Councillors allow travellers’ site near Bawdeswell to stay

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A family of travellers will be allowed to keep their home on the edge of a Norfolk village after a planning committee granted them permission to stay.

The application to retain two mobile homes and a touring caravan on a site just outside Bawdeswell, near Dereham, was approved by Breckland councillors yesterday.

The applicant, referred to as Mr F Massingham, has gained a successive set of temporary permissions for him and his family to live on the site since 2000, despite concerns about visibility onto the main road from its entrance and its position outside the village's settlement boundary.

This latest application requested permanent permission to retain the units, however a condition was added to make the permission exclusive to Mr Massingham, his immediate family, widow and any immediate residential dependents.

Permission was granted despite concerns from ward councillor Gordon Bambridge that it would 'set a dangerous precedent' for other gypsy and traveller settlements.

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'Mr Massingham and his family have been good neighbours but I think it would set an unusual and exceptional precedent if we allow a permanent building on this particular site.'

Mike Brennan, representing the council's partner organisation Capita, said the location of the site had 'not caused harm' since mobile units were first established there in 1992.

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Marion Chapman Allen added: 'Considering they have been on the site for 24 years in total it would be hard to refuse this application.'

Local authorities are required to accommodate gypsy and traveller sites under government policy. One such site exists off the A11 at Thetford and the requirement is being further addressed in Breckland Council's emerging local plan.

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