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Bramford: Villagers’ fury over travellers’ site proposal

09:34 14 February 2014

The consultation meeting in Bramford discussing the proposed travellers site. Kevin Welsby (chair of parish council).

The consultation meeting in Bramford discussing the proposed travellers site. Kevin Welsby (chair of parish council).

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Hundreds of angry residents from Bramford packed a meeting to discuss proposals to create a new travellers’ site on the edge of the village last night.

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There was standing room only at the Loraine Victory Hall in the village as officials from Ipswich Borough Council and the county council explained the plans to designate an area at River Hill for five travellers’ pitches.

The vast majority of the audience was hostile to the proposal – fearing it would damage local businesses and would change the character of the village.

The site is in the borough’s boundary, but it is next to the Clarice House health club – and its boss Stuart King warned that creating a travellers’ site could ruin his business.

He said: “We have worked hard to establish Clarice House over the last 20 years but since the news about this site emerged at the weekend our customers have been telling us that if it is developed then they will be leaving us.

“That will mean we will have no option but to close and we have 49 people working there.”

Clarice House has three sites, in Bury St Edmunds and Colchester as well as Bramford and Mr King feared the loss of its original site could lead to the collapse of the whole group.

He said he had been negotiating with Ipswich council – which owns the proposed travellers’ site – to try to buy it to develop his business, and still hoped that might be possible.

Borough planning officer Steve Miller said its proposals were not “written in stone” and were only the first draft of the local plan.

However residents feared that the only reason the site had been chosen was because it was outside the A14 – one of only a few sites in the borough outside the road.

Many also felt that with West Meadows nearby, another part of the town should also have a site: “Why not put it in the northern fringe?” asked one resident.

One speaker, who only gave his name as Steve, questioned whether the site would grow.

The proposal is for five pitches on a substantial piece of land. “We all know what will happen if you try to keep the pitches to a small area of a large plot. Eventually they will spread out all over,” he said.

The meeting will be discussed by Bramford Parish Council at its meeting next week before a formal response is sent to the borough.

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6 comments

  • As an Ipswich Resident living close to the proposed site i attended this meeting - People need to realise the impact this will have not just on Bramford but on the local Ipswich community the proposed site is in close proximity to the park travellers decided to take over last summer where a child sadly lost their life - the proposed site is not safe! The council wont build houses there so why on earth should travellers be expected to live there! There are other sites better suited and as it was mentioned West Meadows is close to the is site - can you imagine the issue the sites could have with each other!! this isnt just an issue of safety for BramfordIpswich residents its a genuine concern for the safetywell being of the traveller community.

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    natasha laisure

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I was at this meeting last night, shame the IBC rep couldn't even remember the other pieces of land they had looked at around Ipswich to use as a new Gypsy site......sounded to us Bramford residents IBC have already made up their minds, North West Ipswich will be lumbered once more.

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    Janina Beckett

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I totally agree 'Keep Bramford Beautiful', this site is an easy option for IBC, where local Ipswich residents are unlikely to make any formal comments via the website even though many would object to more traveller spaces on the west side of Ipswich. If this site was put forward on the Northern Fringe, as a Bramford resident suggested, I dread to think what would happen. I think a petition is called for!

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    Tolly

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • This government pledged to put local decisions in the hands of local people, the local people have spoken so lets see what happens now...

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    C Smith

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • As we all know by now, the council don't turn up to these meetings to listen. They come to TELL people what they've already decided to do. It's a shame, now we'll have to call it Pikeford.

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    PC Plod

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I am sure that Ipswich Borough Council wish to demonstrate to all concerned that they have gone about this decision and approval process, in a manner that befits a public funded body and complies with ALL legal requirements and local government guidelines. Therefore, I would invite the council to create a page on their website, dedicated to this project (Application DM41 - Site ref IP261), with links to ALL the documentation, showing all of the other sites they considered (one presumes they didn't just drive a nail into the IBC landmap and it just happened to drop into in Bramford - again??). I would also expect them to clearly demonstrate how they went about this process, who was involved, what was the rationale behind the decision and exactly when the good people of Bramford were made aware of IBC's intentions. Failure to deliver anything less than full disclosure of ALL of the facts and the supporting documentation would only serve to convince the sceptics out there that there is cause for concern? We live in enlightened times. Everyone should be entitled to have somewhere to live. Communities need to share the responsibility we all have to look after ethniccultural minorities and those who are persecuted or in fear for the safety of their families. We understand that Ipswich Borough Council is required by law to find additional land for permanent Gypsy & Traveller sites. Bramford has already shouldered its cultural and community responsibilities in relation to providing accommodation to Gypsies & Travellers, with the site at West Meadows. Surely it should now be appropriate for the required extra pitches to be found on the North, East or South side of Ipswich? Seems only fair and equitable?

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    Keep Bramford Beautiful

    Friday, February 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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