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'Tarred with the same brush' - Couple given 12 months to vacate site near airport, but will appeal

PUBLISHED: 07:26 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 07:38 14 June 2019

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

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

Archant

A Gypsy couple living close to Norwich Airport have been told they have 12 months to find alternative accommodation and vacate the site.

Caravans on a site near the airport off Cromer Road
Copyright: Archant 2019Caravans on a site near the airport off Cromer Road Copyright: Archant 2019

Thomas Bibby and his pregnant partner have been based in a static caravan off Holt Road for close to two years, and last year avoided council enforcement action.

However, after complaints about the site persisted Norwich City Council again attempted to bring action against them, saying the site was in breach of planning regulation.

In October, the planning committee allowed the pair to remain on the site under a specific set of conditions, after electing not the evict them.

This time though, the councillors backed the recommendation of the officers, giving Mr Bibby a year to leave the site.

Robert Webb, the council's case officer, told the committee complaints had been received from the police, the airport and the East Anglian Air Ambulance, citing safety concerns over waste and animals from the site ending up on airport land.

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And while he added that much of the waste - which Mr Bibby said had been fly-tipped - had been cleared and the animals had been moved on, concerns still remained and the site was still unsuitable for residential use.

Much of this was due to the fact it borders a stretch of the A140 which has a 60mph speed limit and neighbours had reported animals escaping onto the road.

After the meeting, Mr Bibby said he planned to appeal the decision and do all he could to remain where he is.

He said: "I feel Gypsies are all tarred with the same brush and people unfairly feel there is a stigma around having a family live near them - so complain.

"I'm going to do everything I possibly can to stay and will fight the council the whole way."

With the council now issuing him with the enforcement notice, Mr Bibby has the opportunity to lodge an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

He added: "I don't believe the council has done itself any favours with this decision. I hold no hard feelings towards the councillors who made it though."

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