Travellers site approved near Wymondham despite planning concerns

A family has been given permission to develop new traveller pitches near a Norfolk village after councillors rejected planning objections the site was not earmarked for development and too far away from facilities.

Richard Oakley, from Mildenhall, was given approval to provide six additional caravan pitches and the division of an existing plot for two mobile homes at Chepore Lane in Spooner Row, but South Norfolk Council planning officer Chris Trett had earlier warned Wednesday's development management committee meeting the site was outside the development boundary.

He said the nearest school, pub, rail station and other facilities were 1.5kms away in Spooner Row, which would normally be considered too far if houses were being built and recommended the plans be refused.

A report prepared by the planning officer also raised concerns the caravans would be in open countryside and would therefore erode the generally undeveloped nature of the rural setting.

The council also received 59 objection letters from local residents who were also concerned about the countryside location and the distance from nearby amenities, but were also worried Chepore Lane would also not be able to cope with the extra traffic generated, the access was on a blind and the site was close to the A11 and would be affected by noise from passing traffic.


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However, a representative of the applicant told the meeting the family had organised a recent meeting with residents to discuss the plans, but believed many of their objections were based on fears about the travelling community, stoked by the controversy over the Dale Farm site in Crays Hill, Essex where travellers were evicted from an illegal encampment.

She said: 'We are never going to satisfy everybody's needs. It is almost like there is no room at the inn in some ways. Refusing this could result in health and social exclusion problems that this ethnic group has to put up with.'

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However, councillor Tony Palmer, who represents Diss, said he did not think the distance to the nearby village was too far, while cllr Colin Gould, who represents Loddon, said children walked 1.5km nowadays.

And cllr Lisa Neal, who represents Poringland, added: 'I find it very difficult to go with the officer's refusal recommendation. My children walk a mile to school. The site will still have its services, it is not like it is out on a limb.'

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