Travellers forced to move after losing planning appeal

The planning inspector has agreed gypsys at Black Gate Farm in Cobholm will have to move

The planning inspector has agreed gypsys at Black Gate Farm in Cobholm will have to move - Credit: Google street View

Travellers on a site near Great Yarmouth will be forced to move after losing an appeal to the planning inspector.

Seven caravans without planning permission were ordered to move from Black Gate Farm, Cobholm, in December 2019, by the Broads Authority (BA).

In its enforcement notice, the BA demanded all water and electricity be disconnected, and for the hard surface used by the caravans to be broken up within eight months.

Larry Rooney, an Irish Traveller who lives in a bungalow on the site, appealed to the planning inspector.

The site is located next to Gapton Hall retail park and an industrial estate

The site is located next to Gapton Hall retail park and an industrial estate. There is a mobile home on the adjacent site. - Credit: Google Street View

K R Saward, the planning inspector, said in his decision: "The appellant is an Irish Traveller who now lives in the dwelling built on the site with the benefit of planning permission.

"Within part of the former garden, the appellant has laid hard surfacing which accommodated a total of seven mobile homes in residential occupation at the time the notice was served.

"One further mobile home has since been added but I have no details of the occupants."

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The planning inspector addressed several issues, including whether there was a risk to safety from flooding, local provision for Traveller accommodation and the effect on the area's appearance.

Mr Saward said the site was in a "high probability" area for flooding, with climate change expected to make matters worse.

"I cannot be satisfied, in the particular circumstances of this case, that the occupiers of the caravans would be safe from flood risk as well as those who might have to rescue them."

While some of the caravans were confirmed to house Travellers, the planning inspector said five have been advertised for rent.

Mr Rooney said there was a clear need for more suitable accommodation in the Yarmouth area, pointing out several unauthorised sites, including on Cobholm Island.

While the BA accepted that the site does not have a typical Broads character, as it is next to a retail park and industrial estate, Mr Saward said that did not "negate the need to achieve high-quality design".

Giving weight to the interests of children living on the site, the planning inspector said they needed to be a primary consideration.

Mr Saward agreed with the BA enforcement notice but extended the amount of time for travellers with children to find a new home to 12 months.

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