Decision due on traveller site

VILLAGERS are waiting with baited breath to see whether travellers will receive permission for their Suffolk encampment.Mid Suffolk District Council is due to consider on Monday whether to grant planning permission for a traveller site at Two Oaks in Norton Road, Elmswell.

VILLAGERS are waiting with baited breath to see whether travellers will receive permission for their Suffolk encampment.

Mid Suffolk District Council is due to consider on Monday whether to grant planning permission for a traveller site at Two Oaks in Norton Road, Elmswell.

The controversy-fraught application is for an 18-pitch gipsy caravan site, with two caravans per pitch, and the retention of three day rooms and hardstanding.

Travellers have been developing the site since August 2004.

A retrospective application for an 18-family caravan site was then refused in November 2004.

Sir John Kemball of Flatts Lane, Tostock, said: “There shouldn't be one law for most of us and another for the travellers. They should have applied for planning permission before moving on to the site.

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“I don't think it's a particularly suitable site - it's a flood plain, it's an area of natural beauty and it's out of normal planning zones.”

Wendy Ford of Hay Barn Meadow, Woolpit, said: “I don't think they should be granted planning permission. They should be subjected to the same laws and regulations as the rest of us. They should have applied for planning permission before they put their caravans there.”

Philippa Harknett, of Briar Hill, Woolpit, added: “I have nothing against them personally, but it's the way they have gone about it.”

Objections have also been raised by Norton, Tostock, Drinkstone, Woolpit and Elmswell parish councils.

But an Elmswell resident, who did not wish to be identified, said: “We all need somewhere to live. If this application is turned down, then somewhere else has to be made available for them.”

A district council spokeswoman said: “The committee will be determining the application according to planning law. New government policy on accommodation for gipsies and travellers is expected to be published in the spring and we will need to take it into consideration.”

Council officers have recommended that a decision on the application is deferred so the need for gipsy and traveller accommodation in Mid Suffolk can be assessed.

Do you think permission should be granted? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Timeline - number 14

July 2004: Travellers move on to the site at Two Oaks, Elmswell.

August 2004: Travellers start building on the land.

Summer 2004: Neighbouring residents are angered that the group has spent £100,000 buying the land and carrying out work without first winning the necessary permissions.

November 2004: A retrospective planning application for an 18-family gipsy caravan site on the parcel of land is refused, but travellers living there vow to stay and fight.

September 2005: It is made public that a second application for an 18-pitch caravan site at Two Oaks, this time with three day rooms and hardstanding, has been submitted.