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Travelling showmen family have village home bid rejected

PUBLISHED: 06:23 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:20 11 February 2020

Robert Edwards with family Ocean, Indi, wife Keely and Robert Jnr. Photo: Neil Perry

Robert Edwards with family Ocean, Indi, wife Keely and Robert Jnr. Photo: Neil Perry

Archant

A family of travelling showmen have had their plans to create a permanent home near a Norfolk village rejected by councillors.

Robert and Keely Edwards are travelling showpeople - a way of life which has been passed down to them through the generations.

And the couple, who provide fairground rides to events across Norfolk and the UK, including Cromer Carnival and King's Lynn Mart, hoped to establish a home base for themselves and their three children.

After buying a plot of land on the edge of Narborough, near Swaffham, Mr and Mrs Edwards applied for planning permission to live on the £15,000 site in a mobile home, and to store their fairground rides and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

But the plans, which met with objections from village residents, proved contentious and the family described themselves as feeling "persecuted" by the outcry.

READ MORE: 'We feel persecuted' - Travelling showmen family on their struggle to find a home

At Breckland Council's planning committee on Monday, February 10, councillors rejected plans for the site, at Meadow Lane, and said the area was outside the village settlement boundary.

Planning officer Mark Simmonds said the application for full planning permission on the site included one mobile home for living accommodation for Mr Edwards and his family, as well as two mobile homes which would be travelling caravans and taken with them for work. Fairground equipment would also be stored there, with the family keeping a helter-skelter, a carousel and a trampoline at the site.

He told councillors the plans were recommended for approval, despite a previous application to build houses there being refused.

This was due to planning policies supporting plots for travellers, gypsies and travelling showpeople where the need for them could be demonstrated - as long as they fulfilled certain conditions.

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But Robert Hayes, who objected to the scheme, said: "In the last 18 months this site has been rejected for planning by the council as it was declared unsuitable." Mr Hayes said this meant the schemes did not meet conditions.

READ MORE: 'We feel persecuted' - Travelling showmen family on their struggle to find a home

Peter Wilkinson, Conservative councillor for Nar Valley, said the site had wildlife including bats, birds and a freshwater stream.

Councillors voted to refuse the plans, with five members against and four in favour.

The reason given was being outside the settlement area, and they cited the previous rejection of the application to build housing.


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