHICKENS AND COCKEREL

QUIET village life has been shattered in Watchfield with the setting up of a temporary gipsy camp complete with dogs, chickens and a cockerel.

The travellers pitched up on the recreation ground between the sports pavilion and the children’s play area.

Parish clerk Sheena Florey said that because the land is owned by Watchfield Parish Council it is deemed to be private and therefore it is a civil matter and the police cannot act.

She says that the travellers, who pitched six caravans and brought around 30 dogs have said they are not staying permanently.

She said: “They arrived between 10pm and 10.30pm on Sunday when there was not a lot people could do.”

The Vale of the White Horse District Council said that because there was no evidence that the site was going to be a permanent base, the parish council was dealing with it.

Earlier this year, retrospective planning permission for a permanent gipsy site close to Watchfield along the A420 was refused after the applicant had already moved onto the site.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2010

 

DECISION COULD BE CHALLENGED

TRAVELLERS could challenge planners after they refused to grant full permission for a new caravan site.

Plans to put four mobile home pitches and a day room on land off the A44 at Upper Moor near Evesham have been given temporary permission.

Wychavon District Council planning committee members were unconvinced by the plans and despite tests showing the site was not a high flood risk, councillors refused full permission.

They granted two years’ temporary permission giving time to see if the site would flood and if the travellers’ children would attend local schools full-time.

The travellers could now take the matter to appeal.

Hill and Moor Parish Council objected to the application over concerns about the sewerage connections – although Severn Trent Water raised no objections – and also the flood risk.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2010

 

VILLAGERS BATTLE ON AS TRAVELLERS SETTLE IN

MP NIGEL ADAMS BACKS CAMPAIGN AGAINST ROGUE SITES

A CAMPAIGN against unauthorised travellers’ sites in the Selby area of Yorkshire has been backed by the town’s MP.

Nigel Adams has signed an Early Day Motion pledging his support.

The motion, which has been signed by 40 other MPs, highlights the issue of green-belt land and unauthorised traveller development.

It states that the problem can be tackled if the idea of retrospective planning permission is limited and councils are given stronger powers to deal with unauthorised development.

The motion notes it is ‘concerned’ that travellers are ‘exploiting delays in the planning enforcement system’.

Despite believing that councils should be given ‘stronger powers to deal with unauthorised development’, the motion then ends by calling on the Government to give equal treatment to settled and traveller communities.

Mr Adams said: “I was more than happy to sign this Early Day Motion given the problem we have in our district with unauthorised travellers’ sites.”

The move follows a recent planning application for a change of use from a café and truck stop at Peckfield in South Milford to a ‘gipsy caravan site’.

The application includes the building of a cess tank, drainage and communal washing and toilet facilities.

Construction work at the Peckfield site in South Milford is already well under way and nearby residents say travellers have been living there for the past five months.

Mr Adams said he had a meeting with Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and was pleased that Mr Pickles wanted to give local councils much stronger powers to deal with unauthorised travellers’ sites.

Cllr Bill Hobman, chairman of South Milford Parish Council, said: “The parish council would likely support Selby District Council in their efforts to resolve such matters by provision of properly equipped pitches for travellers at allocated locations.

“Typically we have not been in favour of recommending approval of retrospective planning applications although, in our role as consultees, we do look at each application on its merits.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2010

 

GIPSY BILL HIT BY £8,000 BILL

GIPSY Bill Newland has lost the latest court case in his long-running battle to resist council enforcement action.

The Ellens Green landowner has been found guilty of two offences relating to planning enforcement notices served by Waverley Borough Council in Surrey.

Mr Newland has used the land to house caravans, sheds and a summerhouse without planning permission.

The borough council, having previously refused to give permission for the caravans and other structures, served notices on Mr Newland in 2005 to try to get him to remove them.

“We gave Mr Newland and his wife planning permission for their own residential caravan for one gipsy family in 1986,” said Waverley’s head of planning, Matthew Evans, after the hearing.

In 2005, Waverley refused permission for Mr Newland to site seven mobile homes and seven additional caravans on his property, marking the start of his fight to win the right to house his extended family on the land.

The council served enforcement notices requiring Mr Newland to remove concrete bases, hardcore, fencing that marked out pitches, a three-bay garage, water and electricity supplies and drainage works.

He was also ordered to remove a summerhouse-type building and sheds used for residential purposes, as well as additional caravans.

Subsequent appeals against Waverley’s decisions were turned down.

“The enforcement notices have been supported by a planning inspector and at the High Court, but have not been complied with,” said Mr Evans.

“The site lies in a protected area of countryside, which is simply not suitable for the additional caravans and number of people living in them.

“The vast majority of residents who apply for planning permission comply with our decisions and those of the planning inspector.

“When they do not, it is only proper that we use the legal process to protect the borough,” he said.

Mr Newland was ordered by the magistrates to pay a total of £4,000 in fines and the council’s legal costs of £4,000.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2010

 

CARAVAN PLAN ‘DANGEROUS’

PARISH councillors have attacked plans by a family of 11 gipsies to extend their caravan site in South Staffordshire green belt land for the second time in a year.

Brewood and Coven Parish Council voted to recommend that South Staffordshire Council rejects plans to add four extra caravans, fences and day rooms to the site at Coven Heath.

Father-of-eight Richard Dunne won a six year High Court campaign to keep his caravans on the green belt in 2009 – before controversially winning a bid to extend it by constructing permanent buildings last November.

Brewood councillor Moira Alden-Court dismissed the plans as dangerous because of poor access to the site at Brinsford Bridge.

She added that Mr Dunne has failed to abide by conditions of previous planning consent which ordered him to limit the number of spotlights on the site.

Dr Richard Taylor, the council’s head of planning, said: “If there was no mention of the word gipsy in this application and it was simply an application to build four homes in green belt, close to a dangerous road, then it would be refused straight away. This should not be any different.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2010

 

‘GIPSY’ LEAFLET ANNOYS COUPLE

A COUPLE were shocked at council leaflets which suggested they could be planning to turn their land into a gypsy camp.

Rick Gunn and Lyndasy Akiens started to renovate a bungalow with 12 acres in Groby, Leicestershire.

Groby Parish Council leaflets said residents had raised concerns that the site was being gutted by travellers. The couple said they had no such plans and the council’s failure to contact them felt like a personal attack.

They said they were refurbishing the bungalow and tidying the land to return it to its ‘former glory’ and planned to keep three of their own horses in the stables.

Mr Gunn said: “Lyndasy’s father has bought this property because she has a wish to live near the horses.”

Council chairman Cllr Peter Battey said they had since delivered an updated leaflet outlining the couple’s views and that Mr Gunn had been invited to speak at a council meeting.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2010

 

PARISH IGNORED IN PITCH DECISION

PLANS to double Hyndburn’s gipsy and traveller pitch provision have been given the go-ahead by councillors.

The decision comes despite objections from Altham Parish Council, which had concerns about the levels of traffic.

Lancashire County Council planning officers also asked the committee to consider potential traffic problems, pointing out that Whinney Hill is earmarked as a long-term waste disposal site.

But officers said they did not wish to make any formal objections to the plan.

Cllr Doug Hayes said he welcomed the extension which would see government guidelines on traveller provision met until 2016.

He said: “This should close the door on illegal sites being created, so I welcome it.”

It will see an extra 10 permanent pitches and five transit pitches in addition to the 15 currently present.

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

JUDGE HALTS WORK ON TRAVELLERS SITE

OPPONENTS of travellers building a new site on green belt land have scored a significant victory after a High Court judge ruled that planning permission must be granted before work can start.

Travellers want to build a large site with room for 14 pitches on green belt land in Meriden, Solihull.

They had moved on to the land on April 30 and started dumping hardcore and removing topsoil.

In some circumstances planning permission can be granted once the work has been started and the travellers – led by former Balsall Common resident Noah Burton – had hoped to do just that.

But within hours of work starting residents set up round the clock camps to prevent building work from taking place, and council planners issued a temporary stop notice prohibiting builders from working on the site until the end of May.

But Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council took Mr Burton to court in Birmingham to prevent him from working on the site until a planning application had been approved.

Campaigners say they will now petition the council’s planning committee to ensure that the application is thrown out.

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

GROUP ARRIVES AND DIGS IN

ANGER has erupted over the illegal development of a travellers’ site near Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

Villagers in Beausale called police after a group of travellers moved onto a field.

They claimed that the travellers, who own the land, were using diggers and road rollers to develop the plot without planning permission.

Sylvia Green, clerk to the Beausale, Haseley, Honiley and Wroxall parish council, said: “The parish council is not happy about this.

“The travellers have entrenched themselves in the site.

“There are about 20 caravans set up on the plot and an enormous amount of hardcore has gone down on the field.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

SITE VISIT WILL DELAY DECISION

ANGRY residents were given a boost when a bid for a gypsy caravan site was deferred for a site visit.

Cheshire East Council’s planning board was set to give the retrospective application for eight caravan plots at Poole a temporary five year licence.

But Cllr Rachel Bailey moved to defer the decision pending a site visit.

The families, each with two caravans, had been able to live there without permission from council planners.

Numerous objections were made with residents saying the plans would have a detrimental impact on the ‘uniqueness’ of the area. Nearby Reaseheath College had also objected to the plans, as did Worleston Parish Council and Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien.

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

VILLAGERS BUY THEIR PEACE

VILLAGERS have paid out around £250,000 to stop a travellers’ site being set up near their homes.

Nearly 30 householders clubbed together to buy a Hampshire field where two caravans were installed without permission.

The owner had applied for planning permission, prompting 570 objections, but that has now been withdrawn after the sale.

The 13 acres of agricultural land at Ropley, were reportedly sold for £150,000.

Residents feared East Hampshire District Council would not be able to turn down planning permission because it did not provide enough alternative sites for travellers.

Cllr George Brown, chairman of Ropley Parish Council, said: “We are very relieved that the situation has gone away because it did undoubtedly cause us lots of problems.

“It was unauthorised but it was clear the district council was going to struggle to enforce the rules and regulations because of other national guidelines.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

YOU CAN STAY – FOR TWO YEARS

TRAVELLERS who moved illegally on to land in Wiltshire have been told they can stay for two years.

Temporary planning permission for 14 pitches at Calcutt near Cricklade has been granted by Wiltshire Council.

The plans were opposed by Cricklade Town Council, which was concerned about flooding and the proximity to a site of archaeological interest.

Wiltshire Council said it is developing a strategy on how traveller sites should be provided in the future.

Cllr Tony Trotman, chairman of the northern area planning committee at Wiltshire Council, said: “We want to look at all the sites that could be available in the county.

“If the decision is made that there are better legal sites elsewhere in the county then they may well have to move onto that.

“But it could be, in consultation, that where they are is suitable, so that is why the temporary planning permission has been given.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

BUILDING BEFORE PERMISSION

A TRAVELLERS’ site built near Selby could be closed down if a retrospective planning application is not approved by councillors.

The application, submitted on behalf of the travellers, seeks a change of use from a café and truck stop in South Milford, to a `gypsy caravan site`.

Construction work at the site is already going ahead and nearby residents say travellers have been living there for the past four months.

Cllr Bill Hobman, chairman of South Milford Parish Council, said: “The parish council would likely support Selby District Council in their efforts to resolve such matters by provision of properly equipped pitches for travellers at allocated locations.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

ROBB FAMILY

THE fate of the Robb traveller family remains uncertain as another planning inspector has been appointed to decide the direction of their future.

Peter Robb and his family have been defying planning law for nearly a decade by setting up home on Nuckies Farm, in Colney Heath, Hertfordshire.

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2010

 

‘DELAYING TACTIC’ BY TRAVELLERS

A FRESH planning application for a travellers’ site has been branded ‘a delaying tactic’ by Holywell Town Council in Flintshire.

Travellers were told at a planning inquiry last year that they would have to leave the site and return it to its original condition by last month.

But they have submitted new plans, with six pitches proposed rather than 10, additional trees and hedgerows, a redesigned access road and a less urbanised appearance.

Deputy mayor Cllr Peter Curtis said: “I was amazed when I saw this application.

“It seems to be time-wasting because we already know the public inquiry decided there mustn’t be caravans on this site. “When it goes to planning committee it will be kicked out just like the last one, but it could go to another public inquiry.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2010

 

TRAVELLERS ‘FORCED ENTRY’

WORRIED residents questioned a council officer about an illegal travellers’ site at Corley, Warwickshire.

They claim the travellers broke into the land illegally and were operating a business on the plot. They also voiced concern at a parish council meeting that no one had the power of eviction.

The site is owned by Warwickshire County Council and Robert Leahy, its gypsy and traveller liaison officer, said: “I can’t go into great detail about the case because there are legal issues going on at the moment and I could prejudice legal action taken against the travellers.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2010

 

TRAVELLERS: OUR EIGHT YEAR BATTLE

I HAVE just read the stories in your November edition under the heading ‘To hell with the planning laws’.

Having experienced the same problems in our parish I can sympathise with all those other parish and town councils throughout the country.

We have been trying for eight years to remove unauthorised travellers from a site in our parish.

Having participated in five public inquiries and judicial reviews, all of which rejected retrospective planning permission, we still await their eviction.

This problem is common throughout the country and is getting worse. It is time for a change in legislation, which is deliberately biased in favour of gypsies and travellers.

I would like to see for example the exclusion of retrospective planning permission for any greenbelt development.

Why should they be treated any differently from the settled community? Our countryside is becoming blighted by these unauthorised developments.

Unlike us they are very well organised. Unfortunately we only seem to function as individual parish or town councils dealing with our own specific problems.

There is a need now for all of us nationally to combine and express our concerns to our elected representatives who currently appear in most cases to either be unaware of the situation or choose to ignore it.

Maybe our national association should be instructed to raise our concerns with Government.

Have readers any other suggestions?

David McPherson-Davis, Councillor

Ramsden Crays Parish Council, Essex.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2010

 

LEGAL COSTS ARE THE WEAPON THAT FLOORS US

YOUR timing is excellent. Congratulations. On the very day I received your November issue it came about that there was a travellers problem on the edge of our village.

The parish council has not become directly involved with the matter as two of our councillors who are also borough councillors, became aware of the situation and were able to take immediate action via the borough. I use the word ‘action’ very loosely as the action is very slow because the travellers have allegedly become the land owners.

If my interpretation of Paul Clayden’s Legal Matters article is correct, the action to be taken (if at all) can only be done through civil action or via a breach of planning regulations.

It seems to me as a layman that the law is very much on the side of the travellers if they are land owners. I suspect a long drawn-out matter is on the cards with all sorts of people – residents, parishes, boroughs etc having frayed tempers during the proceedings.

In my early days as a parish clerk (I have been in office since 1993) we had a piece of land owned by the Showmen’s Guild and the resident occupier/manager wanted planning permission to add to his number of vehicles – caravans used as residences for family etc.

He continually applied for planning permission and the parish objected, then the borough refused.

Always it went to the head office of the Showmen’s Guild and eventually the borough backed down for fear of legal costs to fight against this would upset their budgets because of astronomical legal fees.

I fear that as the borough is in a worse financial situation now than it was then it will back away from any actions against the travellers currently causing problems.

I will watch with interest any further developments locally or in future copies of your magazine.

A Blakeley, Clerk,

Staining Parish Council, Blackpool.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2010

 

END OF THE ROAD FOR TRAVELLER

TRAVELLER Peter Robb, who has been in conflict with a parish council for years, has lost an application for an appeal against the latest ruling against him.

Mr Robb and his family live on Nuckies Farm in Colney Heath, Hertfordshire, which they moved on to in 2000.

Late last year a planning inspector’s decision to allow Mr Robb to remain on Nuckies Farm for a temporary five-year period was overturned by the-then Secretary of State Hazel Blears. (Clerks & Councils, November)

It followed Colney Heath parish council’s decision to seek a Judicial Review into the outcome of an earlier public inquiry which had allowed Mr Robb to stay for a further five years.

Mr Robb sought leave to appeal against the latest decision but the application has been refused.

It means that there is nowhere else that Mr Robb can appeal the decision in this country.

Parish, district and county councillor Chris Brazier said: “That is the end of it. As far as the British courts are concerned, that is final.”

He added: “I am delighted that the Court of Appeal has upheld our representations.”

Mr Robb has been subject of numerous enforcement notices since he first moved on to Nuckies Farm. He served a 28-day jail sentence for defying a High Court injunction ordering him off the site.

One of the main concerns was the site’s Green Belt location and the fact that its position on the flood plain could impact on houses further down the river

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2010

 

‘LET DOWN’ ON TRAVELLERS

RESIDENTS who are concerned over a growing nearby travellers camp have been let down by South Staffordshire Council, a meeting has been told.

Penkridge parish councillors have accused the district council of ‘refusing to grasp the nettle’ as more and more caravans moved onto the field despite enforcement orders banning them.

The High Court has ruled that ten caravans can stay until May pending a decision by planners on future use of the land.

A planning application to occupy and develop the site was submitted to South Staffordshire Council on November 2.

Other caravans which arrived on the site at a later date have been ordered to leave.

The injunction is a partial victory for villagers who objected when more travellers moved onto the site.

Cllr John McPheat said: “South Staffs Council has let us down on this by not taking action when they had a statutory duty so to do.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2010

 



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