Carleton Rode gipsy site amendment refused

A gipsy family has failed for a second time to alter planning conditions relating to who can move on to their site near Attleborough.

Applicant John Leveridge was given permission last year to set up six mobile homes on a former agricultural field off the B1113 at The Turnpike, at Carleton Rode, but with a condition allowing only his relatives to occupy the site.

He applied for the condition to be thrown out this summer claiming it to be 'unduly restrictive' which was rejected by members of South Norfolk Council's planning committee – a decision now the subject of an appeal.

However, Mr Leveridge was back before the committee on Wednesday asking in the meantime for the condition to be modified to allow any family to live on the site, although the condition would stipulate that only one family could live on the site at any one time. The number of static caravans and tourers on the plot would not change.

He claimed that the current condition limits how he disposes of his land and is stopping him from accessing funds from his property as it discourages lenders from investing in the development.

But despite planning officers being in favour of the alteration, councillors voted 6-3 to turn down the proposal, unconvinced it would not lead to a more intensive use of the site for which the original condition was imposed to control.

Committee member Bev Spratt said: 'I do not think there's any need to dispose of this condition. I think more work could be done on the site if the family pull together more.'

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But Murray Gray said: 'As far as I can see this would not be a reasonable condition in normal circumstances.'

Mr Leveridge's original application to move on to the site generated 175 letters of opposition over highway safety and impact on the countryside. Objectors at yesterday's meeting said the interpretation of the word 'family' was too lose and would be difficult to enforce.

John Laurie, of Carleton Rode Parish Council, added: 'The parish council believes the ability for an applicant to raise finance is not the remit of the planning authority and is not a reason to alter planning conditions.'

Planning agent Kevin Cole, who spoke on behalf of Mr Leveridge, said: 'We would argue it is immaterial if the site is occupied by Mr Leveridge and his family or by another family group as the planning permission deals with the use of the land and not who occupies it.'