MP Liz Truss urges planners to ‘note impact on the community’ once they come to decide 12 travellers pitches for Walsoken

Site of the proposed travellers site at Wheatley Bank, Walsoken

Site of the proposed travellers site at Wheatley Bank, Walsoken - Credit: Archant

MP Liz Truss has called for planners to consider the impact on the community once they come to decide if a travellers' site can open at Walsoken.

The SW Norfolk MP has reminded West Norfolk Council of the 'high level of correspondence' about the bid for 12 pitches at Wheatley Bank on a disused paddock.

'I would urge the council to fully consider all the points raised and to note the impact on the local community,' she said.

In a letter to the council she also says the council needs to consider 'development in rural areas, as directed in the government's planning policy'.

Change of use of paddock land to the west of Wheatley Bank to allow for 12 travellers' pitches, was put to West Norfolk planners by Christine Harrison.

Many residents have fired off protest letters and begun a campaign to halt it.

West Walton Parish Council wants it turned down on the grounds that 'there is sufficient existing provision in the area for traveller families and there is strong local opposition'. They also fear the extra traffic.

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Walsoken Community Association has sent in lengthy series of objections expressing concern about lack of need, highways safety, detrimental impact on the country and risk of flooding.

The association says there is 'no demonstrated need for the approval of the application – furthermore there is no demonstrated need for any additional sites within the vicinity'.

The area had already had a disproportionate concentration of traveller sites 'which has resulted in constant tensions within the communities of Walsoken and the surrounding parishes.

'The proposal for another site has demonstrably created heightened concerns and resulted in much public consternation.'

The association says that 'the approval of a 13th authorised traveller site in the vicinity of Walsoken would be a provocative decision and would intentionally exacerbate already heightened tensions.'

The application includes 12 mobile homes, 12 touring caravans and the construction of 12 day rooms.

The council has yet to announce when councillors will decide the application.

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