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Traveller family wins battle to build home on village site despite public furore

PUBLISHED: 15:54 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 02 March 2019

Plans to build a traveller site at Mill Lane in Wreningham has been given the go-ahead despite mass objections. Photo: Luke Powell

Plans to build a traveller site at Mill Lane in Wreningham has been given the go-ahead despite mass objections. Photo: Luke Powell

Archant

A traveller mother-of-four has won a fight to build her home on a meadow despite a barrage of complaints from villagers.

Naomi Todd lodged an application for retrospective change of use of land she owns in Mill Lane, Wreningham, to create a traveller site for her family.

The development, on land known as Moon Acre next to the village hall, will consist of a mobile home and two touring caravans on concrete pads, with the existing stable building to be used as a dayroom complete with kitchen, dining room and bathroom.

Ms Todd also plans to install a children’s play house, a sewage treatment plant and post and rail fencing.

The meadow was bought at auction in 2017 for £35,250 having been advertised as “ideal for haymaking, pony paddock or those looking for ‘The Good Life’.”

Her application was approved by South Norfolk Council’s planning committee at a meeting on Wednesday, despite mass objections from villagers who have tried to halt the plans.

The application received around 170 objections since July 2018, with many villagers citing concerns over the “unattractive residence” and worries that the plan will “set a precedent”.

In an email to councillors ahead of the planning meeting, Mark Francis, of Wymondham Road, said: “Our research shows that 500 and more residents of Wreningham will find it impossible to support you in any future elections. I do hope you won’t let those residents down.”

But South Norfolk Council’s development management committee agreed with planning officers’ recommendation for approval and voted to grant planning permission.

A spokesman said: “The committee accepted that the applicant and her family are travellers of nomadic habit, that the site is in an appropriate location.”

Ms Todd has reportedly been living at the site since July 2018, and a statement by planning agent Michael Hargreaves claimed she and her family would have been left homeless had the application been refused.

In an email to the council dated August 2018, Ms Todd gave her reasons as to why she was moving to Mill Lane and whether she has looked at other sites.

She said council sites in the area were full and that she would prefer to live by herself, stating the trouble between travellers and not wanting her children to experience the difficulties she had as a child.

She added: “I don’t want to bring my children up on them if I could have a choice.”

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