Travellers submit plan for site (18/4/09 leicester Mercury)

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Travellers submit plan for site (18/4/09 leicester Mercury)

Post by Admin on Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:16 am

Travellers have submitted a planning application for a new campsite – after already building it over the Easter weekend.

Diggers and tipper trucks moved on to a field between Bagworth and Barlestone on Thursday night and by Monday there was hard-standing for six caravans.

The 11-acre plot, next door to the legal Costalot site, is owned by travellers, but does not have permission for housing.

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council served an emergency stop notice on Friday afternoon ordering work to cease, but said it was ignored.

Now, the travellers have put in a planning application for permission to have 10 pitches on the site.
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Villagers have spoken of their anger that no-one could stop the site being developed.

Council officers and police have been to try to solve potential "tensions" between travellers and residents.

However, travellers have said they have no choice but to buy their own land, lay a site and then apply for planning permission retrospectively.

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council is now considering what action to take after the stop notice was ignored.

It could include issuing an enforcement notice to ensure the site is returned to its former condition. However, it said that could take about a month.

A spokesman said: "In the meantime, council officers are working closely with the police to ensure tensions between the travellers and residents do not escalate.

"Residents should be assured that the council takes the unauthorised development very seriously and, with police support, will be taking whatever action it can to stop it and restore the field to its previous condition.

"However, to properly meet this commitment will take some time and resource, if it is to be effective and sustainable in the longer term, and residents are asked to be patient during this period."

Councillor Bill Crooks, the borough's rural affairs spokesman, said: "I am not happy about it but you have got to be practical about these things."

A spokesman for Leicestershire Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Group said: "I know it isn't the right way, but it's the only way you can do it.

"I could take you to 10 or 15 sites that we have asked about and it is 'no, no, no, no, no'.

"They either want to put you on a trading estate next to a tip, or next to a railway line.

"If you go to Europe, the gypsies have got some of the most beautiful sites you have ever seen.

"In Paris, there are 15 sites, and that is because the government there works with the gypsies."

The council's planning committee will consider the application for 10 pitches on May 5.

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