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Baylham: Young traveller family’s bid to move homes is unanimously rejected

PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 15:04 01 August 2014

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

Mid Suffolk District Council in Needham Market.

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A young traveller family will not be able to “improve their lives” after their bid to move homes was refused.

Proposals for one static and one touring caravan as well as a utility building in Baylham, near Needham Market, were unanimously rejected.

The Mid Suffolk planning meeting heard how the static caravan would have been “60 feet” long and “21 feet” wide, providing five bedrooms. This caused councillor Stephen Wright to compare the proposal to creating a “large bungalow”, which he claimed would not be given permission.

Planning officer Ian Ward made clear to councillors the authority’s view. He said: “There’s a clear presumption against putting them (caravans) in areas where the landscape should be protected.

“The National Planning Policy Framework guidance creates a theme of sustainable development and says great care should be taken when considering rural sites when they are not close to facilities.”

Martin Last spoke on behalf of Martin Doherty, who lodged the caravan proposal. He said his client and his family were currently living on a site “west of Ipswich”.

“Mr Doherty and his young family are ordinary people who want to improve their lives, they just happen to be gypsies”, he said.

“It is not unusual to see a touring caravan parked close to someone’s home.”

The proposal attracted around 20 residents to the meeting. Fiona Ham, who said she spoke on behalf of the villagers, said: “We acknowledge the national demand for travellers’ sites but do not agree with the destruction of a key part of the village.

“This would irrevocably change this quiet piece of land forever.”

Giles Hill, landscape architect for Mr Doherty, said the site would be “shielded” 
by hedgerow and that existing views “would not change”.

But Mr Wright, district councillor for the village, fundamentally disagreed with the application.

“There is a Grade-II listed property near the site and this is a very timeless, unspoilt area; you do not realise how quiet it is up there.

“This would not fit in at all with the local area. The area is very tranquil and there’s no serious facilities in the area at all.”

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