Gypsy family battle to stay in home ahead of baby’s birth

Thomas Bibby and his wife Sasha at their site on Holt Road, near Norwich Airport. Photo: Archant

Thomas Bibby and his wife Sasha at their site on Holt Road, near Norwich Airport. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

An expectant couple have launched a last ditch attempt to stay in their home near Norwich Airport - just months before welcoming their first child together into the world.

Thomas and Sasha Bibby, who live on a plot of land off Holt Road in Hellesdon known as 'Plane View,' were given 12 months to find alternative accommodation by Norwich City Council in June.

The pair, who are Romany Gypsies, have been living in caravans on a patch of land bordering the airport for more than two years and have twice been faced with enforcement investigations by the city council.

And in June this year, after initially agreeing to allow the couple to remain on the site, city councillors voted to give them a year to find a new home, with officers arguing the site was not suitable for residential use.

However, the couple, who are expecting a child in February, have now launched an appeal against the action with the Planning Inspectorate, in hope of being allowed to stay.

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A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: "We have received an appeal from Mr and Mrs Bibby regarding the enforcement notice served on land at Holt Road.

"As part of this process we will provide a statement to the Planning Inspectorate which will clearly set out our position.

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"After this has been submitted it will be published on the planning section of the council's website."

Speaking in June, Mr Bibby said: "I'm going to do everything I possibly can to stay here and will fight the council the whole way."

In an earlier enforcement case, Norwich Airport had raised concerns that animals from Mr Bibby's plot had escaped onto airport property. However, Mr Bibby disputes this claim, arguing in his submission that there is no photographic evidence of this happening.

A spokesman for Norwich Airport was approached to comment on whether it would be submitting evidence to the appeal, but they did not respond.

As part of the appeal process, a planning inspector will make an unannounced visit to the site, the timing of which the couple will not be given prior warning of.

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